Tough Love For Authors — Stop Whining And Do The Work!

Taken from my rant today on Facebook because I just couldn’t listen to the whining anymore (warning: a few choice curse words ahead).

Tough Love For Authors — Stop Whining And Do The Work! 


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: [share ]ONE thing will not sell your books[/share]. It’s a combo of:

— a spectacular book (professionally edited, formatted, designed, proofed)
— reviews (minimum 25) within the first few weeks
— beta or ARC readers before you release
— an optimized website (professional graphics, social media icons, keywording, HTML, CSS for faster loading, etc…all to increase your SEO). Look it up.
an active blog (once weekly minimum).
— a book trailer (share on your own site, social media, and YouTube)
— participate in memes like ‪#‎MondayBlogs‬ or chats — meet cools peeps, learn, promote others
— interactive social media (not spammy) at minimum Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (important for your Google ranking) following readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, book clubs
— groups (important to establish connections with peers)
— an eBook version (duh). Don’t care if you hate eBooks. What do your readers want?
— a virtual blog tour (won’t sell books. DOES increase visibility, SEO, reviews, connections with readers and bloggers, and Google Ranking)
— Google AdWords (get advice on how to do it correctly, study and research, or pay someone to do it for you), or FB or Goodreads or blogger ads. Something!
— Book clubs.
— Book signings.
— swag (bookmarks, pens, postcards, etc)
— guest blog guest blog guest blog (and not only about your book and how wonderful your toenails are).
— interviews

— email newsletter (aka, email marketing). Mailchimp is great and it’s free.

— giveaways, promotions, etc.

— give back, for fuck’s sake. stop talking about yourself all the damn time.

Bitch and moan that you’ve done EVERYTHING (bet you haven’t), and still haven’t sold any books. I don’t believe you. Sorry.

When you’ve done ALL of the above in great detail, and I mean everything with a concentrated effort and still haven’t sold any books, then guess what? Maybe you need to rewrite your book, or write another.

It typically takes FIVE books to start making a living on your work. FIVE. (Says who? Almost every writer who is making a living on their books —Steena HolmesBette Lee CrosbyRyne PearsonLiz SchulteHugh Howey, and on it goes).

Bottom line: focus on building relationships, people. It’s not all about you!

So stop with the whining over here about how Amazon sucks or blah blah doesn’t work (nothing is magical), pull up your big girl and big boy pants, and spend that effort writing your next blog post, book, or tweet. Or yell at me for bitching at you. I don’t care. I won’t be here.

I’ll be writing my next book TOUGH LOVE FOR WHINY WRITERS. ha.

*addendum from The Author CEO Naomi Blackburn: And may I just add in…fighting with drive by reviewers! You have too much time on your hands if you have time to fight with people who don’t know how to write a review!

Want more tough love? You can pay me to yell at you. See my Services page (I don’t really yell. I’m actually quite nice.)


  1. Stephen Tiano on July 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    As a freelance book designer and not a full-fledged book shepherd, I couldn’t agree more. There’s no substitute for picking a subject that your research tells you readers are currently interested in if you can get your book done and out fast, but you still need to do the rest. For a novel, tell a story you’d want to read and that seems to have appeal to more than a few people you talk to. Write really well on the subject. Then hone that writing ’til it’s sharp, razor sharp. Next a professional editor with real-world experience needs to work it over for sense and continuity–in other words, substantively–as well as giving it the copy editor treatment.

    All the while, you need to do all the social media things suggested above, while being sure to just not do me, me, me postings. (I know, this is a tall order to balance.) Then go to print and make the rounds, talking to groups and getting reviews both online and in print. Get those back-of-the-room sales and hook up with one or more distributors. And, yeah, hiring someone like Rachel might give you more than a fighting chance, on top of squeezing out every impulse and bit of energy yourself on the steps before.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 12:27 am

      HI Stephen1 Thanks for reading and the comment. Honestly, if people did put more energy into research and trying new things instead of being Eeyores, they’d be surprised at how much more success they would have! I get frustrated and then I realize meh. We each have to walk our own path.

      thanks for contributing your thoughts and experiences!

  2. slamdunk on July 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Your rant is a worthy one, Rachel. It is sad to see some authors who would rather complain than reflect in terms of improvement. With regular self-evaluation, the author can then go at the marketing and networking better educated and more organized. Perhaps, a more thorough understanding of how prominent failure was in the life of just about any successful person would help as well–that these persons used setbacks to motivate themselves.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Hi Slamdunk and thank you for the validation. I just couldn’t take it anymore lol!

      Yes, there are definite correlations between life success and book success (assuming one’s book is a winner). Not everyone succeeds at marketing, but people can certainly learn at any age or hire people who are successful. I’m always learning and I’ve been at this since the late 80s (marketing that is). There’s so much I don’t know about it! Honestly, it’s overwhelming for anyone. I totally GET that. It’s HARD but come on, it’s not brain surgery.

      Thanks agin. I appreciate you weighing in. xx

  3. t1theinfamous on July 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    With anything that you’re trying to do, you have to work twice as hard as you planned on working and not give up on it. Almost no one gets a hit record, movie or book on their first try. Vanilla Ice was an underground rapper in Texas for years before he finally got a record deal and a chance with “Play that funky music”, and even then, no one cared, but he lucked out thanks to one guy spreading the word about “Ice, Ice Baby” being on the B side of that record.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 1:31 am

      great example. And you know what’s even more interesting? That song was based on a sample of a Queen/David Bowie song, ‘Under Pressure.’ Not only that, but he gave no credit to them. Well, that didn’t go over well, resulted in a mega-lawsuit ( ).

      Point is your point. Yes, you have to work twice as hard, not take the easy way out. Your example illustrates that perfectly (maybe not in the way you were thinking lol) but it still makes the point (how many times will I use point in a sentence?) Thanks for reading, T1.

  4. Stephen Tiano on July 21, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Perhaps Vanilla Ice isn’t the best example, as he faded pretty quickly. Unless you want to count his success on HGTV and Food Network. As far as publishing goes, the main thing, I think, self-publishers need to understand after all the other jazz about writing well and using the services of a professional editor, is that being a self-publisher means they’ve gone into business as publishers–even if just one time for their own book.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      yes yes yes! we are businesspeople, not ONLY writers. so true, Stephen! Bravo.

      • Stephen Tiano on July 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

        You’re all hitting the nail square on the head. But maybe if you’re busy writing five books, the best sense is to invest in professional editing, design, and marketing help. Again, you’re in business. If you opened a shoe store, there’d be no question that you’d have to arrange financing to start it up.

  5. Kelly I. Hitchcock (@KellyHitchcock) on July 21, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Well, crap – here’s a long list of things I need to get better at. No whining, just acceptance of my own (and numerous) inadequacies. We’re all just works in progress right?

    The only thing I would add to this list: don’t put one book out there and expect the Amazon gods to pull up and dump truckloads of money on your lawn every month. Always be working on your next book!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I agree, Kelly. That’s why I put that it takes FIVE books to make a living at this book thingie lol. I see too many people think that one book will put their kid through college or that hiring me for a month will put them into the #1 spot on Amazon. I mean, yea, I’m good but I’m not THAT good (okay, sometimes I am!). but I’m not a magician. If our book doesn’t pass muster, we need to be honest and pull that thing and start over.

      Sure, sometimes crap sales and sells well (50 Shades, anyone?). but hey, she broke through and I admire her for that. Let us all have such success. xx

  6. Barb Drozdowich on July 21, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Thank you! I’m off to share and maybe more authors will start paying attention…

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      thanks, Barb! as always.

  7. Valerie J.O. Gardner on July 21, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I agree completely with your rant. Even if one is blessed with a publisher YOU still have to SELL YOUR OWN BOOKS. I’ve even done shows (large and small) and even farmers markets besides signings at book stores. I’ve talked myself hoarse from saying, “Can I tell you about my book?” Even a single book sell is a good day to me. I look at the authors (and publishers) that lay their books flat on the table then sit behind it and fiddle with their phones/tablets not even making eye contact with people. My sales are always better because I put my books in stands so the covers can be seen. I sit in front of the table (placed at the back of the booth) on a stool to be at eye level holding my book.
    The point is just because you wrote the book doesn’t mean it will sell itself. A small percentage of authors can sell on their name alone and their publishers take advantage of that by ADVERTISING. The rest of us have to get off our butts, put away their distractions and engage prospective readers both online and in person.
    One last thing and I’ll get off the soap box: Even an honest 1 star review can yield valuable information on how to improve your writing. Never attack the reviewer for it; thank them instead.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      SO true, Valerie! I have traditionally published clients as well as indie and they will attest — their publisher does little to nothing to promote their work, and fully expects them to bring in sales in order to keep them on for the next book. That’s a lot of pressure!

      And really that brings up the quality of the writing — it all starts with a GREAT book. We all need to be realistic — I encourage anyone to write. It’s our right as humans to tell our stories. As for our level of talent, we need to work and share and work and share and read and take classes and work some more. Everything else means little if the work can’t stand on its own. and I agree with you on the 1-star — we can learn from every review even if we don’t agree with it.

      thanks again for your insights.

  8. Myka Reede on July 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Great post. How many times do we tell our kids “It’s not all about you, my dear”? Excellent reminder to all of us that we are in this for the long journey – the marathon, not the sprint. Thanks Rachel.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you, Myka! Yes, it’s a rather immature world view, isn’t it? I refer to these people as Eeyores. ‘Nobody likes me. Nobody will ever buy my book.’ And they’re right. My favorite motivational line from a stupid movie (Caddyshack): ‘See your future, become your future.’ If you see nothing, you become nothing. If you see no sales, you have no sales.

      Changing our paradigm, or having a positive one to begin with (or at least a realistic one) makes a big difference as an author. Oh man, there I go again!

  9. Minolta White on July 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you for writing this post!! Not only did you hit the nail on it’s head but you shattered the wall. I am in so many facebook groups and people are aways ranting about not being able to sell their books. I’m no genius! But, I know that it takes more than just updating your facebook status with details on your new book. The struggle is real!! Some authors want instant gratification without the work. I put my thinking cap on a long time ago. I’m not in this just for the money…I love to write. As you noted it takes hard work and at least 5 books to earn a living. I’m striving to not only change my life but the lives of my reader. I am committed to my writing career!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks, Minolta. Facebook groups are a wonderful way to connect but they can also be a magnet for Eeyores. I avoid some of those groups or even leave them if I find that the negativity outweighs the helpfulness. I’m so glad you love to write and that’s why I’m in it also. I honestly think that’s why most writers write, and why many don’t bother to learn about the business aspect of it — or think that by going with a traditional publisher, they’ll not have to worry about that aspect HA HA HA.

      You ARE smart. You’re learning, studying, finding out what to do. That puts you ahead of 95% of the authors I talk with. Get it, girl. xx

  10. Pandora Poikilos on July 22, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Many thanks for this post Rachel. I’ve been organising virtual book tours for 3 years now and it is AMAZING the number of authors who approach self-publishing with no marketing plan in hand. Most are under the impression that a single book tour will launch them to stardom and get frustrated when it doesn’t. This does not include those who approach us with unedited / self-edited books which don’t get favourable reviews, which is a whole other issue. When I do tell them to attempt at least one marketing plan a month (at the very minimum) it is met with disbelief. Unrealistic expectations are becoming a trend these days and authors need to understand that self-publishing is not a one way ticket to stardom but a business venture. My two cents.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Pandora. It’s so sad that an author, ANY author, thinks that a blog tour, or a book signing, or merely publishing their book, will net them millions. When is like that easy?!? No. It’s sadly so unrealistic as to be comical. Even the ‘overnight’ stars have been cracking away at it for years and years. That’s what these folks with stars in their eyes don’t see. Ah well.

      I can only do my occasional rant and ruminate for so long. Then I shut it down and go write my own stuff! I help where I can, but some folks want to marinate in their negativity and that’s cool. It’s all a choice. Thank you for all you do. You provide a WEALTH of information and it’s up to the authors to do the work to make their tour as successful as it can be, or not. hugs, girl.

  11. Michael D. Griffiths on July 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Great article. Always a few more things you could be doing. 25 reviews in the first few weeks. Wow. Ha ha. Nver been there. But making a living off writing… shoot I have 6 published books and haven’t even considered the possiblity.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Michael and thanks for reading! I’ve got 3 books out and if you start collecting names and emails (via Twitter, FB and your newsletter — if you don’t have one, START), to be your betareaders/ARCs, you will easily get those first reviews. NO guarantee they will love it, but it’s a fair and ethical way to connect with readers (non-paid).


  12. Charlotte Abel on July 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the awesome bulleted list! I’ve done, and continue to do, most of the things you’ve listed. But there are definitely areas where I need to improve and I appreciate the reminder.

    I didn’t see “build an email list” and that’s been a huge help for me each time I launch a book. It’s a smallish, targeted list but it works! The single most helpful thing I’ve done to improve sales is PUBLISH THE NEXT BOOK! I’ve got five books out, two series (one of them finished) and three short stories.

    I’m not making a fortune, but I am making enough to pay for all my book-related expenses: publicist, professional editing, professional cover designs, and four to five book conferences a year (a great place to network and crosspromote other writers). And I still net enough that I have to pay taxes.

    It’s hard work, but I love it. I’m going to launch my “FREEDOM” app and focus on my WIP for a few hours.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience so generously!
    Charlotte Abel

  13. […] is a combination of factors. Rachel Thompson gives some tough love to authors, advising them to stop whining and do the work. When you get to work, Nina Amir has 6 branding tips for writers and authors, and Helen Phillips […]

  14. Courtney Killian on July 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    I love this article. I know a few writers who look at J.K. Rowling’s success, and think it will be so easy to get there. It’s not, and then they whine about it. I always tell them that Rowling worked her ass off for that kind of success. Meanwhile, they’re barely putting any work into their writing at all. It annoys me so much!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 30, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Thank you, Courtney! Yes, looking at the outliers and thinking that will be us. People forget that she spent years and years in poverty and writing on welfare and at night. Nobody wants to hear that part of it!

      Most ‘overnight’ successes have worked for years. So ya know, it’s never what people think is it? Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  15. Ken Magee on July 26, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Great post, Rachel. I’m guilty of the odd private whine, but in general I do try and work at the social networking as well as aiming to hit the five book mark (one and a half to go).

    Your checklist is great… I’ve dabbled with each one of your points, but my commitment to stick at them has let me down e.g. I’ve done one blog tour in the last three years. I think my biggest failing is Google+… I just haven’t come to grips with it.

    BUT now I’m inspired and I will try much harder!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 30, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Ken and thanks for reading and commenting!

      Blog tours are interesting — they won’t sell books, per se, but they will increase visibility, SEO and connections (and reviews if that’s what you sign up for), and that’s all important as well. Expecting sales is expecting disappointment.

      I don’t do a lot with Google+ but I do schedule in posts using Hootsuite (some people prefer Buffer) to help with my google ranking. It’s easy (one click) and makes such a difference in your SEO/SMO. Why not?

      So glad I inspired you! yay!

      • Ken Magee on August 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

        Thanks again for the advice. I’ve signed up for Hootsuite. I still have no idea what I’m doing on Google+, but now I can schedule it!

  16. Carol Hedges on July 27, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Oh my! Love this! Yup —-the work only just begins when your book is out. (I’m doing a series of posts on Twitter -3rd on out Sat, saying exactly what you say re making friends). Also, whining is a VERY unattractive quality, and isn’t going to WIN you any friends in the first place. Ditto all those writers who go on and on about there Amazin rankings, etc etc. JUST> WRITE>

    • Rachel Thompson on July 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Yes, that’s IT! I’ve actually started unfollowing, muting, and in some cases, blocking the Eeyores as I call them. I just … who has time? I mean, I’m not Mary Sunshine by any means but I really only have so much time in my busy day. By the time someone has left a novel on my FB page or here about how they’ve tried it all and nothing has worked blah blah, they could have written a chapter or a blog post or connected with a blogger or left a nice comment for someone or…you get it.

      I’m done being everyone’s helper girl. I’ll help people help themselves but hey, pull up the bootstraps and get on the horse, or some such American euphemism for WORK! xx

  17. Terry Tyler on July 28, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Love it, love it, love it! I’m always saying similar – so often ‘I’m no good at promotion’ often means ‘I can’t be bothered with promotion’. Seems so many blame everything but themselves and their book – the industry, the uselessness of social media sites, Amazon, the amount of books on the market…. and as for the whingeing on Facebook groups – I’ve left them all. If those people spent the time writing a really interesting blog post, or spent time interacting with people on Twitter…. am not saying that everyone has to do everything you say (I don’t), but most people can find the time to do SOME of it – even if it just starts with spending half an hour using Twitter properly instead of signing up for some daft app to do all the work for you (they don’t, they just pump out spam). I’ve read a very good book that’s new out – Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall. I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you, Terry! I love the word ‘whingeing’ that’s so much more interesting than whining, which even sounds whiny LOL.

      Yes, the complaining we here in groups can border on the ridiculous. I find that I only interact in a small select number of groups, and more where it’s a matter of helping each other as opposed to whingeing. Sure, we all need a good vent sometimes and groups can be helpful for that — I’ve done it, too! We’re human. We get frustrated, etc. We’re human. Cool. But move on, people!

      I respect your marketing, Terry. You’re personable and smart. You’ve been that way since day one and I point many authors to your site for an example of how to do it right! xx

      • Terry Tyler on August 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        Darn, if this post doesn’t keep popping back up in my emails….!!! Just wanted to say thanks for what you’ve written in that reply, Rachel, it’s much appreciated and a nice thing to log on to! 7.30 am on Saturday and I’m about to do my first Twitter session of the day…. I think that’s part of what you’re trying to hit home to people, too; it’s about making it priority and becoming a part of the communities so that you actually enjoy them, and get the most out of them. OH dear, I really must have a look at Google +…..!

  18. Vlad V, on July 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Well-said, Rachel, but how would you prioritize this list for people who have day jobs and may not be able to do it all, or who can only do it piecemeal?

    • Rachel Thompson on July 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Vlad! good question — really it’s common sense. There are pre-release activities (gathering emails for beta/ARC readers), scheduling a blog tour (after book release), connecting with readers, bloggers, reviewers (before, during, after, all the damn time)! lol.

      There’s no set schedule because hey, we’re all writing, working, raising families or pets or working out (haha — I remember those days), or cooking or doing laundry or hey, living. Do a bit here, a bit there, use Hootsuite or Buffer, or something that schedules some things in for you and still allows you time to research, learn, and read.

      It’s what I do — I try things, I fail, I pick myself up, I move on. Trial and error is how we learn, and I’m just like you. Just maybe been at it awhile longer! Thanks for reading and asking me a thought-provoking question.

      • Vlad V. on July 29, 2014 at 5:11 am

        That makes sense. Pretty much what I’ve been doing, although I have trouble doing all of it all the time (life and all that ;-), and it has been working. It’s been slow, but things are picking up. My biggest challenge has been staying connected to readers after the point of purchase, a hurtle I seem to be overcoming this year, I hope. Fingers crossed. I was just wondering if you saw any specific thing(s) as more valuable than others, even though they all have value. Thanks for the response!

        • Rachel Thompson on July 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

          There are some ‘after purchase’ ways to connect: is great (a way to ‘e-sign’ your books. Also, ask readers to sign up for your newsletter EVERYWHERE (in your book, on your blog, tweets, FB tabs (Mailchimp has a form), etc so you can reconnect in multiple places.

          You can also ask readers to betaread your NEXT book as well, and if they do write a review, be sure to thank them (and if they’re on goodreads, follow them there). xx

      • Terry Tyler on July 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        Hi, can I just interject here? Just wanted to say that I’ve found pretty much of a non-starter, and hardly any readers have heard about it. The other thing I’d like to say to Vlad is about keeping up with readers – write a list of them. Most of them will have found you on Twitter or Goodreads, I assume – note their Twitter handle, go on to their pages, take an interest in what they’re doing, or reading if on Goodreads. Doesn’t take long, and it’s a nice thing to do, aside from being advantageous to you!

  19. Mary Rowen on July 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    This doesn’t sound like a rant at all, Rachel. It’s all true. Especially the part about writing five books before you can make a living at it. I wish I were there, but no use complaining–I’m just trying to get #2 published and #3 written before moving on to #4. I do hope some of my whiny friends come across this post, though. I’ll RT it, but am pretty sure the people I know who really need it are too busy whining to read it. Thanks for sharing though. Great info all around.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks so much, Mary! I appreciate it. Yes, I do see SO much whining and this and that and how people have done everything possible (and I know they haven’t because believe me, I CHECK. they haven’t.). I’m not trying to catch people in a lie — I’m honestly trying to find where they can improve or try new things. When their argument back is more whining, I’m done.

      I’m busy working on my books, my business, my family — I help people because I want them to succeed. Most of us need to get out of our own way. I’m no different. I have my moments, too! Thankfully, I love learning what works, trying new things constantly. Being a student and implementing new strategies is my geeky form of fun. I own that!

  20. David C. Lowery on July 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Rachel, thanks for the article reference–it really is a good one. As a first-time author, I couldn’t agree with you more. However, I am not necessarily trying to get big sells off of my book–I just want to get it out there so that people are aware of it. I didn’t mean to spam your Twitter page. I was just attempting to try to use Social Media to make the name of the book visible. No whining here–just learning.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Hi David and thank you for reading! No worries — many folks who are using Twitter for strictly book visibility will be mighty disappointed, when there are so many ways that are much more effective.

      Twitter — actually, ANY social media — is more for building relationships, not about our books. I suggest adding your book link to your bio (there’s room for two URLs), and only sharing once or twice a week, if that. Focus on the other things I lay out above to get more visibility (besides, tweets last about 20 minutes; Facebook posts 2-3 hours; Pinterest pins up to THREE MONTHS! — according to Peg Fitzpatrick of Canva).

      Social media is great — I adore it — but not for selling books. Hope that helps!

  21. Allison on August 7, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Ah.. but my book isn’t selling and I’ve tried EVERYTHING.. I mean.. I have thought about it, and talked about it and.. oh, you mean I actually have to put in time, energy, effort to write the damned thing and THEN more time energy and effort to edit it, and THEN to have it edited, AND to promote and build relationships and community and… and… and…
    Yes… thank you for this. I’m still nowhere near the stages of promotion, or anything like that (not actually having a book together yet) but am starting some of the footwork now, learning all I can so that when I do get that point I have an idea of what needs to be done (and, of course, doing ahead of time what I can, such as getting a start on building community — which is a lot easier when I’m doing it to also help inspire me to keep going on the process, not just as a means to promote and sell). I’m finding your suggestions and advice invaluable, so thank you.
    It’s frustrating to see people who seem to think that they can just make a living off of a single novel, with not real effort on their part. I have done some browsing and am amazed at how many books there are out there that promote just that idea, titles with some combination of the words: “easy” “money” and “writing,” and it makes me sad… because the authors of those books are making money, and the poor people who buy those books actually expect that they can easily make money by pouring thoughts onto a page with no real effort on their part.
    Okay, my rant done… I appreciate your call to stop whining — very much appreciated!

    • Terry Tyler on August 22, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Mind if I nip in??!! I just wanted to make this point, which I’ve made in a couple of the reviews of said books. Most of the authors of them have also written fiction. All you have to do to find out if the books are just a money making exercise or really do have good advice is look at the Amazon ratings/reviews (but don’t forget that a book can sell well one side of the pond and no so well the other) of the fiction offerings from the writer. If they’re nowhere, then the book has just been written to make money and the writer of it probably knows less than you or me, and less than you can read in blog posts, that are FREE!

      • Rachel Thompson on August 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm

        Great points, Terry! Of course you can nip in anytime. I value your opinion, sweet. I see lots of authors who release a book every month or two. Some are no more than 99c and no longer than 5,000 or 10,000 words and for them, that’s fine. I make no judgements (one friend is release a series of stories that way and they are selling well — she does it for the love of writing). If she makes money — great. If not, that’s fine, too.

        Every writer walks their own path, and markets and writes to the best of their abilities. My goal — and having writers like yourself here as guests (and I’d love another guest post from you again at some point!) is to share what we’ve tried, what works for us, what does’t) so people can learn and try and see what works for them! xx

  22. […] Tough Love For Authors – Stop Whining And Do The Work! […]

  23. Rebecca Rotert on August 22, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Well that was a much needed kick-in-the-pants.

    • Rachel Thompson on August 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      🙂 thank you, Rebecca

  24. […] Tough Love For Authors — Stop Whining And Do The Work! via @badredheadmedia  […]

  25. Elizabeth Barone on October 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Awesome list, Rachel. Tim Grahl wrote an excellent guide on getting reviews before your book is released, for anyone who’s interested:

  26. Morgan Dragonwillow (@MDragonwillow) on October 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for all the great info, I am definitely paying attention and I’m going to print out your list to check off what I have done and work on what I haven’t done yet. I appreciate all that you do!

  27. Ann Anderson Evans on November 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    If I did all the things you suggest I would be a professional marketer, not a writer. We have to choose what works best for us, not miss an opportunity, remember our friends, appreciate others, and live our lives in balance. The toughest of the points above seems to me to be getting 25 reviews (assuming this is other than on amazon or goodreads in the first few weeks. To say that we have to do ALL of these things, which are, every one of them, time consuming, would make us dull thinkers.

    • Rachel Thompson on November 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Ann! Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with you — you absolutely have to choose what works best for you.

      Where I differ is that we, as writers, as businesspeople — and part of our ‘job’ is to learn how to market our work. It’s not either/or — writing OR marketing. It’s both. That’s the learning curve most writers object to, and that’s fine. Don’t do any of these things and see how many books you sell.

      My point is: here’s a list of things to do. Do some, do a few, do one, do them all, whatever works best for YOU. But if you do none and your books don’t sell, don’t whine about it. That’s really what I’m saying. I do apologize if that didn’t come across. Thank you again!

  28. kimberlywenzler on November 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I love this! Thank you for the kick in the ass. I do only about half of what’s on your list. You have a new fan.

    • Rachel Thompson on December 3, 2015 at 9:59 am

      thank you, Kimberly! There’s a lot to do, but it’s not a race. do a little here, a little there. and doing half is still a lot! go you. xx

  29. The Importance of a Brand – S. Usher Evans on January 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    […] Which works to bring out the sad sacks and the Know-It-Alls (looking at you, Suni) who send you this freaking EXCELLENT post written by my Oprah, Rachel Thompson, who has a great list of all the …. […]

  30. aimee on January 25, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Such an honest and great post!!! Getting some authors to do any of these things is difficult then the ‘why am I not selling?’ is enough to make me pull my own hair out.

    • Rachel Thompson on January 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Thank you, Aimee! Yes, and I hear it daily (and I wrote this post awhile ago!). We have to help ourselves, and learn what we don’t know. All the info is out there — it’s a learning process. I had to learn just like everyone else — through research, study, and doing the work. Trial and error, making mistakes, and again, doing the work. Nothing about publishing is easy – marketing our work isn’t an option.

  31. […] typically takes FIVE books to start making a living on your work,” says author Rachel Thompson. “FIVE. (Says who? Almost every writer who is making a living on their books —Steena […]

  32. […] If your business plan is to twiddle around on Facebook and whine about how your book isn’t selling because you’re not doing any marketing, then that’s your problem. I’ve written exhaustively about what you need to create your author platform, and how to build relationships with readers, as have experts like Jane Friedman and Joanna Penn, who are amazing. Read, research, and do the work.  […]

  33. […] the thing, though—you are either going to accept this truth and start doing the work, or  you’re not. Maybe something I have said today will motivate or inspire you, or maybe you […]

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