What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

(Though this post first ran March 2, 2012, I find I’m still saying the same thing to authors today. What have you done for yourself lately? ~Callie)

Dear Author,

What have you done for yourself lately?

You’ve written a book?

Not enough.

You’ve had it accepted and printed by a publisher?

Not enough.

You met with your publisher and came up with a marketing plan.

Not enough.

What have you done to ensure your book reaches all the people you know will love it?

What have you done for yourself lately?

You want radio. You want TV. You want print. You want to go viral.

Yeah, I know . . . You were counting on your publisher to make some magic.

Here’s the deal: Some publishers rock n’ roll, while others are rock bottom.

And even if you’re with a rock n’ roll star of a publisher, your “baby”—your book—is just one of hundreds of books your publisher is raising. You gave your publisher custody, but there’s still some major co-parenting to be done.

Learn about publishing so that you understand what your publisher and the publicity department are talking about.

Be upfront with your publisher. Ask: What are you going to do? And if you aren’t happy, don’t waste time complaining. Bury the complaints and sort out what you can do on your own. And if you need help, sort that out, too.

What have you done for yourself lately?

I know you don’t want to blog. You don’t have time for that. You are writing other books and articles and a million other things.

Do you have a site? Or a blog where you could include info. about all the awesomeness you are creating every month? Can you repurpose any of it, to develop a series on your site?

If you do change your mind and decide to blog, will you consider a theme, something that you can repurpose for later—perhaps as a book?

What have you done for yourself lately?

I’ve checked out your  Facebook profile. Why do you have one for friends and one for your book? Every time you have a new book, you’ll have to start another following. Do you really want to do that over and over? Instead of building a book presence, build a YOU presence. Readers want to get to know writers, not a book. Yes, they’ll read the book, and get to know it that way, but their questions will be for you. Their interest will be in how you wrote it, why you wrote it, and so on. Find them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

What have you done for yourself lately?

You’ve heard the power of online outreach, but your ego is still stuck on the traditional.

You still dream of Oprah, knowing if she’d just had you on her show . . . That would have been it. Your book about the gentle caring side of the T-Rex, and the inaccurate pop-cultural portrayal of it as a killer, would have been a best seller.

Stop the insanity. Time to wake up.

What have you done for yourself lately?

Please look in the mirror.

If you aren’t happy with the outreach for your book, blame the person looking back at you (unless it is your mother, or kid, or significant other, standing in front of the mirror with you , in which case you should make sure you are looking at yourself—and blaming yourself).

What have you done for yourself lately?

Unless your name is Janet Jackson, stop singing others the line “What have you done for me lately?”

Do something for yourself.

Posted in

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

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NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

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A New Tool to Fight Resistance

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27 Comments

  1. Basilis on March 2, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Ego,Resistance.
    And let’s hope that Realization indeed comes next
    to end this Insanity.

  2. Jody Payne on March 2, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Ouch! But you’re right.

  3. skip on March 2, 2012 at 4:31 am

    sounds like work. i write for the pleasure of writing.

  4. Alex on March 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Holy god. I need to bookmark this page, or print it out and tape it to my bathroom mirror.

  5. tolladay on March 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

    In advertising, we call it branding. When you are an author, you are the brand. Your books are your products. If you wish to market yourself professionally you need to market both the brand and the products, that is to say you market yourself, and your books.

  6. ruth kozak on March 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    So true! Thanks for the pep talk, Steve!

  7. Rosanne Bane on March 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Just last week I heard Tony Robbins ask “Does the story you tell about yourself empower you or hold you back?” I wondered what story I was telling myself about my writing and knew it was “I’m not ready to promote my book in a big way.” And then I told myself, “Well, I better get ready! Because the book launches in August.”

    I post to my blog (with the same topic as my book) twice a week. I’m putting together lists of writing conferences I want to present at (writers are my audience) and will contact them with a copy of the book soon. I know I need to come up with lists of radio shows I’d like to appear on. And more. But that’s what I can focus on now. I’m taking baby steps knowing I’m going to start jogging, then running in the next two months.

  8. Jeremy on March 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Great kick in the ass, Callie.

  9. Jerry Ellis on March 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    What have I done for myself lately? Why, I read this blog!

  10. Brandy on March 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Oh Callie, I love this! I’m sort of have the opposite problem, tho. I love my blog – but I haven’t even started my book. :/

    I’ve been feeling that pull. My conscience is tapping on my shoulder, “Write the bleeping book already!”

    No more excuses. Tomorrow I’ll the answer the question, what have I done for myself lately?

    “I started writing my book.”

    By the end of the year, G-d willing, the answer the question will be:

    I’ve finished my book. I’ve built a loyal tribe on my blog. I’ve found a rock ‘n’ roll publisher. And it is so ON.

    I’m going to copy and paste this comment onto a doc in my computer and look at it daily (just before I write!). You’ve inspired me to get serious and there’s no time like the present.

  11. Ernie Zelinski on March 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Here are three quotations that support the drift of your blog post:

    “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later.”
    — Seth Godin

    “There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it.”
    — C. C. Colton

    “To write books is easy. It requires only pen and ink and the ever-patient paper.
    To print books is a little more difficult, because genius so often rejoices in illegible handwriting.
    To read books is more difficult still, because of the tendency to go to sleep.
    But the most difficult task of all that a mortal man can embark on is to sell a book.”
    — Sir Stanley Unwain

    I have always kept these in mind, which has helped me sell over 700,000 copies of my books worldwide.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 150,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  12. Greta James on March 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    What have I done for myself lately is the best question I’ve been asked lately! I have finished a short story and made 23 submissions so far. I am in a novel writing course with Darnell Arnoult. I took a workshop with Ian Huckabee about social media and am working on building a writer’s platform. I am blogging again and reading favorite blogs like this one after almost a year. FYI I have shared from The War of Art numerous times and keep it close by. Life is good!

  13. Chris Duel on March 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Brilliant, necessary, tough love.

    Thanks.

  14. Wini Moranville on March 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Great advice….first thing I need to do is consolidate my book Facebook with my personal Facebook page. Thanks for this!
    May I add just one more word of advice: If you don’t think you want to blog, try your hand at it anyway. I found it infinitely more enjoyable that I would have ever thought it was! And people are reading it.

    Wini Moranville
    Author of the Bonne Femme Cookbook

  15. Mary Doyle on November 4, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Thanks for the great pep talk Callie! I didn’t start following this series until 2013 so I’m very glad you gave us this rerun today.

  16. Mary J Hicks on November 4, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for a good reminder! Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s always necessary…:-)

  17. Erika Viktor on November 4, 2016 at 8:03 am

    *runs off to write a blog post*

  18. Michael Beverly on November 4, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Publisher? What’s that?
    Ha ha…

    The world has changed so much in publishing since you wrote this.

    Six days ago I self-published a sci-fi/fantasy book in an obscure sub-genre and I’m learning/attempting/fumbling with marketing, but the thing is: in some small markets the existence of the book is enough to light a fire.

    I hit #1 in the sub-genre today and sales are brisk, Amazon simply pushes anything that is hot and then the process becomes self-reinforcing.

    Of course I am advertising, marketing, trying, but I think the advice that best serves is: write the next one.

    Well, I’ll get to that, but first I have to deal with a bunch of marketing questions and decisions and deal with the business side of things.

    What’s a publisher? Well, in some cases it’s the proverbial man-in-the-mirror, so now my problem is which hat to wear.

  19. Christine Mason Miller on November 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Awesome Callie! Exactly what I need to read right now!!

  20. Tina on November 4, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Thank you. I like the way you went from Janet Jackson to Michael Jackson with Man in the Mirror.

  21. Christine on November 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    This reminds me of advice I received 20 years ago before starting out on my career as an engineer: “People may support you, mentor you, provide opportunities for you … but NOBODY cares about your career as much as you do. Take the reins.”

  22. Julie on November 5, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for adding to the enormous payload of crap out there—the “rah,rah, do more, do more, do more, we all have to be EVERYTHING and be GREAT at it,” attitude that is redefining the value and meaning of being human. And couching it in those glorious “tough love/dose of reality” terms we’ve all come to accept not because it’s true, but because we’ve been lambasted with it ad nauseam. Oh, it’s not enough to work my butt off writing award-winning books (three of them published by a real publisher) now I have to pimp those books and myself in the name of the almighty American anthem of sell, sell, sell. I expected this blog to be words of wisdom in support of writers. Very disappointing. Enough of this nonsense and of Steven’s blog. I’m unsubscribing.

  23. Jodi on November 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I wrote a blog post today paying tribute to The War of Art. I came here to mention it as I would want to know if someone had used one of my works of art.
    The timing of this post along with mine makes me smile… timing is everything.
    Thanks Callie! And thanks Mr. Pressfield for teaching me about resistance so it doesn’t have to be such a limiting force in my life!
    https://starpasser.com/2016/11/05/lets-go/

  24. David Kaufmann on November 6, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Some things are worth recycling, Callie. (Aren’t most things, in one form or another?) First time or tenth time, it’s a reminder that, as with the protagonist of a story, we must be active, not passive. If not you, then who?

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