After the Dumpster Fire of 2016—How to Make 2017 ROCK!

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We are THANK GOD bringing a close to 2016. Though I’ve survived, I feel like I’ve dragged myself out of a Dumpster fire. Is it me or did 2016 actually last three years?

But as Robert H. Schuller once said…

Tough times never last but tough people do.

Many who read this blog desire to be professional authors and that is a great goal and it is attainable but there are some practical realities we need to appreciate. The road to becoming a pro is long and brutal and treacherous and this post is to help you prepare accordingly.

Think of it like this. If you wanted to take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood with your dog and kids, would you pack MREs, gallons of fresh water, portable water filtration systems, tents, sleeping bags and a med kit? Would you hire a personal trainer to get you in pique condition for the journey? Would you hire a team of sherpas?

Likely not…unless you’re my husband but he just wants sherpas.

Conversely, if you wanted to summit Everest, would you just slip on the running shoes and leash the dog? You haven’t exercised since Paris Hilton was cool, but why not? Fresh air in the Himalayas might do you some good, right?

Unless you wanted a lonely frozen death on a mountain? Yeah. Again, NO.

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Yet sadly, a lot of writers fall into the secondary category. They have a dream of scaling one of the toughest goals in the Western World without fully appreciating what is required for such a journey. An idea only gets us so far and if we fail to properly prepare for what we are wanting to do, we are making an already long journey far longer and harder than is necessary.

I don’t think anyone who has ever summited Everest believes it was easy-peasy, but without the right planning, prep and gear it would surely have been impossible.

Unfortunately, I began my journey seventeen years ago with nothing more than BS and glitter and have done my share of falling off the mountain.

*long scream* *bounce bounce OUCH*

So here are some tips to help you with your journey into 2017 and though I am downloading a lot onto you, these fundamentals will make EVERYTHING work better, especially any New Year’s Resolutions…

Guard Your Dream

Often when we get a new shiny dream we are so excited and we want to go tell everyone so they can be super excited too. That is not always a good plan because humans are weird creatures who all have baggage (and not just carry-on).

When I was new, I thought others would be happy for what I wanted to achieve, that they would be supportive and we could do this together! And what I am about to say is going to be very unpopular, but it is unfortunately true.

Most people will settle for less than what they are truly capable of. But, here’s the kicker…

They really don’t want to believe they settled.

***Denial is more than a river in Africa 😉 .

These folks will have all kinds of good reasons they can’t do X, Y and Z and they will honestly believe them. So, when you come bee-bopping along all excited and start showing them they really could do better if they really wanted to? They are going to resent you. Just expect it.

Bear with me….

I want you to think back to every frigging group project you ever had to do in school. Be there. Think about it. Feel the emotions. Let the anger flow through you….

All right.

Now back to your writing dream. Do you really want it to be a group project?

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When I was new, I thought every person who said he/she wanted to be a successful writer really did. I stayed in writing groups for years with people who had no time to do any writing but plenty of time to start a lot of back-stabbing drama.

I kept trying to make it work because I really didn’t want to be alone. Being alone was terrifying. But the more I pressed and the harder I worked, the more pushback there was from those who should have been on my side (YES, even especially FAMILY).

I had to choose between pleasing others or reaching the goal I’d set out to attain.

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The problem with group dynamics is that water will find its level. If we are fortunate enough to find a group with similar aspirations and work ethic, that is wonderful. But make sure you are being honest about who you are surrounding yourself with.

Actions speak louder than words and sometimes, to summit? We need to cut some ropes.

NO Lies

One of the big lies you will hear from people (and maybe even yourself) is the I just can’t find the time lie. Here’s the deal. Time isn’t hiding in the couch cushions with the TV remote. We don’t find time, we make time. People make time for what they find important and if you don’t believe me here is an example.

You drop a buck on a lottery ticket on a whim and win twenty million dollars in the Power Ball. Would you really have to find time to go turn it in and get the cash?

So if you find yourself saying those words, “I can’t find the time” just be honest and say, “It isn’t important to me.”

Being a successful author will require time. The more time we invest, the quicker and the better the payoff. We need time to write, research, train, and build a brand. Compromise any of those and the goal is harder to reach. So be honest with yourself in 2017. If your writing dream is really important, then actions should reflect that.

***Goes for me, too 😉

Time to Write

Image via Drew Coffman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Image via Drew Coffman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We need to write. I have been running writing sprints every weekday morning on my Ning WANATribe for well over a year so that any writer willing to invest the time will get to write alongside me and experience a professional pace. I pay $70 a month out of my own pocket and out of almost 3,000 members, want to know how many regularly show to sprint?

Fewer than ten.

We do sprints 40 minutes at a time all morning every morning (sometimes all day). Even if a person did one sprint a day and only eked out a single page (250 words), that person would have a finished draft in less than a year. And while that seems like a long time to write a book, how many people have been futzing with the same novel for five or more years?

Never underestimate the power of simply showing up.

If our goal is to publish a book in 2017, we have to actually write it. I know. Hard stuff.

Time to Read

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Craig Sunter

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Craig Sunter

Reading is how we hone our skills and learn. I do a lot of editing and one of my biggest complaints with new writers is it is clear they do not read. They beat up a lot of the same words, the same tired descriptions and their dialogue sounds like a bad soap opera. Often I can tell in less than ten pages they have no plot.

But these are the same folks who will claim they have no time to read.

I read about three books a week. No I don’t sit with a nice hard back the way I would prefer. I listen to audio books and it isn’t my preference but it works with all I have to do. I can’t sit and leisurely page through while folding laundry. I can, however, listen to an audio book and with Kindle Unlimited and an Audible membership I can afford my habit.

No, not all writers are plotters, but I will be blunt. Pansters really are plotters but the reason they can get away with not sitting and outlining is they literally have read so many books that structure is hardwired into their brains and they can navigate a 60,000-110,000 word story intuitively.

Successful pantsers are extremely well read (plotters too but pantsers even more so).

If we don’t spend time reading, we will probably spend way more time with crappy drafts. Most people are not born writing savants. Stephen King didn’t become Stephen King without reading fiction and using others to refine his craft.

Time With Pros

Reading is our time with pros. We can see how J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman or whatever writing hero we have executed plot, character, tension, pacing, etc. We can also take classes or read books to shorten the learning curve instead of spending far more time figuring it out on our own.

You can spend ten years and three bad books figuring out all the intricacies of how to plot or take my class and get ten years of MY work in an hour.

Feel free to blog unsuccessfully for a couple years OR take one of my classes and I already did the hard work for you.

The thing is, you will spend time but there is a choice on how you spend it 😉 .

****New classes are listed below.

Time to Brand and Build a Platform

Lots of writers want to whine about social media and that it is too hard and it takes too much time. All right. But discoverability is an absolute nightmare and most people are not buying books at bookstores namely because bookstores are getting about as rare as unicorn tears. Of the remaining point of sale outlets only a small fraction of titles are available and for only short periods of time.

You really think Costco is going to let titles sit on their ONE table long enough to cultivate readers? No. They are only stocking authors who already cultivated readers. They are going for proven sellers and even those guys have a brief shelf life.

Barnes & Noble is dedicating more and more shelves for knick-knacks, toys, music and gadgets because they have a higher profitability. B&N, to me, has become less and less of a bookstore and more and more The Borg—a haphazard compilation of all the businesses their predatory behavior rendered extinct.

Just cobble a coffee shop a toy store a music store and a Hallmark together and sprinkle on some books and VOILA!

B&N 2.0.

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I know. Reality sucks. Reality dictates I can’t live on pizza and Ding-Dongs and be skinny. Reality dictates I can’t pay my power bill with my looks. When it comes to being a writer? Reality dictates we build a brand capable of driving sales and the brutal truth is this was ALWAYS the truth even before social media.

Go to any used bookstore and whose books do you really see? I mean REALLY see? Authors with multiple multiple titles. Don’t believe me? Blindfold yourself and spin around three times and see how many steps it takes to hit a James Patterson, Stephen King or Nora Roberts book.

In the olden days before social media, that was how an author became a household name. They wrote a crap ton of books.

Frankly? This is still how it is done, though social media and blogging can make name recognition that drives sales happen far sooner and with fewer titles. But branding and social media has to be done in an effective way.

There are no shortcuts. Book spam is NOT branding. Friending people on FB and spamming their wall is NOT branding. Blogging about your own book is NOT branding. Ranting about politics nonstop like a pit bull with Tourettes is NOT branding.

Well, it is. Kind of. It’s called negative branding and it is guaranteed to make people avoid us more than a Jehovah’s Witness who just joined Amway.

And I know the new trend is to buy into these services that promise newsletter nirvana but read my lips…

Without a brand it is only spam.

Authors who are successful with ads, Bookbub, newsletters, etc. are successful because they first took time to cultivate the audience.

They built a foundation with either multiple books and or meaningful social media branding. We skip that step at our own peril.

Trust me. I’ve been through all the fads. I was on Gather in 2004 when I first realized social media branding would eventually be crucial for authors. I was laughed at by agents and editors and tarred and feathered by traditional authors for years.

So I did something about it.

I very literally wrote the book on social media branding for authors, and I have stood the test of time through all the “experts” who’ve offered shortcuts. I withstood the 99 Cent Book Blizzard of 2010, the Free Book Free For All of 2011. The Triberr Tsunami of 2013, the Algorithm Alchemy of 2012-2013, the Automation Avalanche of 2013-2014 and on and on and on.

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So back to newsletters….

I’ve seen all the hype.

Forget Facebook! No blogging! No time required! Social media no longer works! A big newsletter mailing list is the ticket to fame and fortune! Build that list! We can HELP!

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No.

Just….stop.

Unsolicited offers from authors we don’t know? It’s called spam. Do newsletters work? YES. But only with a solid foundation. Without that? Mass numbers and blind luck.

So all of this goes back to my point to guard our time. Quick fixes are never quick so we buy into the Social Media Shake Weight at our own risk 😉 .

Make 2017 count and just ignore the fads. Consistent meaningful effort in small doses over time is far more effective than anything some guru will sell you. Need a manual? Pick up a copy of Rise of the Machines

My methods have literally sold tens of millions of books and even launched unpubbed newbies to NYT status. My methods aren’t fancy but they do work and they work on any social platform in any given year because my approach is not based on technology or gimmick or trickery. My approach is based on humans and humans don’t change.

I have zero interest in turning you guys into high-pressure salespeople or mega-marketers. Just be YOU and still have time to write.

Honest.

And yeah yeah I am promoting my book and classes. But I’ve also written over a thousand blogs and spent almost $6,000 of my own money maintaining WANATribe with NO fees and no ads, so I think it is safe to say I want to help you guys succeed 😀 .

So there you go! All you need to rock 2017. Guard your dreams and guard your time. Success is simple but it isn’t easy. We must spend time but if we spend it well and consistently, rewards are there.

What are your thoughts? Have you been bad about guarding your dreams? Have you allowed toxic friends, family, writing groups to drag you down? Do you get overwhelmed and forget that small actions do add up? Are you going to MAKE time in 2017?

I love hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of DECEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

November’s winner of my 20 page critique is Nancy Segovia. THANK YOU for being such an awesome supporter of this blog and its guests. Please send your 5000 word Word document (double-spaced, Times New Roman Font 12 point) to kristen@wana intl dot com.

Check out the Upcoming Classes

Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! 

All you need is an internet connection!

NEW!!!! APPROVED USE FOR CHRISTMAS MONEY!!!!

Branding Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE social media classes, ONE low price. Only $99. It is literally getting one class for FREE!!!! 

Craft Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE craft classes, ONE low price. Only $89. One class is FREE!!!! Includes my new class The Art of Character.

Individual Classes with MOI!

Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS January 6th

Plotting for Dummies January 7th, 2017

When your Name Alone Can SELL—Branding for Authors January 13th, 2017

Social Media for Authors January 14th, 2017

NEW CLASS!!!! The Art of Character January 27th, 2017

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by Jan M. Flynn on December 29, 2016 - 12:28 pm

    After the haze of the holidays (or smoke from the 2016 dumpster fire), your post is the clear, fresh, bucket-of-water-in-the-face I didn’t even know I needed. But I am feeling my writing spine straighten up and my ambition & resolve reforming out of the Christmas pudding they’d become for a couple of weeks. I do love your admonition that consistent, reasonably-portioned effort adds up and there are no quick fixes. So on I go, to 2017 and beyond! Thank you, Kristen!

  2. #2 by Dido's Desolate Domain on December 29, 2016 - 12:33 pm

    Excellent post as usual, Kristen. Family and other problems have REALLY dragged me down in 2016, so I’m looking forward to kicking some ass in 2017.

  3. #3 by Dido's Desolate Domain on December 29, 2016 - 12:34 pm

    Reblogged this on ichbinmeisterin and commented:
    Kristen Lamb’s simple, no-nonsense advice for writers looking to bust a sweat in 2017. Very well worth reading.

  4. #4 by Lenore Brashear on December 29, 2016 - 12:34 pm

    Will your “Rise of the Machines” assist with setting up a blog? I have been looking at what is on the internet and I don’t understand a word they are saying but it seems that it all costs. I thought blogs were free. I had a website about 4 years ago, until my husband trashed it and Microsoft cut me off. How, or can, I get it back? It was with WordPress, do I contact them or Microsoft. It seems that one cannot get to Microsoft to ask questions like how do I get it back. Maybe best to forget what is gone and start afresh. Thanks, Lenore

  5. #5 by Jessica Knauss on December 29, 2016 - 12:36 pm

    Thanks especially for that observation about pantsers—I never realized that before, but it’s totally correct! You rock.

    • #6 by chrissaper on December 29, 2016 - 1:33 pm

      Hi Kristen, I’m happy to look to your blog ( as soon as I get to my computer,) but the only blog I have at the moment is my painting blog. Painting is a lot like writing, I just can’t decide which one is messier. Sigh.

  6. #7 by Icy Sedgwick on December 29, 2016 - 12:44 pm

    I need a pair of pom-poms for the number of times I’ve gone “KRISTEN LAMB SAYS BLOGGING IS ESSENTIAL FOR AUTHORS, YOU DOLT!” No, seriously. I bought into the whole email list shebang, and I paid a lot of money for a particular course. I tried the ‘tried and tested method’ and barely anyone downloaded my free book, meaning very few people then came to my site to sign up and get the other free book. But you know who did come to my site and sign up for the book? The people who enjoy reading my blog posts! Wouldn’t have been possible without my blog 😀

    So yeah. 2017 will be my “I am a Kristen Lamb Evangelist!” year.

  7. #8 by Diana Staresinic-Deane on December 29, 2016 - 12:53 pm

    No, not all writers are plotters, but I will be blunt. Pansters really are plotters but the reason they can get away with not sitting and outlining is they literally have read so many books that structure is hardwired into their brains and they can navigate a 60,000-110,000 word story intuitively.

    I am fascinated by this observation. I’m also a big reader (not 3 books a week, but I will finish 90 books this year thanks to audio, print, e-books), and your observation concisely explains my why I’ve always had an intuitive sense of structure (and can feel when something I’m writing or reading is going out into the weeds).

    Thanks for the pep talk. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who has struggled with a lot of these issues, but it’s even more comforting to be reminded that I am empowered to make choices to drive around/plow through them.

  8. #9 by Janice C. Johnson on December 29, 2016 - 1:18 pm

    Thank you for another lovingly dealt kick in the pants! 2017, here I come!!

  9. #10 by Jana on December 29, 2016 - 1:22 pm

    I appreciate your straight – shooting approach. You’re an inspiration! I’m hope to win the December critique.

  10. #11 by gabe on December 29, 2016 - 1:27 pm

    Thank you for validating my own goals to keep it simple, stupid (kiss). Read, write, repeat. I feel less lonely and more motivated than ever. No one said it would be easy, but your blog sure helps.

  11. #12 by foguth on December 29, 2016 - 1:33 pm

    Kristen, as always, you share excellent, no-nonscense advice. Great blog!
    I also agree that 2016 seemed like a very long year.
    Hope 2017 is your best year, yet!

  12. #13 by Yvonne M. Conde on December 29, 2016 - 1:40 pm

    Your comment about the backstabbing and drama in writing groups hit home. A choice between loneliness or a stitch-requiring wound between near my spinal cord should have been a no-brainer. Yet, I persisted until I realized what I was doing.
    Thank you for bringing this to others’ attention.

  13. #14 by Joe Owens on December 29, 2016 - 1:55 pm

    Oh Kristen you always bring the smiles with your humor. I could just see an animated little Kristen figure falling from the mountain. I am eyeing this mountain called getting my work published and I keep reading your tips and posts to gather every bit of knowledge I can. PLEASE< PLEASE< PLEASE keep it coming!

  14. #15 by Rick Amitin on December 29, 2016 - 2:13 pm

    Never a question about passion with you, Kristen. You are great for keeping one on their toes!

  15. #16 by ellenchauvet on December 29, 2016 - 2:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire and commented:
    Thank you Kristen for validating the time I’ve been spending in developing a brand. I also acknowledge my publisher, Relentlessly Creative Books, as she has guided and continues to guide me through the myriad of offers and schemes that come our way and kept our focus pure and simple. Kristen, you are a gift.

  16. #17 by annaerishkigal on December 29, 2016 - 3:17 pm

    I’m adding ‘read more’ to my 2017 resolutions. 2016 is the year I’ve begun to unplug from the world. No more fake news. Avoid political hate-mongering and political correctness like the plague. No more author groups except a really small select few. Unplug from all the group moderation and volunteer projects I took on in the misguided hope of finding fellow worker-bees or finding more readers. And just … write. More. Write … more … stuff.

    I read a post someplace, I can’t remember where, which referred to building up our backlist as ‘asset creation.’ That’s how we need to treat this business of writing. Each book we create is an asset which will last long beyond our deaths.

  17. #18 by Kim Wuescher on December 29, 2016 - 4:01 pm

    I’m inspired. I’m going to dig out my copy of Rise of the Machines and follow the advice.

  18. #19 by kdrose1 on December 29, 2016 - 4:16 pm

    Reblogged this on authorkdrose.

  19. #20 by Chris Saper on December 29, 2016 - 4:28 pm

    OK! Here you go, a link from my blog to yours:)

  20. #21 by finnegandaley on December 29, 2016 - 4:34 pm

    Awesome post, high energy. That chart in the middle rules by the way…

  21. #22 by Pamela Poole on December 29, 2016 - 5:19 pm

    Finally! I wndered I was all alone in recognizing the newsletter fad. Thank you, Kristin, for confirming my convictions in this blog as I map out my plans for 2017. You are a breath of fresh air. Best wishes for your New Year!

  22. #23 by corriegarrett on December 29, 2016 - 5:19 pm

    So helpful! I’ve finally moved past the “finding time” lie to write several novels, but I’ve been floundering around on kboards and other helpful forums, still unsure where to go or what to do next. (Besides write, obviously!) Thanks for your tips!

  23. #24 by Kathy on December 29, 2016 - 5:27 pm

    Coincidence or a sign, this post of yours came on a day when doubt was getting the best of me. It was a needed reminder that it’s not only me who finds becoming a read author difficult. A couple months back I bought your “Rise of The Machines” book and I now blog differently and I’m slowly gaining followers and building a brand. Thanks, for all the help and encouragement you give us writers.

  24. #25 by Dwane Knott on December 29, 2016 - 7:04 pm

    An awesome post. I think I am making pretty good progress thanks to the direction you have provided in your books and blog. I wish I could sprint with you but that is not an option until I finish working. In the meantime, I am working on the revision to my nanowrimo work. I put a chapter our for critique and got super feedback. My blog is up and getting a few visits from some loyal W.A.N.A Tribe friends who visit me at dwaneknott.com. Slow there since still finding my voice.
    Thanks for all the support in 2016.

  25. #26 by Elizabeth Rose on December 29, 2016 - 7:10 pm

    It’m fighting the Doubt Demon at this point.

    Guard your dreams, but for how long? How many years do you spend working on it before you decide that persistence is stubbornness is disguise? Before you listen to the old adage: There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.

    Still struggling. I’ve taken classes, made the time to write (and revise, which is far less fun and more time consuming than that glorious first draft), and done my share of reading this year. Not your three books a week, but still reading.

    Two years and three books later, and the Doubt Demon is starting to catch-up. To whisper in my ear again. Ignoring him gets harder and harder.

    • #27 by Chris Saper on December 29, 2016 - 7:39 pm

      Elizabeth, I find your note to be an important one, because I believe artists of every kind have felt the same doubt, and It’s part of the process. Please bear in mind that my comments come from a 25 year background as a commissioned portrait painter, and I still face that doubt every single time I look at a big blank, white canvas. It’s only because I have made myself go through it over and over again that I know this is a puzzle I can solve, if I stay with it and most importantly, try to take the time and energy to be harshly critical of my own work.

      Writers and painters have the same luxury: we can make countless mistakes in private, and that’s where we can fix them. One of the best books I’ve read on the topic is Art & Fear – even though it’s written by two photographers it resonates, I think with artists of every ilk. It helps separate the draft fro the parts that bear no relation to the craft. Here is a link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/187633.Art_and_Fear

      That being said, I’d share this thought from out here in the west: When the horse dies, get off. Sometimes a painting can’t be rescued because it was built on a poor foundation (in this case, poor composition, placement, design), probably a lot like poorly constructed plot of unsympathetic characters. But if the base is solid, it can be fixed, probably like a story in its revision.

      And also, please bear in mind that I just decided to explore creative writing very recently, and may have no idea what I’m talking about.

      I wish you the best. Art & Fear helped me put the Doubt Demon in its cage. In another zip code, far, far away. It might help you, too 🙂

      • #28 by Chris Saper on December 29, 2016 - 7:41 pm

        Oh dear, I’ve just learned that there isn’t an “edit” function here, please forgive the typos.

  26. #29 by Bridgett Morigna on December 29, 2016 - 7:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Writing and Musing and commented:
    Looking forward to 2017 and more than ready to put 2016 behind me. Kristen Lamb has some great advice on how to be the best author you can be in the new year.

  27. #30 by foovay on December 29, 2016 - 7:41 pm

    I bought Rise of the Machines this month and I am loving it. I’ll blog about it and your blog, too, but I want to finish the book and digest a bit. Because the thing is – well, I do believe I’m what you’d call a Maven, only a very introverted one. And your advice? Well, I’ve pretty well been doing exactly that for years – I simply found all that automated plug your book until everyone hates you just…not…me. So, turns out I might not have done as bad as I think I have by choosing to do what comes naturally to me, and not doing what would annoy me if it was done to me. Did that make sense? Well, I’m still digesting. When it comes to me in a coherent form and I get it all out in a blog, I’ll link. My goal for 2017 is to take this trickle of income and make it a flood. To finish, edit, and publish the WIP, and even jump into some of the millions of ideas rattling around in my head. I can see you’re gonna help me with all that – so thanks in advance. Blessedbe.

    • #31 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 29, 2016 - 9:22 pm

      Automation is fruitless. Just get focused on what you are doing and you will get returns and WRITE MORE BOOKS ((HUGS)).

      • #32 by foovay on January 6, 2017 - 3:19 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to reply! Oh yeah, I hated the automation stuff and ditched it years ago. I admit I probably like Rise of the Machine so much because it’s telling me to do what I do normally LOL.

  28. #33 by jiniellyne on December 29, 2016 - 8:23 pm

    Reblogged this on J. Ellyne's Blog and commented:
    Kristen! How come you are so in tune with my thoughts all the time? Yes, 2016 lasted many years. It was really tough for me. Yes, writing groups are much about drama and backstabbing and being judged by people who are not themselves successful. I think an artist needs to preserve a bit of ego to survive the necessary tough times they will face. It’s a mistake to go into a group where the main activity is mutual ego deflation. Yes, family is not always (make that ever) supportive because they are often jealous of how much time a writer spends not wanting to be with them and getting upset when the writing is interrupted.
    Yes, reading is of equal importance as writing to an author. Reading fuels the creative juices. I spend my full author time time half and half, reading and writing. I don’t finish the bad books I’ve started reading though. There’s too many good ones out there to enjoy and from which to learn. You mentioned Stephen King. He says in his wonderful book On Writing that all serious authors should spend half their work hours reading. Oh gosh what a wonderful job writing is! I love to read.
    Social media? I’m still looking for a place I would feel comfortable to promote my book. Not Facebook, not goodreads, not twitter and TheNextBigWriter, oh hell no. I have dabbled with those but won’t get serious until I feel like I’m not wasting my time.

  29. #34 by jiniellyne on December 29, 2016 - 8:26 pm

    Kristen! How come you are so in tune with my thoughts all the time? Yes, 2016 lasted many years. It was really tough for me.
    Yes, writing groups are much about drama and backstabbing and being judged by people who are not themselves successful. I think an artist needs to preserve a bit of ego to survive the necessary tough times they will face. It’s a mistake to go into a group where the main activity is mutual ego deflation. Yes, family is not always (make that ever) supportive because they are often jealous of how much time a writer spends not wanting to be with them and getting upset when the writing is interrupted.

    Yes, reading is of equal importance as writing to an author. Reading fuels the creative juices. I spend my full author time time half and half, reading and writing. I don’t finish the bad books I’ve started reading though. There’s too many good ones out there to enjoy and from which to learn. You mentioned Stephen King. He says in his wonderful book On Writing that all serious authors should spend half their work hours reading. Oh gosh what a wonderful job writing is! I love to read.

    Social media? Umm, I’m still looking for a place I would feel comfortable to promote my books. Not Facebook, not goodreads, not twitter and TheNextBigWriter oh hell no. I have dabbled with those but won’t get serious until I feel like I’m not wasting my time.

    I reblogged your post on my web site, http://jellyneblog.wordpress.com

  30. #35 by Stephanie Scott on December 29, 2016 - 8:59 pm

    I have Rise of the Machines and enjoyed it. I need to revisit some of the highlighted areas now that I switched my blog over to a new website (Blogger to WordPress) and I feel like I’m starting from scratch. One question: some of the example authors and blogs in the book I have not been able to find their websites and blogs online. Do you have more current examples of authors who are using your advice? I believe the examples were in the ending pages of the book.

  31. #38 by Celia Lewis on December 29, 2016 - 11:21 pm

    Re: SPRINTS: When? Where? How long per sprint?
    I’ve got draft novels which need revising, but I want to keep in the writing mode as well. Some days are booked, but others I definitely have some flexible times I can use. – Cheers.

    • #39 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 30, 2016 - 8:46 am

      Sprints are used for anything because writers do a lot. They can be used for word count, editing, research, revision. I often mix sprints up and do housework. They key is 40 minutes of FOCUSED time with peers where you have to report back what you DID. You just go to WANATribe and sign up. I have to approve you and we meet in the Main Room IM field around 7 am EST and keep going through the day.

      • #40 by Celia Lewis on December 30, 2016 - 5:39 pm

        Merci. 10am on the wet west coast, Canada.

  32. #41 by Jennifer Bardsley on December 29, 2016 - 11:46 pm

    Excellent cheerleading! Before I started The YA Gal Facebook I was laughed at by many peoole who told me not to bother building my brand because my debut wasn’t out yet. Who’s laughing now?😆 😎

  33. #42 by zerospace05 on December 30, 2016 - 12:18 am

    This is fantastic. So are you. I have no prior knowledge of your work – I just happened to stumble on one of your posts while checking out random blogs. Similar to randomly discovering a great band. Sort of exciting. I’m not an author, just a new writer trying to figure out where I might take this recently discovered skill. If I decide to go all the way with writing, I’ll definitely check out your work, buy something, leave a good review, etc. I don’t have many readers, but I’m gonna link one of your articles on my next post anyway. Keep up the awesomeness.

  34. #43 by "Lonesome" Lee West on December 30, 2016 - 2:36 am

    Writing’s a solitary endeavor? Say it ain’t so, Joe! All my friends are right here: Mug of coffee, coconut creamer, royal jelly, methylcobalamin, vitamin C, vitamin E, bilberry, an’ all the rest. It’s a bleepin’ house party! That said, thanks for the pep talk, chief. My friends’re helpful, but they don’t say much…

  35. #44 by sharonecathcart on December 30, 2016 - 9:05 am

    Reblogged this on Sharon E. Cathcart and commented:
    A lot of good information here. Check it out!

  36. #45 by Ben Aqiba on December 30, 2016 - 11:07 am

    Just great.
    Thank you, I wish you the best 🙂

  37. #46 by santha81 on December 30, 2016 - 12:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I love the transparency, so much insight.

  38. #47 by Emilee on December 30, 2016 - 2:36 pm

    I read this over the course of two days, carving out little chunks of time, and loved every minute of it. Thank you for being truthful and real, and for blogging about the reality of being successful. Simple not easy. That may be my motto for 2017. 🙂

  39. #48 by Jessica Starr on December 30, 2016 - 4:30 pm

    I am so glad I joined your mailing list Kristen. It’s so refreshing to hear someone (who is actually walking the walk) cut the bullshit and give us what we need to hear (rather than what we want to hear).

    Thank you! And happy 2017 x

    Jessica M Starr, The Story Witch. Storyweaver. Poet. Wildwoman.

    You can get monthly love notes from http://www.jessicamstarr.com

    every day magic

    >

  40. #49 by kelly @kellyblackwell on December 30, 2016 - 11:55 pm

    You’ve got me. Time to pick up Rise of the Machines. I’ve had it on my wish list for too long and it seems no one is going to catch the hint. Time to guard, nurture and invest in my dream.

    Thanks for the inspiration I needed for 2017!

  41. #50 by Aui V. on January 2, 2017 - 5:14 am

    Reblogged this on Aui's Den.

  42. #51 by Darrel Sparkman on January 2, 2017 - 2:04 pm

    I’m over halfway through Rise of the Machines and am using your advice already. Your advice makes sense–a direct opposite from my publisher. Thanks for doing what you do.

  43. #52 by Kathryn Jane on January 2, 2017 - 5:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.

  44. #53 by aurorajeanalexander on January 2, 2017 - 7:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
    Kristen Lamb published a blog about how to become a successful author this year. Thank you Kristen!

  45. #54 by Barbara Forte Abate on January 2, 2017 - 8:13 pm

    January 2, 2017 and still just moments away from getting my own dumpster fire out. Even better, some jolly little elf took the hint and gifted me with Rise of the Machines. Yep, life is looking good!

  1. A Look-Ahead to 2017 from a Writer's POV - Sydney Jane Baily
  2. Happy New Year |
  3. After the Dumpster Fire of 2016—How to Make 2017 ROCK! — Kristen Lamb’s Blog – Mthokozisi Mkhonza
  4. Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 25-31, 2016 | Writerly Goodness

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