Here Is the Secret to Being a Successful Writer

Regardless of how you publish your books, articles, or blog posts, the secret to being a successful writer is not anything pie in the sky or full of inspirational goo-gah. (Besides, I’m not the kind of person to spray glittery sunshine up your you know what, so here’s the real deal.)

Here’s the big secret. Ready? Grab your pens.

Don’t Be Lazy.

That’s it. Let me deconstruct this a bit. Pull up a chair.

Make It Happen

You. Yes, you. Stop looking around.

I’ve worked with writers in all kinds of ways since hmmm, gosh, 2009-ish. Ten years of observing that unique species of human we refer to as, writer. I’m a writer myself (six books released so far , been in a few anthologies, two new books on deck for this year), so I fully comprehend the challenges of balancing writing, marketing, the day job, real life, chronic pain, mental health, and single parenting.

Completely and totally get it.

There isn’t room in any of those roles to be lazy if we’re being #TruthBomb honest here. Yet, in my ten years of working directly with writers, I can count on one hand the writers who are get-out-of-my-way go-getters.

Not the kind who will eat you for lunch with some fava beans and a nice chianti. I mean those who actively set aside time for writing AND marketing AND promoting strategically — not creepy, spammy, ‘must take a shower after seeing this’ ways. Nope, I mean those who treat their publishing career as a business, not a hobby where they lollygag around on social media arguing politics or talking about writing their book, then hope and pray someone eventually buys it.

Here Is The Secret To Being A Successful Writer by @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #writer #success #secret

In fact, I so related to that panicky, ‘Where do I even start?” feeling I experienced with my first book back in 2012, that I created an entire month last year (year two is happening right now! and every May going forward if I decide to continue this exhaustive effort) where I’ve wrangled publishing experts this entire month of May to generously donate books, guides, and consultations, and yet shockingly (she says not shocked), few writers are taking advantage of it.*

When I speak with them as to why not, several have told me they know about it but don’t want to participate because then they’ll HAVE to work on their writing and marketing.

This baffles me. And yet, nah, it doesn’t.

Lazy Writer Syndrome

It’s a thing, right? We all get it. I get it, too.

It’s not that I’m not writing. I’m here, aren’t I? I also write for my own author blog ( as well as on Medium, which are important parts of my author marketing and business marketing. I have those two manuscripts mentioned above on my desktop: one is in edits, and the other is in draft. I also keep a journal, a planner, and a book just for creative notes and ideas.

So, yea, I’m writing. Yet sometimes it feels like I’m not writing writing.

Am I accomplishing stuff? Am I climbing the mountain? Well, yea. Kinda.

It feels like this: it’s a big mountain, full of mud. It’s raining. Hard. I’m carrying this heavy weight. But I’ve got this! It’s just that some days it’s just…so exhausting. Or I have a migraine. Or I’m running my kids around (single mom). Or I’ve got client deadlines (solopreneur).

So, I set the weight down and make camp. For a little while. To rest and recuperate. And then get back out there when I’ve got my wind back.

That’s okay. I’m getting there. We’re all getting there (wherever the hell there is).

(Maybe lazy doesn’t describe me. I am a Capricorn, after all.)

Are You a Lazy Writer?

These are the hard questions you have to ask yourself:

  • What am I doing to move my writing career forward?
  • What am I not doing?
  • What actions am I taking to build relationships with readers?
  • How can I learn more about how to market my work?
  • How am I standing in my own way?

Creating an author platform is not a choice in today’s market. It’s not an option. At least, not if you want to sell books and be taken seriously by not only readers but also other writers, book bloggers, and book reviewers (as well as agents and publishers, if you go that route, or plan to). Many writers refuse to treat their writing like a business — they think if they can just sign with a traditional publisher, and then that publisher will swoop in and do all that work for them.

If only.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I deal with many stumbling blocks: anxiety, depression, chronic pain. There are days where all I can do is the bare minimum for my business, kiss my kids, and that’s it. And that’s okay. Big fan of The Four Agreements: always do your best, and if your best is just getting out of bed that day, okay. I Scarlett O’Hara that bitch: tomorrow is another day.

Please understand, I work with many different types of people and recognize there are completely legit reasons many writers are physically unable to attend to ‘doing it all,’ and that’s okay. You don’t have to. Know your limits. If you can only do a little, do that. The point here is, do something to move your writing career along if it’s important enough to you to do so. 

In my business, many of my clients are traditionally published. Big 5 even. They hire me to do their social media and book marketing because no publisher does that for them. It’s on you, writer friends. Start early, share often. Learn author branding (we brand the author, not the book).

You don’t need to hire someone to do this marketing stuff for you. You learned how to write. You can learn how to market.

The other big secret I’ll share with you is this: book marketing isn’t about spamming your book links with everybody (that’s desperation). It’s about building relationships with readers early on.

I do a free weekly chat on my @BadRedheadMedia business Twitter, #BookMarketingChat, every Wednesday, 6 pm pst, 9 pm est. Every week for the last 4 years, I share my time and/or recruit an expert in publishing and marketing to share their expertise with you, the writing community.

Invariably, someone says, “Yea, I should do that,” or “I’ll give that a try.”

“Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda

Writing is great. Publishing is a business. Treat it like one.



I’m giving away 10 eBook copies of my award-winning, bestselling BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge. Are you confused about how to set up your author platform? This the book for you!

Here Is The Secret To Being A Successful Writer by @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #writer #success #secret

Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!

All comments must be left prior to midnight on Friday, May 31st, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Saturday, June 1st.

Good luck!


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!
Readers’ Favorite Silver Award Winner! 

Get this book NOW on Amazon

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Get On That, Would Ya?


  1. Jena on May 31, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Thanks Rachel for another great month! Just what I needed to stay energized. I’ve enjoyed reading posts by writers I know and and it’s also been great getting to know new pros. Onward!

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      Wonderful, Jena! So glad to see you here this month and stay in touch. Any questions, you know where I am. 🙂

  2. Ailish Sinclair on May 31, 2019 at 5:25 am

    I don’t need the book as I already bought it! But I just wanted to say thank you for all the amazing advice and information I’ve picked up from you over the years. It has really helped me with platform building and creating a marketing plan. So, thank you

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Thank YOU so much, Ailish, for the support! I’m so happy to be of help to you.

  3. Linda Moran on May 31, 2019 at 7:02 am

    I’m in an existentialist mode right now. Taking all the advice this month – learned a HUGE amount from Blaise Ramsey, and now trying to figure out my next life steps. I say that because my husband is in hospice with an end date that no one knows. I am with him as much as I can be – we have been best friends for nearly 43 years. But I know there is life on the other side, and I need to be thinking about that. This month has been valuable for advice – I am currently working at rebranding myself (Modern Renaissance Woman)to incorporate my varied interests. The next big decision is fiction or non-fiction. I usually believe life is not an either-or proposition, but for now, I need to focus where a potential income stream will be and work toward that. I have been so pleased with this month and all you have done. Everything is saved for future reviews and actions. THank you.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments, Linda, and sharing where you are in your life. I’m sorry about your husband. Such a difficult place to be. Sending you love and support at this difficult time. Your writing career will be here. For now, journaling may be a big help for you (in whatever form works best). More formal writing and marketing can come later. hugs.

  4. Garry Rodgers on May 31, 2019 at 7:17 am

    As Mona Lisa Vito said in “My Cousin Vinny”, this is dead-on, balls-accurate. 🙂

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Garry! (and love that movie). I appreciate, as always, your wonderful support.

  5. Dena Garson on May 31, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Treating my author world as a business is the only reason that I’ve lasted this long. I’m in it for the long haul. But I often wish I had a map to narrow down my marketing directions – or just validate if I’m heading in the right direction. Uuuggg.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      That’s a smart way to view it, Dena. It is a long haul and therefore an investment in yourself. Defining your author branding is a big help in that regard. Once you establish that, you’ll be more clear in your marketing direction. xx

  6. Jennifer Jank on May 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

    I’ve really been enjoying the posts this month – I’ve learned a lot! Though I still have a NF book languishing on Amazon, and I’m working on another. I would love the chance to do book marketing in the right way. Or at least have a direction to go in, because marketing isn’t my strong suit. (Yet!)

    • Rachel Thompson on May 31, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      So glad you learned a lot, Jennifer! Me, too. Book marketing isn’t as difficult as many writers anticipate it to be – it’s more that it takes effort. You can do it! Thanks for participating in #NaNoProMo.

  7. Rebecca Neely on May 31, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Rachel, thank you so much for all your hard work in putting together this month long series of great info, and giveaways I’ve learned so much, met some new people and even won a giveaway. Cool! I missed a few posts along the way but I’ll be going back to them. Truly appreciate your generosity and knowledge.

  8. V. R. Craft on May 31, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    I have tried to get in the habit of writing one page a day, so I at least write something every day. I write more if I can.

  9. Rosey Lee on May 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Great giveaway! I’d love to learn more about building my author platform. Book marketing seems overwhelming, so I’m interested in resources that simplify the process and put me on a schedule.

  10. Steve on September 1, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Thanks Rachel,

    Lots of helpful links here, and a few home truths! Motivating indeed.

    Thanks very much.


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