Being an author is an often-contradictory conundrum. We do most of our work in solitude with only our thoughts to judge us. Yet at some point, inevitably, we are forced to invite the outside world to the party.

This can mean finding a publisher, or for indie authors, finding funding to produce our book. Then there’s the matter of marketing, connecting your book with people who want to read it.

The entire life cycle of a book from idea through long-term promotion can be extensive. And if we lose sight of the distinction between the things we can control versus the things we cannot, it can become mentally exhausting.

Exerting energy toward things we can’t directly control the outcome of, can feel like moving a boulder up a mountain purely through telekinesis. We’re not allowed to touch the boulder to make it move, but we still fully expect it to move up the mountain.

Knowing the difference between things you can control directly, and things you can’t, ensures that you put most of your attention and energy on things you have the capacity to act upon.

Things that are (mostly) beyond your control:

  • A publisher signing you.
  • A publisher’s timeline for releasing your book.
  • Logistical and technological issues involved in the publishing & distribution of your book.
  • How many people buy your book (no matter how you decide to publish).
  • Whether your book is a bestseller.
  • What people think of your book (and you).
  • Whether your book wins awards.
  • Whether you become a famous author.

Things that are WITHIN your control:

  • Deciding to write a book and then doing it.
  • Holding yourself accountable to your writing deadlines.
  • Doing your homework and research on the process.
  • Investing in quality (writing help if you need it, editing, cover design, publishing, marketing, etc.).
  • Making the effort to have a continuous, organic, engaging conversation with your reader – before, during, and after you publish your book.
  • Your writing mindset and habits.
  • How you choose to spend your time (writing vs. not writing).
  • Not quitting.

“Energy flows where attention goes.”
-Makia principle of the Hawaiian Huna tradition.

PS: Are you a member of our Ink Authors Facebook group? It’s where the authors (and future ones, and publishing industry professionals) go!


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