Steps for Earning Income by Writing a Book

One of the lowest-hanging fruit for pastors to create streams of income is writing. 

That’s good news because pastors are writers. We write sermons, journal articles, blog posts, discipleship lessons, and more. 

Pastors and others with a ministry background often say they have a book in them. Pastors have hard drives full of content. They just don’t know where to begin to earn income from their writing. 

So here are a few steps to get you going in the right direction. These ideas can serve as a springboard to help you get started. 

Step 1:  Answer critical questions 

If you’ll ask yourself the appropriate questions, you’ll never have writer’s block. Here are a few: 

  • Who is my ideal reader? Who’s going to read this?
  • What do I want my ideal reader to know? Feel? Do?
  • What role does this book play in my life, ministry, and business?
  • What happens, or doesn’t happen, in the life of my reader if I don’t write the book? 
  • What happens, or doesn’t happen in MY life if I don’t write the book? 

There are many more questions to ask. Personally, I have an entire sheet of questions I ask myself as I prepare to write a book. 

Step 2: Think who, not how. 

If you attempt to write and publish the book on your own, you won’t be successful; and even if we could go solo, why would we want to? 

Part of the joy of the journey of life is the friendships we develop as we go. As you write your book, you’ll include stories of people you know and experiences you’ve had that illustrate your message. 

You’ll also need the help of contributors, proof-readers, editors, printers, and a publisher, to name a few. 

Even in the actual writing of a book, there are several options: 

  • Work with a co-author or collaborator. Writing and speaking are two completely different forms of communication. Try reading the unedited transcript of a sermon, podcast, or extemporaneous talk of some kind. 
  • Hire a ghostwriter to help. I’m not going to go into a full discussion on any of these, but ghostwriting is a legitimate possibility for some people who have a message to tell and don’t have the ability or time to sit down and write a book. 
  • Write the book yourself. This is always an option, but usually takes much longer. Often the book is never finished and the message is never read by those who could benefit the most.  

Step 3: Build the book first; then you write it. 

It’s a common scene. The pastor purchases a brand-new computer. He blocks out time to write. He sequesters himself away from any distractions. He sits in his chair and looks at a blank screen. 

Writer’s block. 

What do I write? 

If you build a book before you write it, you’ll never have writer’s block. There are many steps to the process of building a book as well, but here are the first two: 

  • Write a compelling book proposal. As an action step here is a book proposal template I use that will help get the attention of a publisher. 
  • Write a detailed Table of Contents. If you have a detailed Table of Contents, you can go from section to section without thinking about what you should write next or where the book is going next. The more detailed the TOC the better. 

If I can help you in any way get your message out in the form of a book, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Are you trying to figure out where to even start with building a business or creating some side income for your family?

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