Why Writing a Book Was The Wisest Thing I Ever Did & Why You Should Write Your Own

Do you have a message to share with the world? Is there something you want to change or something you want to do to make a difference in the world? Do you want to elevate and expand your business, or build your brand, your credibility and your authority in your industry? Well there’s one thing that can satisfy all of these things. Have you ever thought about learning how to write a book?

how to write a book

I want to share with you why writing a book was the wisest things I ever did. Many people don’t realize all of the benefits that writing a book can have. Not only did it help me share a message; it catapulted my professional career to whole new levels.

My First Book...

The first book I wrote when I was in my thirties was 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom. It made me an expert in the field of building self-esteem in the schools. As a result I was asked to speak at state and national conferences all over the United States and Canada. I got to travel, work with dedicated professionals who wanted to improve education, and earned a much higher income than I would have made as a classroom teacher or a therapist in private practice.

How Chicken Soup for the Soul Changed My Life7 steps 300x250

When I wrote and compiled Chicken Soup for the Soul, it totally changed my life. In less than three years, I went from making $140,000 a year to $6 million a year.

My speaking fees went through the roof, and I was treated to first class travel and accommodations. When the book started being translated into what would become more than 50 languages, I was invited to speak all over the world in some of the most beautiful and exotic destinations you can imagine, and sometimes to audiences as large as 10,000 people.

I was also interviewed on every major television show from Oprah and Montel to the Today Show and Larry King Live.

But most importantly, the satisfaction that came from the impact I was having also increased.

There were days when I would receive 100 letters telling me how the book (and later all the Chicken Soup books) had made a difference in their lives—everything from people who decided not to commit suicide to people saying how the books had got them through their cancer or encouraged them to start a business they had always dreamed of.

How to Get Started and How to Make Writing a Book a Success

1. Declare yourself an author NOW

Come up with a working title for your book and start telling people you’re the author of the “upcoming book titled XYZ.” One big reason to do this is it will create positive momentum for you. Once you start telling people you’ve got a book coming out, it makes it much easier to get it done. Plus, you can start enjoying some of the ancillary benefits of being an author, such as getting publicity on radio/TV, print publications and online. As with many things in life the key is to just get started – even if you don’t feel quite ready.

2. Be selfish with your time 

Writing a book is important – to you, your family and your future – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Share your goal with your spouse, your parents and your friends. Ask them to help you create the time to write, even if it’s just 15 minutes every day. Create the habit. Good or bad, habits always deliver results. If you only write one page a day, in a year, you will have written 365 pages—more than enough for a book!

3. Find your message 

There is a book inside of you. It might be a business book, a memoir, a cookbook or something funny, a how-to or how-not to, a what-for or why-not. What are you good at? What is your passion? What can you teach other people to do?

4. Identify your niche

Who needs to learn what you have to teach? Who would be most interested in your story? Get specific. For example, the Chicken Soup series includes Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul and others. Knowing your niche will help you write the book and market it.

5. Consider co-authors 

Think a whole book is too much work? Get a co-author. I had co-authors on my Chicken Soup books. That person can share in the writing and, later, in marketing the book.

6. Think marketing from day one

One of the biggest mistakes most new authors make is to spend all their time and energy writing the book, without sufficient thought to how they’ll market it. Ideally, you want to consider marketing issues while writing your book. For instance, consider short snappy chapter titles which easily lend themselves to being blog posts and/or radio/TV show segments.

7. Meditate on problems

This might sound counter-intuitive. When you meditate, you try to relax, right? Well, not really. Meditating is harnessing your brain power and if you focus that energy on the problems you encounter – and every creative venture encounters problems – you’ll solve them. Meditate, go for a long walk or take a hot bath. Give your mind a problem to solve and give it the room to do so, and it will. That’s how I came up with the title Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Take Action

If you have an idea or valuable information and expertise inside you, or if have a business that you want to promote or expand, you can definitely benefit from writing a book. I want you to think about your business. Think about your career. How could a book help you?

Writing a book was the launching point for me to start training others my Success Principles. Often when you write a book and are an expert in your field, people will ask for you expertise and training so they can be successful. I'd like to show you my approach to training others and how becoming a trainer my be the career path you've been looking for.


  • Catherine Pinchback

    Thank you, again, Mr Canfield for another totally inspiring read. I started to write a nover about 15 years ago, then decided I wasn't good enough and nobody would want to read it so I buried it in the far reaches of my mind where all the forgotten dreams go. Recently I've thought again about writing, this time a sort of self help/law of attraction type book. I've got a title and the basic idea but the demon lack of confidence is rearing it's ugly head so I keep putting it off.
    I think you might have just given me the proverbial 'kick up the butt' I needed.
    I can't thank you enough for your constant wisdom and inspiration. I hope someday I get to meet you.

    • Thank you for reading, Catherine. I am happy to have inspired you. Don't give up on your dreams, life is too short!

  • Started my autobiography.....

  • Nicolas Rodriguez

    Hi Mr. Canfield: as always thank you so much for this excellent article. Today I wanted not only to thank you but to tell you about great progress that has been happening in my life, and a great deal of it has to do with The Success Principles: today I did the exercise of giving away those things I haven't used in a year or more: I gave away almost every piece of martial arts equitment I had. In the past, I wanted to become a martial artist, but due to various reasons I failed in that project. Now im working on becoming a painter: my true calling and purpose in life; Im 27 years old but with God everything is possible and the success principle "its never too late to start" (I remember granda Moses) I´m really believing in myself. The history of Wyland painter in your book also gave me a great roadmap and reference to know where I stand and what Is possible to achieve. Asking has brought me a great deal of progress and new resources this year and today is the 24th day of me diligently doing the mirror exercise. I wish you the best 4th of July and thank you again for this excellent article and your valuable contribution.

  • Sally Francis

    Yes I wrote my book and changed a lot of things and it is still selling everyday ! Now I am so so glad I self published it is going word of mouth and has been called "a new radical spiritual handbook "in a review by one the main spiritual publishers in the world . I loved the journey of my book and the doors it has opened and the people I meet everyday as a result of it/ .https://www.amazon.co.uk/Remember-Who-You-Truly-Are/dp/1532775237/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid&sr.

  • L.J. Kane Author

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights and experience
    with us all. Please would you advise me whether the Success Principles work for
    a fiction author? Like you, I had a completed manuscript lying in a drawer for
    years, and as soon as I saw your piece about your $100k idea (on a certain DVD!),
    I knew that I should edit and publish my thriller novel. I’m now a published author
    with a following, but I’d love to grow my audience even more, and if the Success
    Principles work for fiction books I will be made up!