Zakky's Writing Blog




Step three: Start With WHY

Starting with why is fundamentally the most important aspect when building your author audience from scratch.

Start With Why is also commonly known as the following publisher submission questions & statements: 

  • We are looking for some color about you, including…. why you like to write? And what your writing ambitions are?
  • What has inspired you to write?
  • Who is your target market?
  • Where does your book sit in the market place?

What is “Starting With Why?” 

In short, its the emotional philosophy behind a cult like following.
But you’re not here for short answers!

Start With Why – The Book

Start With Why is a business book by business writer Simon Sinek.
In it Simon Sinek shares his business philosophy about how great brands maintain a loyal consumer following by practicing business with company principles; their WHY.
Although it’s written for business executives and entrepreneurs, I highly recommend you buy a copy of the book, take it home and study it thoroughly, because at the end of day; you – an author – are a business person. You are the CEO of your own company! 

Please Note: I have not been asked to endorse or promote this book. I just think it’s fundamentally importance for all writers and authors to read it.
If you don’t have the funds or the will to go out and read the whole book, I’m going to try and outline the key points in the philosophy.

I still recommend you read the book though, because I suck at explaining and writing non-fiction material (if you haven’t already noticed.)

I’m also going to provide you with some great Publisher and Author Why’s that I want you to pay attention too.

So here we go!


  • Starting with WHY is the heart of every great and successful business.
  • It is the principles you stand for as a business, but in our case as an author.
  • It’s the reason a business goes into business. It’s the reason an author starts writing. It’s the reason a publisher goes into the business of publishing books.
  • Your WHY is all about communicating the feelings and emotions involved with the decision process, that influenced the reasons you do what you, ie writing.


  • Getting a why is relatively simple. What you need to do as an aspiring author or writer is to ask yourself why you started writing what you’re writing.
  • Look inside yourself and reflect on what you look for in other people’s work.
  • What matters to you in literature?
  • What are you paying for when you buy a book?
  • What matters to you in general?
  • Once you’ve had a good long hard think about your WHY and what matters to you, and what you like to find in the books and products you purchase, write it all down. Carefully edit it and then place it on all your social media platforms. Write a copy for your business and marketing plans, and promote it.


  • Having a why – or a mission statement, or a purpose, as it is sometimes called – is your anthem.
  • It’s your microphone to the outside world.
  • It is what makes you unique.
  • And it’s what your customers see in you that they can relate to.
  • At the end of the day, your why is all about communicating the feelings involved with the reason you do what you.
  • It also holds you accountable for your every business action and decision. For example: if a certain decision doesn’t align with your company/writing principles, you can stop yourself from following through with it and making customers question your principles!


Customers are looking to belong to something. To believe in someone. To be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Followers and customers want to contribute to something. So they’ll seek out possible causes that reflect their own values.

That’s what you as an author have to be;

  • A cause.
  • Someone to believe in.
  • Someone who shares and lives by their principles and values them from day 1 of business, to the last days of business.


Again, I highly recommend you go out and pick up the book, Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. It’s well worth your money and time, and due to his extensive study of the formula/subject, he can explain it way better than I can.

But for now, I want to talk about the following Why’s and why I think they are so successful!!!


Let me show the why for one of my favorite publishing houses; Pantera Press.

Pantera Press is a 10 year old small publisher with a great social purpose of encouraging disadvantaged children to read. Pantera Press donates to charities and organizations that help fill the reading gaps between several communities.

Here is their why:

Some great businesses have started in home garages: think Disney, Amazon and Google. Pantera Press sprung to life around the story-loving Green family’s kitchen table from a passion to publish great Australian stories that readers across the world would rave about. Founded in 2008, we continue to grow rapidly.

A social purpose business created to champion writing culture, Pantera Press invests in the next generation of both readers and writers by finding and nurturing new writers, fostering ideas and debate, and using a percentage of our revenue to invest in literacy charities and not-for-profit programs. Our good books doing good thingsTM approach encapsulates everything we do and has led to the formation of the Pantera Press Foundation. Most recently, we’ve partnered with the Sydney Story Factory to expand the reach of their free creative writing and storytelling workshops for young people from marginalised backgrounds.

Our new imprint, Lost the Plot, is designed to push the envelope and serve the new millennial generation with beautiful and entertaining content and concepts to inspire and help them save the world.

We have a unique approach to the so-called ‘slush pile’ of Australian unsolicited manuscripts. To us, this is a valuable resource – an underexplored diamond mine – and we actively encourage submissions.

Pantera Press was shortlisted in 2013, 2014 and 2018 for the Australian Book Industry’s Small Publisher of the Year Award and shortlisted for the ABIA Innovation Award and Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016.

That why has cost me a lot of money! I have bought books and books from them!


For me:

  • Because they’re really great to their authors and do help build people up!
  • They refer to their manuscript slush pile as a diamond mine: which to me, really does say alot about how keen they are to give authors a go!
  • Because they’re investing in the future of reading culture and literature!
  • Every time they donate more money to a cause that helps teach a young child or adult how to read, they’re building a new reader, a new customer. They’re selling me a potential reader in the future; someone who may buy my own book(s)!


Another why that I think is worth sharing is by an author who actually got her work published through Pantera Press:

That being Lynette Noni.

Please note: unfortunately Lynette Noni has taken down the bio where she describes why she writes and has replaced it with a pretty boring and standard:

“I started writing on a whim.”

Which is really not very powerful at all. It makes her sound kind of flaky and happy-go-lucky.

Her old bio used to have this line:

“I wanted to write something that I would want to read.”

To me, that’s power. What that says to me is “I’m writing content that I would enjoy reading.”

So in essence she’s offering:

  • Books that have great substance.
  • Something interesting.

Lynette is:

  • Not just publishing books for the sake of money.
  • Wants to enjoy the books she writes.
  • Wants her readers to enjoy the books she writes.
  • Is in the publishing industry for great story telling, and great characters and great world building.

That is what that why tells me.


Another great why is that of Penguin Classics.

Again, I can’t find it online. But at the back of every Penguin Classics book is a page that describes the Founder:

“Just wanting a decent book to read.”

Which gives me the impression that in the founding days – remember this was over a hundred years ago – books weren’t that good or interesting or worth paying for.

It actually gives us great insight into the publishing industry, years ago. The books must have been seriously bad because, hello!!! Have you read a penguin classic? Some of them are really good but the most of them are just god-damn awful and boring and soo badly written!

But the quality of Penguin Classics’ books is not what we’re talking about!

The Why of Penguin Classics tells me:

  • We’re going to make books great.
  • We’re going to publish a decent book to read.
  • We’re going to turn books into something someone would want to pay for.
  • We’re going to publish exciting fiction and stimulating non-fiction.

The only problem with the Why of Penguin Classics is that it’s incredibly outdated.

And there is now an abundance of great books to read! There are so many great books out in the world that no one would ever have to worry about a book just being decent!

To sell a book with all the competition around, your books have to be more than decent, they have to be spectacular – out of this world! – the best of the greatest of all books!


Okay so what my WHY then?

I’ve kind of got two going at the moment, but they’re one and the same and their meant to be merged together.

My passion for writing is definitely fiction: I love making up stories and writing about great characters (I especially love characters with heavy flaws: so expect a lot of them 😁.)

To compliment great characters, I love to include riveting plot lines. And not just twisting and turning plot lines, but ones that throw the ball completely out of the park!

But I’m not all about writing and forcing ya’ll to read my books hehe. I’m also a huge student by my own accord, and have learnt so many things about the publishing industry and business-related topics that I just MUST share them with you.

So a lot of my blog and its posts will be dedicated to helping my fellow wanna-be-authors with information and tips, that I wish someone could have provided to me years ago.

I’ll also be tossing in some reviews  and recommendations about other great and extremely original – I’m all about originality in books guys – books I’ve discovered. So stay tuned.

Zakky MC, formally known as Zak D. Cole, is the self published author of several now retired titles. After failing to make book sales because of his lack of a business plan, a readership following, and a genuine approachable character, Zakky MC has become an advocate for education, self development and business planning when it comes to books!

When it comes to reading and writing, Zakky’s thing is originality.
Zakky loves to read books with unforgettable characters that are 1) extremely human, and 2) awfully flawed. To Zakky, flawed characteristics in characters make them more relatable.

One thing that Zakky MC cannot stand in the publishing industry, and that he would never consciously commit to any of his readers; is the act of using a recycled plot or story-line.

To Zakky, reusing a plot that’s just become a bestseller – so lets flood the market with similar content – is 1) distasteful 2) tacky and 3) lazy for all parties involved in a book’s publication.

When Zakky MC reads a book, he wants to see something fresh. Something weird. Something that borderlines ‘this is a bit sketchy‘ and ‘I don’t know how I feel about this.’ And that is exactly how he writes. To 1) push the boundaries, and 2) make his readers question himself and themselves, and 3) stir the pot.

Zakky doesn’t always want the books he writes – and the books he reads – to make sense. He lives for the stories that are un-explainable, full of loose ends, and endings that can be left up to the reader’s imagination.


That is step 3 of building you author audience! If you haven’t already checked out step 1 and 2, you can check them out by clicking on the links below:

Step 1: become a follower

Step 2: avoid dead social circles

And like I’ve said numerous times, check out that business book: Start With Why!

Buy it. Read it. I know you don’t want to. I know your trying to convince yourself that you don’t need it. You’re making up excuses to why you don’t need it – just like I do when someone recommends me a book – but I promise you, it will help you tremendously!

Pantera Press Why: Click here.

Start With Why description.

And you can purchase Start With Why HERE and have it delivered to your door, without having to pay for shipping or handling. You just purchase the book!

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