Will Writing Make You Rich?

by | Jul 20, 2010 | Book Marketing Basics

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The answer is most likely a big NO. But bizarre, unpredictable, astonishing, oh my gosh things do happen.

Several decades ago (more than I would like to count) I flew to the home of a man named Peter Jenkins. Peter was an explorer and adventurer. He did not intend to climb the world’s tallest mountain or swim across the English channel. He was a man of great curiosity who loved America and wanted to learn why he and so many people did.

The Mississippi River just north of St. Louis ...
Image via Wikipedia
The Pacific Ocean
Image via Wikipedia

So starting in Maine, he decided he would take a very long walk and get to know his fellow Americans in the most intimate and personal fashion. He would walk from sea to shining sea, all three thousand plus miles, meeting people, learning about their lives and to his delight partaking and basking in their welcoming hospitality. Along the way, he met and fell in love with a young lady, proposed, married and together they continued to walk from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. On the way she became pregnant and gave birth as they reached California. Peter and his wife were modern pioneers in the truest sense.

Beyond his curiosity Peter had two other great gifts. He was and is a generous listener, and people found themselves embraced by his warmth and caring and freely talked to him, told him about their lives and recounted their stories. He also happened to be a graceful writer who kept a journal and wrote a book called (of course) A Walk Across America.

I must confess I was enamored of the theme and premise of Peter’s book. At the time I was an editor at William Morrow and I decided I would outbid any other competing publisher. I did and won the right to publish Jenkins’ wonderful book. It has sold over two million copies and is still being read and studied by school children today. A Walk Across America grew out of Peter’s passion to learn about his fellow Americans and the country that was and is his home.

His book was a great financial success but that is not why he wrote it. First and foremost, writing is about your passion, not about money.

I suggest you buy a copy. It will make you feel good about yourself and the land you live in.

Tip submitted by Hillel Black, free lance editor of over 20 NY Times best sellers and member of the Consulting Editors Alliance. Visit http://www.hillelblack.com/.

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