Why Writers Should Never Say Never

As a writer, what have you refused to do—on principle, because you thought it was a waste of time, or simply because you didn’t want to?  Today, writer and acquisitions editor W. Terry Whalin (@TerryWhalin) explains why saying you will “never” do something can close the door to opportunities.

If you haven’t said them, I bet you’ve thought the words: “I will never ______.”

Some of my professional writer friends proclaimed about blogging: “I will never blog because you are simply giving away your writing craft for free. Why should I give away my storytelling when I can sell it to a magazine or be writing a book?”

I’ve heard other writers say, “I will never do a work made for hire. There is no reason to give away all of my rights to a publisher.” They have committed to never signing that type of agreement.

Other writers have an aversion to doing anything in the marketing and sales area. They proudly say, “I’m a writer, and I write. I never want to be selling myself and my books.”

From my years in publishing, I’ve learned there is little point in using the word “never.” Let’s tackle the different areas I mentioned as “never” statements.

I am a blogger.

I run in seasons of consistency. If I’m traveling or consumed with a project, then my blogging takes less of a priority. Yet, I continue to blog. Instead of seeing it as giving away my writing, I see it as another way to make money. You can learn how I monetize my blog by reading my Ebook, The 31 Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks.

Plus, every writer needs to have a presence in the marketplace, and blogging is a terrific way to build your presence. I have over 1,000 searchable entries in my blog.

My Rights to My Work.

Many authors do not want to sign work-made-for-hire agreements, which give a publisher or individual the right to your creative work. These writers have limited their own potential through their use of the word “never.”

My literary attorney has told me that I’ve signed more Work-Made-for-Hire agreements than anyone she knows—yet I’ve been a working writer for years. Work Made for Hire comes with the territory in my view.

Several years ago I wrote two devotional books for a book packager as a Work Made for Hire. I wrote the books in a two month period and was well-compensated for my work. Each of these books sold over 60,000 copies (which is an excellent book sale credit for any author). I would not have had the opportunity if I had said “never.”

Marketing Your Writing

Finally, I want to address the writers who say they never want to sell or market their books. I understand the reluctance to enter into the marketing and selling process. It would be great to delegate this task to someone else, but it is not realistic to think you can do so.

Every writer has to learn to market if they want to sell their work and get it into print. They also have to be involved in the marketing and promotion of their work when it gets into print. Savvy writers understand this fact and lean into it rather than resist it.

Never Say Never

My recommendation is to wipe the word “never” out of your vocabulary. Instead, approach your writing looking for open doors of opportunity. As I look at the publishing world, I believe there are many opportunities for every writer. It is your responsibility to submit your work and regularly knock on doors to see which one will open for you and your work. As you do so, you will be surprised which doors will open for you.

Can you remember a time when you said, “I will never…”? How has that impacted your success as a writer? Tell me in a comment below.

About the Author

W Terry Whalin headshot x160W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor, lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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