Why I Love Publishing

Well, I finally finished Dean Karnazes’ book, Ultramarathon Man. In the first chapter of the book, a pizza delivery man asks Dean why he runs. In the rest of the book he attempts to answer that question. The last chapter (in case you missed it) is a summary of his reasons. First and foremost, he says, it is because it is what he does best.

Stacks of Books

That got me to thinking about publishing. Why do I love it so much? Why have I chosen to work in this industry for the last twenty-right years. Here are my top ten reasons:

  1. Because books have been the single biggest influence in my own life.
  2. Because I revel in discovering new ideas and debating them.
  3. Because I enjoy meeting authors and learning from them.
  4. Because I love playing the role of a literary midwife—helping authors give birth to their ideas.
  5. Because I am excited to play a role in extending the reach of an author’s message.
  6. Because I find great joy in working with passionate, committed colleagues.
  7. Because I know our books are making a difference—in individual lives and in the world.
  8. Because I have the privilege of building an enduring institution.
  9. Because I am captivated by the desire to build a great workplace environment.
  10. Because I love the verbal arts and the expression of ideas.

There are probably other reasons, but these are the main ones.

What about you? If you have been in publishing a while, what keeps you working in this industry? What gets you up in the morning? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • http://www.studiosmith.blogspot.com Barry A. Smith

    I love being a part of the Christian Publishing industry because I am drawn to the ministry aspect. I assist in developing products and people, and when our product goes into a world that dearly needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, I never know might prosper. I love to serve Him with my skills and am grateful that publishing affords that.

  • http://jwikert.typepad.com Joe Wikert

    I come at this from a slightly different angle due to the fact that I’m in the technology publishing business. Related to your item #7, I take great pride in knowing that my work is helping people learn new technologies, advance their careers, etc. The other thing that’s extremely exciting is when you’re first out on something new. For example, my group published the very first book on Second Life, the red hot virtual world platform. It’s fun to watch when something like this works so darned well!

  • http://www.thewritinglife.ws Terry Whalin


    I stay in publishing because I recognize the power of the printed page to transform life. For centuries, the words of Scripture have changed life. As a sophomore in college, a book called Jesus the Revolutionary (long out of print) moved my life in a completely different direction. I wrote about it in the article, Two Words That Changed My Life.

    We rarely think about or talk about the potential of radical life transformation from the printed word. I think about it often because I’ve experienced it firsthand. It keeps me in this business.

    The Writing Life

  • Wayne Hastings

    In 1979 an unknown saint who worked for a small Christian bookstore gave me a book that set me on a radical new course in my life. I experienced a spiritual revolution.

    As I matured in my faith, I set my life purpose to be “Putting life changing materials into the hands of people who need them.” SInce 1982, I have been driven to achieve that purpose. I feel God called me to expose people to life changing messages through words. That’s my personal true North and what motivates me and keeps me “running the marathon.”

  • http://www.mom2momconnection.com Heather Ivester

    I came here from The Writing Life. Thanks for this great list — I’d like to link to it!

    My calling is to write to encourage women (especially other stay-home moms) to connect with each other and to books that will draw them into a closer walk with God. I’m only one person, but I pray my words will help make the world a better place for our children someday.

    This dream keeps me going! :)

  • http://extratexto.weblog.com.pt/ Nuno Seabra Lopes

    Well, to publish in Portugal is not exactly the same, as you can imagine.
    But the main aspect i keep happily working in this industry is because i love the object and a still see that there’s a lot to do, to write, to know.
    We’ve a lot of information today, and everyday some more is mould, but to much info without time and place (like in a book) is nothing. So we must continue to publish, to organize our and their heads.

    I hope in the future we will not have so many meta-kids, half-thinkers that prefer the easy way through the world.

  • http://goodwordediting.com Mark Goodyear

    I edit and publish online exclusively. I may pursue print publication later, I don’t know.

    Here’s how I know it’s my calling:
    I love words. It’s that simple.

    Sure, I also love helping writers, talking to readers, and of course reading just about anything at all. Editing online is especially fun because of the strong element of community. Helping bloggers interact with our content is becoming one of my greatest joys.

    But really it comes down to the words. I love them.

  • http://tstcpublishing.wordpress.com Mark Long

    I was a college English teacher for about 10 years and one day I figured out that at the rate I was going I had 62,500 papers left to grade. I never wanted to grade another paper again–too many recursive teaching/grading activities with not enough forward motion/progress–and so it was a matter of figuring out what I was going to do next.

    Thankfully, I was able to become a book publisher and it’s a great job because it combines many of my favorite things about academia: teaching/education (we have 10-15 interns a semester in our office), words, books, and ideas. Plus, it’s project oriented so you work and work and work and have something tangible–an artifact–to show at the end of it, unlike beginning each semester of first-semester composition at the same starting point over and over again.

  • http://www.paulwallis.net Paul Anthony Wallis

    A friend of mine grew up with Cerebral Palsy. When I first met him he was a teenager and could not read. I befriended him and once a week we used to sit down together and I would show him verses in the Bible that related to whatever we were discussing. I would always get him to read the verses to me. My friend is now in his mid-twenties and reads fine. But there were a few years when he used to tell friends "The Bible is the only book I am able to read and understand"! My friend's experience reminds me that if God is so concerned to help the illiterate to read it must be because he understands the power of words and the incredible potential in human society when an idea can be communicated in such a way that all around the world lives can change as a consequence. The whole direction of my life has been changed by reading the Gospels, "The Way of a Pilgrim" tr RM French, and "School for Prayer" by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. I persist with writing because(to be absolutely honest) I aspire to changing lives in that way.