Happy Authors Embrace Personal Responsibility

Publish date:

By Rob Eagar

As humans, we were created to be responsible individuals. We know this is true, because we're usually happiest when we have responsibility and take care of it, such as handling our job well or being a loving parent. In contrast, irresponsibility usually leads to blame, which leads to conflict by blaming others or blaming ourselves. Where there's blame, there's shame. And, shame shuts people down in addition to destroying their future. Thus, a person will never reach his or her full potential by shirking responsibility. Excusing and blaming is like running in place - you wind up exhausted and you've gone nowhere.

This universal principle applies to you and me as authors. How? Responsible authors realize that the success of their books lies primarily in their own hands, rather than in their publisher, agent, or publicist. For instance, irresponsible authors tend to blame their publishers for low book sales. Similarly, these authors don't stay up-to-date on new trends or technology that can help market their books. They view the problems they face as everyone else's fault.

Avoid falling into the mental trap of blaming others. You will be a happier author if you take responsibility for your own book sales and platform growth. Try looking at your writing career as the responsibility to help other people, regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction. Are you holding yourself accountable to teach, inspire, and satisfy your readers?

If you're dissatisfied with your book sales, listen to any blame talk that's running through your thoughts. Be honest and identify how much of the problem is attributed to you. Then, make a conscious effort to take ownership for your part of the issue and take responsibility for making progress. You’ll be happy you did.

About the Author

Image placeholder title

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in June, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com


FightWrite™: Crime Fiction and Violence

Author and trained fighter Carla Hoch answers a writer's question about writing from the perspective of criminals and when best to utilize a fight.

Poetic Forms

Sedoka: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the sedoka, a 6-line question and answer Japanese form.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dream Sequence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your characters dream a little dream.

WD Vintage_Armour 12:03

Vintage WD: Don't Hide Your Light Verse Under a Bushel

In this article from 1960, poet and author Richard Armour explores the importance of light verse and gives helpful hints to the hopeful poet.


Tessa Arlen: On Polite Editorial Tussles and Unraveling Mysteries

In this article, author Tessa Arlen explains how to navigate the differences between American and English audiences and create a realistic historical mystery.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 547

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a lazy poem.


Denise Williams: Romance, Healing, and Learning to Love Revisions

Author Denise Williams recounts her experience with writing her first book while learning about the publishing industry and the biggest surprise about novel revisions.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 13th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.