Positive Authorship

Image from ShutterStock

Image from ShutterStock


Authors, would you like to:

  • Put more readers in a good mood for your book.
  • Attract a more positive audience.
  • Make a powerful impression as an author.
  • Enjoy authorship.
  • Feel productive, creative, and energized.
  • Be part of a happier, more supportive ambiance.

The answer is simple: Foster positivity.

  • What better way to attract positive readers than to show yourself as happy in your role as author?
  • Positive people, likely to be in a good mood shortly after discovering your book through your marketing—will those people be attracted to authors who themselves radiate positivity, or will they want to read books by authors who complain, criticize, or show their frustration?
  • If you can be a rare author who handles all the struggles of authorship—from critical reviews to slow sales to technical computer challenges—with a positive, uplifting personality, more than helping to brand you as a professional author, you may even stand out as extraordinary—the kind of person other people want to surround themselves with because your presence makes their lives seem better.
  • Don’t you feel better yourself when you spread positivity among others? A smile goes a long way—so far that it comes all the way back around to you.
  • Do you feel more productive, energized, and creative when you’re complaining, criticizing, or feeling frustrated, or when you have a positive outlook?
  • Help bring about success by being positive about the future and making the most of what may come. The path to success starts by visualizing it. Negativity steers the course towards failure.
  • Spread positivity toward others and you may find yourself part of a happier, more supportive ambiance.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, and strive to bring out the best in any situation.
  • Don’t let ’em bring you down.

But carrying this out can be challenge. Especially for authors.

  • Writers can’t escape criticism. Even the best writing has its critics. Check out your favorite popular author and you may be amazed to see one-star reviews tearing your favorite popular books apart. People have many different opinions. No book can please everyone. The challenge is learning how to deal with it, and not letting it affect you negatively.
  • Editors are in the habit of identifying what’s wrong. That’s their job: find the mistakes. When we self-edit, we adopt this mindset. After several hours, we get into a critical, what’s-wrong with-this mindset. As writers, we interact with professional editors, who spend most of their time finding faults in writing. That critical nature sometimes spreads into the lives of writers, through personal interactions or on writing or publishing discussion forums.
  • One way to succeed as an author is to think of how to write a better book. You see what’s already on the market. You try to do something that you believe is better. A danger in this is carrying this too far, into the I’m-better-than-you mentality. Remember, just because you think your idea is better in some way doesn’t mean that (a) it’s better in all ways or that (b) everyone else will agree that it’s better. Maybe ‘better’ is the wrong word. You’re providing an alternative. Your idea caters to a new audience.
  • Authors have to deal with jealousy. Imagine working hard for years. You’ve studied, you’ve learned much about writing and publishing. You’ve written several books. You’ve poured so much time into it. Then you see other authors who seem to find easy, early success. Doing many of the things you’ve come to learn are ‘mistakes.’ Wouldn’t you feel jealous? Many authors do feel jealous, and they act on it, spreading negativity as a result.
  • Different authors have different beliefs and opinions, which sometimes clash. Some authors feel strongly about KDP Select, for it or against it. Some authors feel strongly that there are too many short works, while obviously those who thrive on short works feel quite defensive when others express views against short works. There are many strong debates in the publishing industry. Just imagine how much more (or how much better) we, collectively, could write if so much of our energy weren’t zapped into these whirlpools of opinion.
  • Sales fluctuate, so no matter how good your sales are, you’ll go through some valleys. And when you start out, sales tend to start out slow. Things can get very slow. It’s one more thing you can feel frustrated about.
  • Self-published authors encounter frustrating formatting issues. All authors encounter frustrating technology issues, like possible data loss (have you backed up your files lately?).
  • The publishing industry is constantly changing. This makes many writers very anxious about the future. Combine this with anxiety over sales, reviews, and everything else, and writing is an anxious lifestyle. But you can learn to accept and deal with that.

But authorship shouldn’t be a challenge:

  • We write because we enjoy it, right? So enjoy writing.
  • Force yourself to see the fun in storytelling, character development, researching something new, trying out a different genre, exploring where an idea takes you, and the many other things that make writing so much fun.
  • Train yourself to respond positively to all the negative triggers, like criticism or rants from other people, recognizing the negativity and replacing it with thoughts of things that make writing fun.
  • Exercise and a healthy diet may help you deal with stress better. Some exercise may be in order if you’re spending much time in a chair writing. More sunlight may help, too. Interact with real people, in the flesh. Mixing your life with your writing life is a difficult balancing act.
  • If you focus on the negative, you can always find some reason to be unhappy. Either sales are slow, or you heard some criticism, or you hear others complaining, or some change in the publishing industry has you anxious, etc. There is always something. However, if you focus on the positive, you can always find some reason to be happy. It’s a conscious choice. You can find the positive if you train yourself to search for it. If nothing else, you enjoy writing, right? (If not, maybe that’s the problem.)

Foster a positive ambiance not only for yourself, but also for:

  • your readers
  • new readers you’re trying to attract through marketing
  • current fans going to check you out online
  • fellow writers part of your online circles
  • your social media reach
  • yourself, as the positivity you spread often comes back to you

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

A Special Gift


It takes a special gift to…

…look inside and see the real person.

…avoid jumping to false conclusions.

…cause people to set aside their differences.

…enjoy the journey when forced to take a detour.

…get people to see beyond their prejudices.

…genuinely care about others.

…listen to your conscience under strong temptations.

…value other things more than money.

…admit that you made a mistake.

…confess to something that would meet disapproval.

…stand up for what you believe in.

…support someone in need against greater numbers.

…step aside when your effort would be wasted.

…judge people for the right reasons.

…act responsibly.

…ignore peer pressure.

…serve as a friend for someone who can use one.

…not offer unsolicited advice.

…count your blessings in tough times.

…help make the world a better place.

…appreciate the small things in life.

…make other people feel better.

…secretly do something noble for someone else.

…show open-mindedness toward others.

…realize that you’re not perfect either.

…believe that you’re special and worthy.

…follow your own advice.

…stay positive in tough situations.

…see good in others when it isn’t obvious.

…feel happy when things don’t go your way.

…remain calm throughout life’s challenges.

…be yourself.

…forgive others.

…do what your heart feels is the right thing.

…strive for your best and also be humble.

…realize that you can’t do everything and choose wisely.


These are gifts that anyone can acquire,

And gifts that can do wonders for the world.


Copyright (c) 2013 Chris McMullen


You know what else would make a special gift? The gift of reading. Literacy is another gift that can do wonders for the world.


Read Tuesday will be a golden opportunity to give the gift of reading in a Black Friday type of sales event just for books.




It’s going to be HUGE!

Improving Writing and Publishing Habits

In every aspect of life, we tend to pick up bad habits much more readily than good ones:

  • When we hear others complain, we tend to become complainers ourselves – even if the complaints that we heard spoiled our good moods. We applaud positive reactions to adversity, but those reactions don’t spread the way that complaints do.
  • In golf, it’s natural to lift the head up too soon, hoping to see a beautiful shot, but when the head comes up early, inevitably the shot isn’t worth watching. We must train ourselves to overcome such tendencies. The more we practice the natural tendency, the worse the bad habit becomes.
  • After hearing others swear, we tend to unconsciously curse in similar circumstances. But when someone stubs her toe and says, “Oh dear, that smarts,” this gentler reaction doesn’t spread the same way. It takes a conscious effort to develop this milder habit.
  • A common mistake in chess is to focus on what you’re trying to do, and to overlook what the opponent is trying to do. It generally takes many losses to retrain our brains to overcome this natural tendency.

The same is true with writing and publishing:

  • If you aren’t well versed in the rules of writing, the more you write without learning the rules, the more you will continue to develop poor writing habits. Even if you hire an editor, the fewer mistakes you make in the first place, the easier it will be to perfect the manuscript. And editors themselves make mistakes, so you must know the rules in order to spot the editor’s mistakes.
  • Every writer has a unique style. Some elements of style tend to work better than others, and often the natural tendency isn’t best. For example, it’s natural to tell what happened instead of show what happened, but showing is often more effective. We can become better writers by identifying our natural tendencies and determining which ones we must consciously work to overcome.
  • When we see other writers complaining – which is all too common – about sales, reviews, and so on, it spreads negativity to others. And complaining in public adversely affects the author’s image. We must strive to maintain a positive outlook and behave professionally.
  • A natural reaction to a critical review is to take it personally and respond to the review with a comment, but this often turns out to be a mistake. If you learn that it’s a mistake and understand why, and have this in mind when checking your reviews, you may be able to profit from overcoming your natural tendency.
  • Authors tend to publish their books without a plan. It takes a lack of sales to convince most authors that a marketing plan may have been necessary. If you’re aware of this, you may invest the time to put together a marketing plan prior to publishing.

In physics, inertia is the natural tendency of an object. According to Newton’s first law of motion, objects tend to maintain constant momentum. That is, once an object is set in motion, it tends to stay in motion naturally according to its inertia; that’s why it’s hard to stop a boulder that’s rolling down a hill. If instead the object is at rest, its momentum is zero, and so it tends to stay at rest. It takes a net external force to overcome an object’s inertia.

You have natural writing and publishing tendencies. You must work to identify them and overcome any that may inhibit your chances of success. Following is a sample of some things to look for:

  • Not checking spelling, vocabulary, or rules of grammar while using a word or rule that the author is unsure of (or at least take the time to write * check * to remind yourself to look into it later).
  • Not thinking through contractions, like seeing “it’s” as “it is.” This helps to avoid confusing words like “it’s” with “its,” “they’re” with “there,” etc.
  • Not checking for potential homophone mistakes, like using “their” when it should be “there,” “our” when it should be “are,” etc. (You can easily find such lists on Google, then use the find tool in Word.)
  • Not checking for consistency in tense, person, number, etc. (Of course, there may be reasons to change them. For example, you might be writing in the present tense, but need to describe an event from the past.)
  • Telling the reader what happened in a situation where showing the reader would work better.
  • Not putting enough time and effort into editing.
  • Repeating words, as in, “I wrote this this word twice.” This is especially common when one word appears at the end of one line, while the other word begins the next line. Search for “the the,” “that that,” and other common words (but without the quotes, of course) to help find some of this repetition.
  • Not joining a writer’s group or approaching it with the right attitude to make the most of it.
  • Not writing with a specific target audience in mind. It’s a very common mistake to try to write for too wide an audience (like mystery, romance, and suspense combined together) or to write a book for which an audience will be quite a challenge to find (e.g. there isn’t a browse category for it at Amazon).
  • Not realizing that writing, like singing, is an art that takes some talent as well as time and effort to develop and master.
  • Expecting everyone to compliment your work. Criticism and complaints are very common, so we must expect it, and some of the criticism helps authors grow as writers.
  • Finding faults in others, but not looking for them in ourselves. How often do we have advice for others, but not follow the same advice ourselves? And how often do we get upset with or ignore advice from others, instead of considering whether or not it may have merit? And how readily do we give advice, versus how often do we seek it?
  • Not researching similar books to learn what kinds of covers, blurbs, writing styles, storylines, and characterizations tend to attract your target audience.
  • Not researching similar books’ sales ranks to see whether or not the book idea may be worth the effort.
  • Formatting a book without using similar traditionally published books as a guide, and without learning basic formatting concepts like how to make different headers for each chapter, how to use Roman numerals for front matter and Arabic numbers afterward, and what to do about widows, orphans, and rivers.
  • Formatting an e-book without learning about common issues, like which characters are supported, how to properly size and compress pictures, and how to modify and use Word’s styles.
  • Not designing a cover and blurb that instantly identify the book’s genre to potential shoppers.
  • Not learning about marketing and how to brand a name or image.
  • Advertising the book openly, rather than working to get discovered. For example, “You should check out my new book,” versus waiting for the question, “So what have you done lately?”
  • Not contemplating where to meet and interact with your target audience.
  • Underestimating the value of meeting people in person, letting them discover that you’re a writer, and charming them with your personality.
  • Not developing a following over the course of several months prior to publishing.
  • Thinking that Facebook and Twitter provides a complete marketing campaign.
  • Not coming up with a marketing plan prior to publishing.
  • Not thinking hard about how to create buzz for your upcoming book.
  • Not making it easy for readers to contact you.
  • Complaining about sales, reviews, etc.
  • Not staying positive throughout the writing and publishing process, and beyond. Strive to not let negativity bring you down.
  • Expecting to be an instant success.
  • Expecting writing, publishing, marketing, and sales to all be easy.
  • Giving up too soon. Be patient and constantly strive to improve.

Millions of books are available.

Only the top couple hundred thousand sell at least a book per day, on average.

Most self-published books feature one or more of these natural tendencies.

Make your book stand out by identifying your natural tendencies and striving to overcome those that need improvement.

Imagine for a moment that you’re a professional tennis player instead of a writer. You come on the scene with a great serve, strong forehand, and weak backhand. What’s going to happen? Everyone will try to hit the ball to your backhand side. You can lose many matches with your weak backhand, or you can acknowledge that you have room for improvement and strive to become a better player.

Find your weak writing and publishing ‘backhand’ and work to improve it in order to become a more successful author.

Remember, bad habits are easier to get and harder to overcome than good habits.

Look for great habits that you see in others to find other great things that you could be doing. Remember that you must consciously work to overcome your natural tendencies.

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Positive Visualization for Authors

Positive Pic

First of all, a positive attitude and outlook can significantly impact the future success of a book.

How so?

The positive author is confident and patient. The worried author is much more apt to impatiently act out of fear, which can quickly brand an author as unprofessional. An author who lacks confidence is also less likely to be motivated to polish the book to perfection and to invest time in marketing.

Positive emotions also affect personal marketing efforts. Confidence or the lack thereof shows. Passion attracts buyers. Concern about an author’s own writing deters sales.

Don’t simply try to trick yourself into being confident. Build confidence.

  • Research books in the genre in order to convince yourself that there is an audience for your idea.
  • Join a writing group if you need to develop confidence in your writing; and realize that criticism will help you improve your writing, which will help you become confident in the long run, if not sooner, provided that you simply approach it with the right mindset.
  • Solicit feedback about your cover, story, blurb, blog, social media, and so on so that you gain confidence in everything you do to succeed as an author.

Positive visualization can also help you perfect your book and succeed in marketing:

  • Visualize the kind of book that will succeed.
  • How do you want to succeed? If sales are important, visualize a book that will attract a large audience. Research top selling books in a genre that fits you well to see what tends to attract a large established audience. If something else is more important, visualize your book toward that end.
  • Work diligently to produce a book that meets these criteria. Visualize the content, storyline, characterization, writing style, writing techniques, grammar, and formatting that will appeal to your audience. Research or seek help in areas where you lack confidence.
  • Be positive that if you patiently work to perfect your book, it will pay off.
  • Receive feedback at various stages of your writing to help with your visualization, confidence, and to help build buzz for the coming book.
  • Visualize packaging that will attract your target audience. The cover, title, blurb, and opening chapter must send a unified message, be free of mistakes, and be attractive to your audience.
  • Solicit feedback on all areas of the packaging, especially from strangers in your target audience who are likely to provide honest comments.
  • Incorporate the feedback into your visualization, and not just that feedback that matches your own preferences. You want to balance establishing your own sense of style while also meeting the needs of your readers. The more important sales are to you, the more important it is to see what’s popular among your readers.
  • Visualize early sales and reviews of your book. Now work diligently to try to achieve this. Pursue premarketing by sending out advance review copies, trying to create buzz, getting your social media and blog together prior to publishing, contacting bloggers and websites related to your target audience about possible reviews on their sites, and beginning your marketing efforts months before your book is released.
  • Visualize good reviews. Think of what features of your book may stand out to readers. Polish your book to help the best features stand out. Imagine possible criticism that your book may receive. Improve your book to help minimize the chances for this.
  • Exercise patience. Sales may be slow at first. Market your book diligently. Don’t give up. It can take months for marketing efforts to really build up. It takes time for people to discover your book, read your book, and spread word about your book. Perfect your book to increase the chances of word-of-mouth sales. Market your book to help people in your target audience discover your book (but not through self-promotion). Work to brand a positive image as an author.
  • Be patient with reviews, too. Reviews can come very slowly. One or more reviews may be negative. It takes time to earn several reviews. Realize that an occasional critical review helps to achieve balance and may actually improve sales. (Nobody wants a bad review, and we get enough without having to try to get them, but occasionally they help, especially if they only come rarely and are offset by several good reviews.) If you get a bad review, don’t act on it. Be patient and see how things evolve. Do read it to see if there is any merit in any ideas that may help you to improve the book. Continue your marketing efforts, as more sales are the best way to earn more reviews. Remember, it can take hundreds of sales per review, depending on the type of book, good luck, and the nature of your marketing.
  • If sales or reviews become a problem at some point, visualize a favorable turnaround. Work on your marketing, reconsider your marketing techniques, strive to reach new readers, consider doing a promotion and marketing it, revise the book or packaging if needed, solicit more feedback, consider hiring editing or cover design help, and visualize improved sales and reviews.
  • Interact with other authors. Find things that other authors are doing well and visualize yourself doing those things well, too. Discover what works for others and see which of those things work for you. Learn new ideas and consider incorporating them into your visualization.
  • Imagine yourself as a potential reader in the target audience. Visualize what promotional efforts or marketing tools might work to catch your interest in the book. Imagine seeing the cover, title, and blurb for the first time. What would hook you as a buyer? How does your author page seem from this point of view?
  • Visualize marketing success. What can you see yourself doing to help stimulate sales? Research marketing techniques. Motivate yourself to learn about marketing and carry out many different ideas. Visualize your book’s success and work toward it.
  • Write your next book. Imagine readers liking one book and hoping to find your other books.

Good luck with your book. Try to stay positive, patient, and confident. You can do it. 🙂

Chris McMullen, coauthor of Negative/Positive Antonym Word Scrambles Book: A fun way to practice turning negative thoughts into positive ones

BookCoverImage Antonym

Strive to Be Positive :-)

Positive Pic

Help make the world a more positive place than you found it.

  • Negative interactions affect mood and demeanor like a virus.
  • Positive interactions are the cure for the common complaint.

Feel better inside and have a positive influence on others, too.

  • An outward smile tends to lift the spirits of those around you.
  • An inward smile improves your own mood and reduces stress.

Train yourself to react positively rather than negatively.

  • One negative action can create a multitude of negative reactions.
  • A positive mood can become a habit if properly cultivated.

Much better than earning straight A’s, strive to B+!

Chris McMullen, coauthor of the Negative/Positive Antonym Word Scrambles Book: A fun way to practice turning negative thoughts into positive ones