Publish date:

Happy Authors Embrace Personal Responsibility

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:

4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

The kind of research you do can make or break your story's authenticity. Author Blake Sanz offers 4 tips on research for your novels and stories beyond getting the facts right.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Annual Writing Competition Early-Bird Deadline, Seven WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce the Annual Writing Competition early-bird deadline, seven WDU courses starting this week, and more!

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

Small but mighty, picture books help raise children into lifelong readers. Children's book author Diana Murray offers 3 big tips for writing a picture book like a pro.

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

Lessons in writing can come from various forms of art or entertainment. Author Alverne Ball shares 5 things he learned about writing from watching soap operas.

From Script

Writing from an Intimate Point of View and Adding Essential Elements to Solidify Your Screenplay (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, TV writer Kate Sargeant shares a first-hand look on her new digital series that was a life-changing experience. Plus an interview with filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, a new installment from ‘Ask the Coach’ and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice but Never Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice (but Never Writing)

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is to collect writing advice at the expense of actually writing.

The Benefits of a Book Coach for Writers

The Benefits of Having a Book Coach for Writers

What is a book coach? How could they help authors? Award-winning author and writing instructor Mark Spencer answers these questions and more in this post about the benefits of having a book coach for writers.

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Award-winning author Clare Chambers discusses the fear and excitement of switching genre gears in her new historical fiction novel, Small Pleasures.

Poetic Forms

Exquisite Corpse: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver), a collaborative poem that would make a fun poetic game.