How To Succeed as an Author? The Secret You Already Know

How To Succeed as an Author? The Secret You Already Know, Author, Authors, Rachel Thompson, @BadRedheadMedia, Authors

What differentiates authors who succeed from those who don’t? It’s a secret you already know:

Do the work.

There’s no getting around it, and for those of us who love what we do, we don’t want to! We are fascinated by the process of writing and publishing, sales and marketing, and really anything that has to do with the creative and artistic processes. Sure, sometimes the book marketing process can be a bit of a slog, and people on social media get on our nerves, but that’s when you change gears, learn a new skill, or blog it out.

Over the past year, I’ve led MANY #BookMarketingChats (one each week) and we’ve covered:

I’ve learned a lot myself, and I use all of these channels and techniques on the regular! I’ve linked all the summaries above, so you can peruse them at your convenience.

Future chats include:

  • Newsletters and Subscriber Lists
  • More About Goodreads (with Naomi Blackburn)
  • How to Use Buffer (with Buffer’s own expert, Bonnie)
  • CoSchedule: What is it (content management) and how to use it!
  • Book Marketing Plans — The Easy Way
  • Creating visuals and graphics (with Kathleen Valentine)
  • Street Teams (with bestseller Shari Ryan)
  • What is Branding?
  • More about Twitter
  • More about Facebook
  • More about Pinterest (with Kate Tilton)
  • More about StumbleUpon
  • Betareaders vs. ARC readers — what’s the difference?
  • Working with Book Bloggers (with Barb Drozdowich)
  • Getting Legit Reviews (paid sites and unpaid)
  • and so much more!

Throughout these chats, I’ve learned there are basically two types of writers:

  1. Those willing to do the work (who are attending the chats in hopes of learning new, cool stuff and putting it to use right away) and,
  2. Those not willing to do the work (who are attending the chats to criticize and complain as to why they can’t or won’t learn cool, new stuff) and will do nothing.

Let’s deconstruct.

Why Did I Create #BookMarketingChat ? To Help Authors 

[share ]I created this free chat to give back to authors.[/share] When I started my writing journey back in 2009, there was nowhere near the amount of free information available online, on blogs, newsletters, books, various groups, forums and boards…as there is now. I would have given my left nut (if I had one!) to be able to have so much amazing free information at my fingertips the way we do now. It’s astounding!

The downside? Information overload. Where does a writer start? Many writers get stuck in analysis paralysis: so much to do, they do nothing at all. So much to learn, they sit in the corner sorting Legos. Hey, I’ve been there myself!

I also realize many writers are doing all of this themselves, without the help of a publisher or agent (just as I did), or any kind of real budget, so hiring me for one-on-one consulting, to take advantage of my own publishing and marketing background isn’t feasible — ergo, the free chats.

Keep in mind: free doesn’t mean low-value. These chats are packed with practical, usable information!

The hard truth is, marketing is crucial to success. Nobody will read a book they can’t find.

Yes, you have to be a great writer. Yes, you need to work with a professional editor and proofreader. Yes, you must have a great cover. All those pieces must be in place before you ever get to marketing (though to be honest, you need to be working on your pre-marketing simultaneously). Marketing and writing aren’t separate paths, either/or, black and white. It’s all, pardon the cliché, shades of gray.

Please, take advantage of this free information. Steal from me. Use these ideas from me, these many experts, and others who attend the chats and share their experiences. That’s why it’s all FREE! It has worked for me for all four of my books (all number one Amazon bestsellers and multi-award winners), it works for my many clients (from indie authors to New York Times bestsellers), and it works for the multiple authors I directed during the eighteen months of the now-defunct Gravity Imprint of Booktrope Publishing.

As long as they did the work. 

How To Succeed as an Author? The Secret You Already Know, authors, Rachel Thompson, BadRedheadMedia, Authors

Authors Willing To Succeed: Do the Work

The writers, authors, and bloggers who attend my chats regularly come prepared, pay attention to the multiple prep tweets and Facebook shares I post with each week’s topic, and know exactly what their questions are. They want to know how to put into practice what they learn each week and if they’re confused, they follow up.

My co-host, Melissa Flickinger, puts the Storify summary up on both the Twitter and Facebook usually within the hour, and I pin it to the top of each timeline. These authors will check the summary, check all the links and screenshots, study them like a student in class, and figure out how to make a particular channel work for them. If they’re confused, they follow up and ask us questions, which is great!

It’s wonderful to see tweets and messages from authors who tell us they have learned so much, or that their Twitter following has increased exponentially, or that their Facebook page is already getting more likes and engagement, just from the chat tips we’ve done.

These writers are doing the work. We might not always agree, and that’s okay! Lots of people know more than me and yay — I’m human and I make mistakes, too. I fully admit I’m not the expert on everything — that’s why I bring in experts! Melissa and I have feelers out to all kinds of top people, and many have already guested or committed to being future guests. I’m sharing what I do know, and when I don’t know, I find someone who does. *If you are an expert on a particular social media, branding, publishing, or book marketing topic, please get in touch with us! 

Authors Not Willing To Do The Work

We do get writers on the chats who are immediately negative –” this is too hard, I don’t see how this will help me, it’s stupid.” I’m not sure if it’s a trust issue, but I don’t take it personally because I’ve trained adult learners for half my life.

There are three major stumbling blocks for adult learners (in any industry):

Fear: People are afraid of what they don’t know, so it’s easier to find reasons not to do something than to try it. Change is scary, especially if the culture is foreign or strange (e.g., Twitter).

Laziness: It’s easier to keep doing what you’re already doing, even if it’s not working. I call this ‘The Excuse Habit:’

I can’t do this because…

Well, I’ll try (heavy sigh) but…

I tried once a long time ago, but…

The lazy writer will find any and every excuse not to do {whatever}, even if it will increase readership, build relationships, and ultimately, increase sales.

Go do this right now: ask a writer (or self-check) if they have a subscriber list, a newsletter, or a street team. Eighty percent will tell you absolutely not — and for no other reason than…it’s a lot of work.

Entitlement: Some authors find fault in some of the topics we present because they don’t immediately see how it benefits them — which I get. Most people want to know WIIFM (what’s in it for me). That’s the nature of humanity. That’s not the issue. What is the issue is that before our experts can even start presenting their information, someone will become impatient: if you don’t show me the benefit for me right away, I’m out.

(Peace out, friends.)

For example, a few weeks ago, we spent an hour discussing Medium, a reading platform created by the Twitter guys, which I love. I’ve made terrific connections there with, gasp, readers! A few writers expressed it wasn’t worth their time as a selling platform (without trying it first, mind you), and you know what? They’re absolutely right. Making connections, talking and interacting with targeted readers in my demographic — who would want to do that???

The Author Disconnect

As always, this is the chasm where the disconnect occurs between writers who will do well, and writers who won’t: building relationships and connections versus the ineffective, low-quality quick and dirty sell. I’m here to tell you: there’s no way around doing the work. And there needn’t be — the work is what helps you build that deep understanding of your own process, which channels to finding your readers, and flows into finding your groove of authenticity.

If you’re almost someday maybe might going to try to be a writer at some point perhaps, don’t attend these chats. You’re not ready for me to help you, and I’m not sure you ever will be. I don’t say this to be mean, I say this to be realistic. The chat is for marketing a book — and pre-marketing is part of that, of course! But you still need more than a hazy vision — more than, “I hope to be a writer one day.” You need a plan, and you need to start working that plan.

If you have a plan in place and these chats will help you achieve concrete ways to become the writer you know you are capable of becoming, then invest in yourself and attend, ready to learn, and then implement the suggestions that fit your plan.

We want you there.


Join us: How to Succeed as an Author? The Secret you already know by Rachel Thompson,, @RachelintheOC

For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book, The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge now on Amazon!

Already a 5-Star Reader’s Favorite! 

30-Day BadRedhead Media Book Marketing Challenge,, BadRedhead Media, @BadRedheadMedia, Book Marketing






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  1. Carol Hedges on July 3, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I have learned so much stuff from your advice blogs, help series etc. As an ‘oldie’ who sidles up to social media with a worried frown on occasions, it has helped me to strike out and try new things…including starting a Facebook writers’ page in the name of The Curious Victorian. I always feel I am in a safe pair of hands with you…the steps are easy to follow, and I don’t feel pressured to go into areas that aren’t relevant to me. So thank you!!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 9, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thank you, Carol! I’m so glad you find it all easy to follow. Oftentimes, writers will automatically put roadblocks in the way out of fear instead of just jumping in. You’re proof that it can be done and done well! Appreciate you sharing your insights and experience and thank you for the kind feedback.

  2. […] subject of a future #BookMarketingChat, most authors create private street team groups on Facebook where they can add their ARC readers. […]

  3. […] subject of a future #BookMarketingChat, most authors create private street team groups on Facebook where they can add their ARC readers. […]

  4. carolynmcb on July 24, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I found you via a recommendation on Goodreads, and I am relieved, happy and over the moon that I re-read that Goodreads post! I want you to know first off, before I forget, that I love your sense of realistic/tough lessons tinted by humor. (Left nut, lol) Secondly, I have seen related advice similar to yours on the web (where to find your readers for example) but NEVER have I seen that advice make so much sense as yours does! Your wisdom is clear, it is logical and highly understandable.
    You have a new fan here.
    I would totally hire you if I could. However, my fiscal reality is that I can’t. So in the meantime, I’m reading your articles with pen and paper at hand and making notes. I look forward to the wednesday evening chat. Matter of fact, I can’t wait!

    • Rachel Thompson on July 24, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Thank you, Carolyn! For reading and all your kind comments.

      My goal, always, is to provide practical, doable advice based on my own experiences and what works. My book, The 30-day Book Marketing Challenge will be out soon as well, so that will help, too! It will be an affordable option for writers who can’t afford customized consultations. If you haven’t yet, please sign up for my newsletter and if you’d like to be a betareader or member of my private street team, you’ll receive private updates and fun goodies, too!

      • carolynmcb on July 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

        Signed up for your newsletter earlier today! Street team sounds fun.

  5. […] — and expecting — people to market your work for you is lazy marketing. In fact, I’ll say here and now: it’s not marketing at all. It’s like […]

  6. […] Build relationships with readers on social media. This means interact, ask questions, strategically follow readers (not only other writers). Time: Realistically, plan to spend 30-60 minutes daily. […]

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