The Mystery of How to Become a Published Writer

The question I am asked frequently as a writer is how can you get published? But that is not the first question you need to ask.

The first question is, why write? What is your why for writing? Is it to get published and make a bunch of money? Of course not, you say. Methinks you might be fibbing a little. Smile. Of course, you want to write and wouldn’t it be nice to earn money at it? But if that is the only reason you write, soon you will be discouraged and find the truth that very few writers make a living writing. Many writers make income writing, and perhaps enough to support their love for writing. 

Do you have a “why” you write? You will need one if you want to go from an unpublished passionate writer to published writer. Because the writing journey is not an easy one.

I suppose many writers and writing coaches have an outline to becoming a published writer. And looking back on my history, I know that specific steps helped me to accomplish that goal.

The Five P’s

There are Five P’s about writing I will talk about in this blog and those to come are: 

  1. Passion and Purpose (Our why for writing.) Put the reader first. If you have a passion, use it to get you through the hard work of writing. But ask yourself before you dive into spending a year over a novel or a nonfiction book, who will read this? Why would anyone want to know what you have to say? Readers are your friends!
  2. Process and Plan: Instruction in the Craft of Writing and Doing the Work
  3. Proof- How important is editing? 
  4. Publish (Indie publishing or Traditional. How to choose which is best for you.)
  5. Paycheck—Yes, you can get a paycheck, but writing usually produces an income, not a living. How does that work on Amazon and in article writing?

If you are going to go from Page One to The End and from The End to published, you are going to have to have passion, then a process that leads to a plan. You will need someone to proof or edit what you have written and to tell you how you can improve it. You need to learn how to plan for publication if you want to get a paycheck. Or, if not a paycheck, another “P,” which would be a pleasure from your writing even if it is published, but you do not receive an income from it.

What is your passion? And more importantly, is your passion something that others can see as useful, helpful, or entertaining? Remember that you must keep your reader first in your mind as you write. Identify why you write. 

Maybe you have heard of Mike Rowe, famous for T.V. shows Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Got to Do It, or his podcast The Way I Heard It, that has two million listeners. 

He says, “I think Paul Harvey was the first one to successfully combine biography with mystery. He called his broadcast “The Rest of the Story,” and once you started listening to one, there was simply no way you could turn the radio off before you heard him say, “And now you know the rest of the story!” 

Mike Rowe speaking of his podcast, he says, ‘The podcast bills itself as “a series of short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span. In each episode, I deftly weave a highly interesting narrative in a short period of about five minutes. These captivating stories about notable figures, pop culture, and history have attracted a dedicated following.”

Why does Mike Rowe’s message resonate with so many? Because we all love to hear a good story, and in nonfiction, we like to listen to a true story that inspires. 

Will your book interest more than you? 

Some advice from a renowned writer found on his website:  “New York Times Bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins’sfirst book was about a judge who tries a man for a murder that the judge committed.”  Just that sentence makes me want to read that book. It implies suspense, tense mystery, and intrigue. 

A Place to Write

So how to go from Page One to The End? First, a place to write.

Do you need a place to write like this?

Or will a private corner do? 

Find a place to write, and then do it. 


You would like to finish an 80,000-word novel in one year, and you write a modest 1000 words a day, double spaced, so count on that being six pages. Writing 365 days a year, you’d complete 365,000 words—too many for your average novel, 80,000. 

Maybe you only write 500 words a day, then it’s 160 days to complete that novel. That would be writing seven days a week, and you would complete the novel in four months IF you wrote seven days a week. But we all know that usually doesn’t happen. Some weeks you wouldn’t write at all (illness, vacation, family time, etc.) The important thing is you schedule writing time, and figure out what it would take every week in terms of hours in a day to complete your task. Set yourself a due date for being done, and be faithful to write until you accomplish that.

Now you have a why, a place, and a schedule.

Plan and Process

I had never written a book before. I wanted to, but I needed instruction. So I took an online course from New York Times Best Selling author Jerry B. Jenkins. I had read many of Jerry’s books and even read his series of sports fiction for kids to my sons when they were growing up. I hear about Jerry’s course, Your Novel Blueprint. It was a reasonable price for a lifetime of access, fifty-plus webinars on how to write a book. I loved it. I learned from it. AND it included a private Facebook page where we could interact with Jerry himself, and he would occasionally edit work we had submitted on the page, and other writers in the group could also offer advice and edit. It was a fantastic learning journey that helped me complete my book.

I also needed to remember that authors need a platform, a way to show they have published and are serious about writing. So I bought an essential book for me (I write for the Inspirational Market.) I purchased The Christian Writers Market Guide by Steve Laube.

I love this book. It gives so much help for any writer about markets, contests, and agents. Like the cover says, it’s a comprehensive resource for getting published. I found a market for a story that I wanted to write about a little girl from my Sunday School teaching years. I wrote the article and sold the piece to a magazine (LIVE) that I had researched in The Christian Writers Market Guide.

You can read the article here by signing up here.

I have given you have a few resources you could utilize in going from page one to The End. The next blog post will be more about Process in writing, and resources to help you learn about good writing craft. Stay tuned for Learning Good Writing Craft, the Doorway to Publication.