4 Ways to Move Beyond Discouragement in Your Author Career

Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we focus having a successful author career from the business and strategic perspectives. This week I have another guest post from Matthew Ashdown, Book Promotion Specialist with FriesenPress. FriesenPress is a fee-for-service self-publisher. Matthew offers 4 useful tools that we can use to overcome being discouraged during our author career. Read on!


Many self-published authors will move full steam ahead on their marketing path in the first three months after their book is released, with their passion and enthusiasm stoking the fires of their engine. But after this initial period they inevitably start to find themselves slowing down, not selling as much, and it is here that many become discouraged. This is common once we have exhausted our inner circle’s support, and the honeymoon period is over. But how we meet discouraging events is critical in our willingness to go on.

Three years ago, I had a publishing contract with a major publishing company. I was set for book tours for the next couple of years, while my business partner and I were set to speak in front of a large audience of 10,000 people alongside one of our icons. It all came crashing down, though, just before we were set to go to print, and our contract was retracted by the publisher. Our dream seemed to slip away from our grasp. The next two years were a great challenge, but in time I was able to realize that while it lasted, that opportunity was probably one of the greatest gifts in my life. This gift helped me remember what really makes me happy and while it also brought me to writing, which truly means something to me.

In this post, I want to share how you can move beyond the discouragement that comes along the path to success.

These are things that kept me going when the future seemed bleak and little was happening.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” –Dale Carnegie

1) Just because you have a low number of retweets or comments does not mean that people are not reading your blog. Many authors get discouraged because they are not seeing interaction on their blog page or hearing from readers. It does not mean that people are not talking about you. With time, you can learn ways to enhance interaction on your blogs and social media pages, but you may still have people talking about you in coffee shops. Keep writing, keep posting on social media sites, and keep doing your best to improve your skills in marketing through learning from the leaders.

2) When things don’t seem to be going well, there is always gold waiting to be mined. There is a gift within the situation. The gift could be as simple as knowing who not to market to. Or it could be as great a gift as knowing that you have chosen to do something that is not what you wanted to do. When I lost my publishing contract I was in the process of launching a self-help book. The novel that I am currently working on brings me far more joy in my daily life. It took time, but I was able to find the gift. We can either beat ourselves up, or forgive ourselves and ask, “What is the gift in this situation?” Ask that question daily until you find the gift — it is there, I promise.

3) Focus on Performance Related Goals (PRGs) instead of Outcome Related Goals (ORGs). ORGs are goals such as the number of books you sell, or being on the New York Times Bestseller list. PRGS are ones such as how many press releases you will send out each day, how many phone calls you will make, or how many book signings you will set up. You have much more control over these goals. By studying sales, and learning how to persuade people (two more examples of PRGs) then you will be able to sell better while focusing on what really counts – the little things.

4) Most people give up just before the moment of success because there is some lifetime fear that is about to be conquered. When you stay focused on your “why” — the reason you published your book in the first place — then you can find the inspiration to challenge any fear. Fear becomes “Feeling Excited And Ready”. Take some time to write out your motivations and your “why” that made you decide to write and publish in the first place. Maybe there is a generation of children that need the wisdom you offer, or perhaps the money you make from writing your book will be to support a worthy cause. Print off a copy of your “why,” and keep it close at hand. In those moments when you are feeling discouraged, bring out that statement and read it aloud to yourself.

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.” –James Whitcomb Riley

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  • Beth and Matthew, thanks for this helpful and encouraging post. Sometimes people reply to me by email rather than making a comment on my blog. I suppose they are not comfortable in that venue, but at least I know they read the blog.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Barbara, You’re welcome! Glad you found the post helpful and encouraging. It is nice to know that people have read your blog and then email you privately. I appreciate that you commented publicly!

  • I am glad that it helped Barbara. You are right, not everyone replies on the page. Very often I will be walking about town and someone will mention it, or I receive emails or through facebook and twitter. The important thing is that I keep trucking on and producing and thanking everyone, however they comment. What we appreciate, appreciates, and that includes feedback!

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