Writing a Book or Publishing a Book Is There a Difference?

It seems that writing a book is one thing – anyone can start to write a book – but when you ask this same person if they have published a book…. the answer might be very different.  Perhaps they have read all sorts of books about writing and have simply become confused.  They might even ask, is there any difference between what they are doing now, writing a book, and later publishing that book? Or they gave up on a novel or something that they enjoyed writing…  Whatever the reason might be, they simply did not publish their book.  I am sure you understand that there are times when other writers don’t think that they will publish their book.  You have probably felt the same way.

I admit that I used a lot of books on writing, but like many other writers I didn’t find use for a certain book, or books.  However, I hate giving things away or returning it, so I try very hard to keep in mind I might need my book for whatever reason.  Books on writing are something I really can’t bear to loose since I never know if it will come in useful later on.

Writing a book is like that as well, we might never know what will happen that makes writing not as easy to do.  Publishing a book is more challenging no matter which way you decide you will want to publish.  If you self-publish you will need to decide how to market and sell your books.

Publishing a book means that you have to think of your readers more when you are writing.  You might think something sounds good, until you have someone else read it. This takes time and effort again, this is more true when you self-publish your book.

My published book

With traditional publishing you will need to decide how much you will be willing to spend in terms of promoting your book more than the publisher- if you are allowed to do that.  You will need to learn about what you can do to help your book sell in as many different places as you can.

When you are writing a book with plan to publish a book you might find yourself busy writing, or worst still writing busy- this is a name I like to give to non-productive writing, emails or something that someone else is asking me to do– the point is you need to write that book to have it published eventually.

Yes, there is a difference between writing a book and publishing a book. The biggest difference is that you kept working until the end to make your book a success.


  • Damaria Senne

    For me the difference between writing a book and publishing a book is that:
    1. You have to finish the first draft of the book. I have a friend who's still struggling with that. She is a good writer, but highly critical of herself. At the rate she's going, she's always going to be wriiting the book and I doubt if she'll ever get to the publishing part.
    2. You must be willing to put in the hard work required in rewriting, editing and proof-reading your book to make it publishable. You must be willing to send out your book to a critique ( or more) so that they can help give objective input so you can improve your book. And lastly, you must be willing to put in the work required to find a publisher, or to publish the book yourself.

    As you say, publishing a book is much harder. But it is very rewarding.

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