Does the world need my books?
I’m writing a book about death. This book will be Jagunbae’s first publication.
I was nervous when I decided to close my restaurant to start a publisher. My heart said I was on the right path, but I wasn’t sure if my creation could be a meaningful contribution to the ever-growing space of information.
My mind played the same question over and over. Does the world need more books? More specifically, does the world need my books?
In South Korea, at least 60,000 titles were published in 2022. 53% of Koreans above 18 don’t even read a single book per year. In this country, books in warehouses are stacked like mountains. Clearly, people around me don’t read Laozi, Plato, and Adam Smith anymore. Shorts, gossip, and porn have replaced great books.
I’m not Tom Cruise, and my book is not Mission Impossible. If I want my book to be perused by many, I must convince readers that I crafted attention-worthy content.
I was thrilled to pay for books by Morgan Housel, Tim Ferriss, Derek Sivers, and Rick Rubin because I had gained so much through their previous posts and podcasts. Hearing the news of their upcoming books, I was already sold these creators were committed to helping others and presenting modern classics. Like friends supporting one another, buying these books felt like a private way of saying Thank you.
I want my readers to feel the same. I want to persuade others through consistent work and actions. Sleek copywriting and photography might pull off some sales. But having a New York Times Bestseller badge loses meaning if no one’s actually reading it. The grand prize for publishing a book must be the authentic connection through personal ideas and stories. That’s why I’m determined to share my rocky journey of running a publisher while writing a book.
If an artist comes up to me and says, I’m scared because I’m not talented enough to compose music like Beethoven or Mozart. I would answer Come on, you haven’t even tried yet. Art is not about others. It’s about yourself. Why not direct this advice to myself? The world is not waiting for my book. I can’t write prose like Ray Bradbury. My book will not be groundbreaking. Still, this book will represent who I really am. Right now, that’s enough for me.