Sunday 10 September 2023

What’s an Author to do These Days…

“Please tell me I am not alone…”
an author lamented on a post I saw on Facebook a while ago. As I read through the comment, part of me deeply felt the frustration this writer was going through. I’ve been there, and done some of those tasks mentioned. However, another part of me wanted partake in a full-blown smack down to induce a well-needed writer wake-up call. Keeping this particular author anonymous, I’ll share snippets of the conversation below to give you an idea of why I reacted the way I did, and share my response with you.

 First part:

“Please tell me I am not alone…

Years of being a published author: 7

Number of titles: 16

Seven years of doing everything "they" said to do: Join this group and that group and do ads and write more books and do a series and write to market and do a newsletter, and have a strong social media presence, and take an ads course and read these books, and if your blurb and covers are right and you have a great book, you will see fruition. . .”

Response: Um. No. There’s no guarantee in this business. I’m not sure if the author is self-published or with a publisher, but seven years is not bad if you’ve published sixteen books! I’m also not sure how much sweat equity this writer has invested in before being published, but the author is efficient enough to craft a novel. Seven years in publishing does not equal fame and fortune. Oh, and listening to the “they” is the author’s fault, not theirs. The author is not taking any responsibility, and blaming others for their lack of success.

Second part:

“So, I listen to these experts and I get their feedback on my covers and blurbs and utilize beta readers and editors and take the classes and do the research and learn the ads and go beyond even all that. Every time I have applied what I have learned, I think “This is it, this will be the game changer that will make my career go into the black."

"I made a series. Now it will work." No.

"I wrote a nonfiction book to help others. Now things will change." No.

"I changed my covers for the fifth time and tightened the tropes to meet readers' expectations. Now my career will take off." No.

"I took all the classes, did all the research, did everything they said to do. This will all make a difference." No.”


Again, playing the blame game. No one held a gun to this author’s head. At least I hope not!
Since being a published author in 2012, I’ve never changed my covers. My reasoning? It confuses the readers looking for your books. To me, this author is doing way too much and not concentrating on what’s best for them. There’s an old saying around the time of the California Gold Rush that basically teaches there’ll be thousands of prospectors searching for gold, and many opportunistic businesses sprouting up to sell them picks and shovels. Who do you think will profit more? This author seems to have been sold a lot of picks and shovels, yet lacks something many authors need these days—staying power. Know that you must be in for the long haul (and work smarter) to accomplish your dreams and receive the ‘gold’.

Third part:

“I am heartbroken and tired of hearing people make blanket claims, knowing I apply their tried and true practices only to wind up steeped in the red, seeing little evidence that my books are being enjoyed as the numbers of reviews have essentially frozen themselves in time. Or, after getting #1 bestsellers to do my covers and blurbs and working with a coach to ensure I met the tropes and expectations of the audience, only to be told that it must be my covers or blurb.”

Response: Welcome to the reality of being part of the author club! It takes time and money to make this particular career work. Yes. It’s frustrating and sometimes soul-crushing, but at some point in your writing profession, you need to reevaluate what’s working, what’s not, and adjust. Be professional, and make decisions that are for your best interests. Seems like this author is being pick-pocketed and left hanging while those so-called ‘coaches’ are laughing all the way to the bank. To me, this author needs to reset their mindset.

Fourth (and last) part:

“I Love to Write. I always have. I am thankful that hasn’t gone away. But…I engaged with another writer--his words meant so much. He alluded to the ANXIETY pushed upon us, the demands of being a writer and being absorbed by the number of reviews, our rankings, our sales, etc. and how instead, it's best to market our craft and build our reputation from word-of-mouth. And I agree with him, especially since all of my efforts sizzle for a second before drowning in the big ocean of this giant indie world.”

Response: Okay. The author loves to write and is grateful. Good attitude. What I think needs to happen is that this person must stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off (sorry for the cliché) and do some heavy duty analyzing. The other author who engaged in the post tells it like it is. It’s tough being an author these days. The fact that he advises to build a reputation from word-of-mouth (best advertising) is gold. No need for picks or shovels. Just be authentic. Do what’s best for you and what you can handle (mentally and financially). It’ll all work out in the wash one day. Or in the prospector’s pan.

This author writes in a popular genre, where I’m guessing there’s plenty of competition out there. The genre has an established market, so there’s many readers waiting in the wings for books to devour. So what’s this author to do? Simple, though not easy. Be patient with the process and journey of a writing career. Stop hustling. That will stress you out even more. Anxiety is a product of being uncertain, of what’s lurking around the next corner. Be present. Write. Have fun. Even when you’re promoting or marketing. Trust me, it’s not worth it if your writing career is one big ball of frustration. In the end, this author seemed hopeful, which I was happy to find. I’ll leave you with the last line of this author’s rant: “I hope and pray that soon, very soon, all my hard work, all those countless hours of doing all the business side of things, will pay off so I don't feel like this has all been in vain.”

When I started writing almost thirty years ago, I had no clue about this writing business. I just muddled through, kept honing my craft, and yes, failing. A lot. But I kept going. Guess ignorance is bliss, after all! If you’re an author, do you resonate with what this writer conveyed? Have you changed tactics and readjusted your writing career throughout the years? Have you decided to toss out ‘Hustle Culture’ like I did, and just ‘do you’? If you’re a reader, did you realize what authors have to do to catch your attention? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you! 


  1. Great post, Sharon! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks, Marina! Guess it's my way of rocking the boat. LOL! Cheers, my friend!