No More B.S. About What It Takes To Be a Successful Writer

“You too can be a bestseller, just follow these simple steps!”

Ugh, I get queazy when I hear things like that. In the world of writing and publishing, too often, people are selling dreams. They over-promise; they present a tactic that worked once for someone, and pretend it is an easy replicatable system; they play on our fears and our dreams. For many, the process of “getting published” is about validation, and it doesn’t take a marketing genius to manipulate such a deep-seated human need.

This is bullshit.

I spend my days with writers, and have spend my entire life pursuing creative endeavors, from writing, to art, to photography, to music, and more. The truth is this:

  • It is difficult to create.
  • It is difficult to publish & share.
  • It is difficult to find an audience.
  • It is difficult to align all of this to revenue and income.

There, I said it. And I don’t just mean technologically difficult or skill-driven difficult, but EMOTIONALLY difficult. Now, before you break out the Kleenex, there is a lot of good news:

  • It is easier to create now than it ever has been before.
  • It is easier to publish & share than it ever has been before.
  • It is easier to find and engage an audience than it ever has been before.
  • It is easier to earn revenue and income from your creative work than it ever has been before.

I am the luckiest person in the world to know so many AMAZING folks within the writing and publishing worlds. People who – day to day – devote their time to helping great work spread. They are in publishing houses, in libraries, in bookstores, in literary agencies, in book clubs, in organizations, on social media, at their desks writing, and always: reading, reading, reading.

These people do not wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to publishing. They sort of operate in a constant balance between two states:

  • The total belief in the magic of words, of story, of how a book can reshape someone’s life.
  • They long ago became jaded by the story of publishing as a lottery ticket: where you are just moments away from instant stardom and bestseller-hood. They have a no B.S. approach to what it means to write, to publish, to get read. It’s work. The rewards don’t come easy. (but it’s worth it.)

So when I decided to hold a conference for writers, I immediately viewed it as a party whereby I would invite all of these amazing folks I know in the publishing and writing world as advisors and speakers. These are the realists, the dreamers, the pragmatists, the fans, the ranting raving speak-their-mind-ers, the people who do it because they love it, because they can’t NOT do it.

On November 13th and 14th, I am holding that party, and you are invited. It is called Get Read: Marketing Strategies for Writers, an online conference where you attend from wherever you are. Everything takes place online, you hear and engage with the speakers via online video and text chat during those two days.

The list of advisors and speakers so far is INCREDIBLE:

Jason Allen Ashlock is the president of Movable Type Management, which manages more than 100 authors. You can find Jason at and on Twitter at @jasonashlock.



Claire Cook is the bestselling author of 10 novels, including Must Love Dogs, which was adapted into a film starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. You can find Claire at and on Twitter at @clairecookwrite.



Elizabeth S. Craig is the author of more than 10 novels, including the BBQ mysteries series, Southern Quilting mysteries series and the Myrtle Clover mysteries series. You can find Elizabeth at and on Twitter at @ElizabethSCraig.



Stephanie Anderson is the Head of Reader Services at Darien Library, and Manager Emeritus of WORD bookstore. You can find Stephanie at and on Twitter at @bookavore.



Betsy Bird is a children’s book author, librarian, and review. You can find Betsy at, and on Twitter at @fuseeight.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is a poet and Director, Content Strategy & Audience Development for Media Source, Inc.’s Library Journals, LLC, and was the founding Director of Programming & Business Development for Digital Book World. You can find Guy at and on Twitter at @GLeCharles



Ami Greko is a book marketing strategist at Goodreads, and the founder of Book Camp NYC, and unconference for publishing folks. You can find Ami at and on Twitter at @Ami_With_An_I



Rachel is a writer and in charge of literary and nonprofit outreach at Tumblr. She is the co-creator of Six-Word Memoirs and co-editor of the New York Times Bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning and three other books. She is also the former public programming director at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. You can find Rachel at and on Twitter at @RachelFersh.



Richard Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur – VP of Community and Content of Small Demons, founder of Cursor, and Publisher of Red Lemonade. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press. You can find Richard at and on Twitter at @R_Nash.



Jenn Northington is an indie bookseller & event manager for Word Bookstores, and the co-founder of the Bookrageous podcast. You can find Jenn at and on Twitter at @JennIRL.



Kate Rados is the Director of Community Development at Crown Publishing. You can find Kate on Twitter at @KateRados.



M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of 13 novels, as well as the creator of You can find M.J. at and on Twitter at @mjrose.



Rebecca Schinsky is the senior editor at and, as well as the founder of Bookrageous. You can find Rebecca at and on Twitter at @RebeccaSchinsky.



Therese Walsh is an author and co-founder of You can find Therese at and on Twitter at @ThereseWalsh.



Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, as well as frequent blogger. You can find Chuck at and on Twitter at @ChuckWendig.



I will be announcing more speakers and information on the event soon. If you are interested in attending, I am offering an early-bird discount through this Friday. Find out more about the event, and register here.