If you're writing articles or short stories, stop and ask yourself one question: "Why am I doing this when I could be writing books?" There are only three reasons to write articles or short stories instead of books:

Nancy Drew book cover
  • Articles or short stories pay you money, or
  • They give you satisfaction, or
  • They're good credentials for the "about the author" section of your book proposal.

Regarding the money issue, books almost always pay you more than articles. When I was writing articles, the most I'd get was maybe $90. Sure, some magazines pay closer to $4,000 (like National Geographic or Cosmo). But how many articles can you write? You'd have to write a lot of articles to earn a living. I know some freelancers do this, but they're very organized and work like mad to write all those query letters to magazine editors.

I think it's simpler to write books. Look at it this way. You could write a book proposal in the time it takes you to write an article. In fact, you could put together the first draft of a book proposal in a week. And the typical advance might be $12,000 for a first book or anywhere up to a six-figure advance.

International best-selling author Joseph Finder published his first book at the age of 24, "Red Carpet: The Connection Between the Kremlin and America's Most Powerful Businessman." When asked recently about his first book, he said:

"I'd never studied writing -- I taught myself. My first book was nonfiction, which tends to be easier to sell if you're an expert or have done research into something as I had (it was a book about American businessmen and their private connections to Russia). It was much harder to sell my first novel."

William Cane's response

Even if you want to write novels, your best bet is to begin with a nonfiction book. This will get you published and give you greater credibility when you start submitting your novel manuscript. Plus you get paid to write nonfiction. In other words, you submit just a 10- to 15-page book proposal and then the publisher gives you an advance, paying you to write the rest of the book. This is much easier than writing a novel, where you have to finish the entire manuscript before you can try to sell it. Notice that best-selling author Joseph Finder used exactly the approach I'm recommending — he began his blockbuster writing career with a nonfiction book. You can do the same thing.

It's clear that writing a book is, in most cases, going to be better for your career than writing an article or short story. You can use the links on this page to find out how to get published and how to take your publishing career to the next level by writing a short book proposal.

If you have any questions along the way about anything at all related to publishing, feel free to shoot me an email. Use the contact link at the top of this page to ask me anything. If I'm online, I might reply within minutes. Otherwise I'll get back to you usually the same day.