Why we write

Forbes Magazine recently came out with its list of top-earning authors for 2013. Here’s a sampling:

  1. E.L. James earned $95 million for “Fifty Shades of Gray.”
  2. James Patterson earned $91 million. One in every 17 hardbacks sold is his.
  3. Suzanne Collins (“The Hunger Games”) earned $55 million.

 Other notables include Danielle Steele ($26 million) who has published 128 titles over her 40-year career and Dan Brown ($22 million) whose “Inferno” was the top seller from January to June this year (I outsold him in one week in one bookstore in Maryland. Woot!).  Virginians John Grisham ($18 million) and David Baldacci ($15 million) also made the list.

Who says people aren’t reading? The problem of course is that a few people in publishing make a lot of money and most make nothing. Or very little. Not only that, it takes me about a year to pen a novel, and that’s if I give up all the “extras” in my life: TV, movies, casual social events, even some ministry opportunities. Why do it?

I can’t speak for any of the authors on the Forbes list, but I devote my time to writing because that’s what I’m created to do. Paraphrasing Eric Liddell, when I write, I feel God’s pleasure. He’s given me an ability with words so I can express His truths, communicate hope, comfort those who are hurting, and to process my own joy and trauma, hope and despair. In fact, I simply can’t NOT write.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be Indianapolis for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. I expect to see over 700 authors, mostly unpublished, milling about the hotel. They’ll be freshly scrubbed and filled with hope, their “one-sheets” describing works in progress stuffed carefully in their bags. Not all will live to see their stories published and sitting on bookstore shelves. I’ll wager none will ever make Forbes’ list. Still, with hearts filled with love for Jesus Christ, they follow their dreams. In the end, no one fails who does her best for God.

Everyone’s created for a purpose. What’s yours?



About lindajwhite

I love God, my family, dogs, the beach, and books of all sizes,shapes, and colors. I write "white-knuckle fiction"--FBI thrillers with a Christian twist. My favorite authors are John Piper, C.S. Lewis, and Paul. Someday, I hope to hear, "Well done, ..." But if I do, it'll be because Jesus has carried me through. Come visit my website at lindajwhite.com.
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2 Responses to Why we write

  1. Who buys all these hardbacks? I never see anyone with them

  2. I always loved that quote by Eric Liddell. Any artist knows what he meant. I recently heard someone else say that the main reason a writer continues to write is because they will suffer if they don’t. Great post, Linda.

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