Writing is Easy; Being an Author is Hard

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Can I break your heart early and save you some future trauma (and money?) There is no easy button. All across the internet and social media you will see ads, stories, and articles about how to get 10,000 followers in ten days or how you can launch a bestseller over a weekend as an unknown talent.

Those are crap articles.

You have a greater likelihood of winning the lottery than finding success with those scam “internet courses”. Here’s why: you have to buy a ticket to play the lottery. There is some kind of minimum-level threshold for involvement in the lotto system. A special course that gets you crazy results circumvents that normal system. What the regular publishing system requires is hard work, diligence, and time. Those crap articles promise you’ll win the lottery if you buy a bushel of oranges… it’s convenient for them that they happen to be orange vendors, isn’t it?

A lot of those jackwagons selling courses these days are simply passing off info they gleaned from someone else (or maybe paid for) in order to try and push that forward at their profit. It kinda reminds me of the Rainbow and Kirby vacuum cleaner sales folks of the past few decades. Eventually, we will have such a glut of “course instructors” online that they burst the bubble and then only the good ones will remain (I have 2 or 3 I would trust, but that’s about it). We’re at an unstable number now, I think, which means supply will outpace demand, prices will drop (and probably quality) to stay competitive, and then the bottom will fall out.

The thing about writing is that it takes time. It takes effort, energy, and attention. It’s not much different on the platform building side, too. We live in a social media age that champions attention and connection above all else… shot-gunning spam into the internet or building a simple website and leaving it doesn’t work anymore. People expect more—they want a connection and to be pursued by someone offering value.

I think mature readers (those in the best position to buy your book and engage with you as an author) are kind of like middle-aged divorcees: they’ve had something decent in the past so they know what they want, they’re tired of isolation and are looking for something with substance and staying power, and they’ve probably put all their one-night stands behind them and are looking for something real that can take them forward with stability. If your book is subpar in any way it will look like a fixer-upper mate… if it looks really good but the groundwork isn’t there (poor platform, no reviews, questionable future/might not keep writing or complete a series) you will come off as a pickup artist or a Fu@#-Boy.

It sucks to see others who seem to do less work and have greater success. It makes a writer tempted to try one of those courses promising the world—maybe you’ll be the break-out exception! Can I level with you? Those other authors experiencing sudden success have probably been doing work beneath the surface for a while you can’t see, or have been plowing the ground for longer and certain leads are starting to finally come in—or more likely—they aren’t having as much success as you think they are having. Our perception is largely comparative and often emotions-based. We rarely see reality for what it is; we see reality for how we feel.

I often say it, but our greatest frustrations are born from reality not meeting our expectations. Do the hard work; put in the time. Above all, keep your expectations grounded in reality and understand that the back-end of being an author (promotion, selling, platform building, etc.) is all plowing uphill. If you really want your field to produce something you will have to do the work.

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