Sunday, September 5, 2021

When Should Authors Just Quit?


The writer dies many deaths.

It happens early in life.

Some kid ridicules or bullies your heartfelt writings. Some lazy teacher crushes your spirit with a red pen but no words of guidance. A parent rebukes you for writing what he or she sees as nonsense.

It is as if you never had a chance.

Many leave behind their childhood aspirations. Some come back to them later in life. Others persevere to overcome the naysayers but still struggle to achieve success by any measure of definition.

Family and friends may still fail to show understanding or support. Life conspires with bills, chores, obligations, and jobs to distract you from writing. Exhaustion, stress, and disappointment settle in.

Some turn to one or more addictions to cope and take the edge off of a life that slips away from them. Drinking, pills, smoking, gambling, eating, sex, and even shopping manage to placate them, stalling the inevitable crash, that low point where you just lose all direction, hope, or faith.

Some may just exit life.

It happens some 40,000 times each year.

Most will muddle on, their spirits diminished. Their heart just isn’t into things. They drift and linger with their damaged souls, functioning but not really living. We become a hologram of our former selves.

Today’s writer is sick and fed up. They hate that gatekeepers at literary agencies and publishers dismiss them because they don’t tweet enough or aren’t the right age, gender, or race. They feel judged without a fair hearing. The whole thing sucks.

What should matter most — the quality of their writings — seems to be the factor least taken into consideration. One’s limited platform or weak social media footprint is used against them the way a 40-year-old lie comes back to cripple one’s present.

Being a writer today is like being a healthy, pretty, smart, funny, experienced 43-year-old woman who shows up to a Hollywood casting call and is rejected before she reads a line, simply because they want a woman half her age with twice her breast size.

What you have feels like it isn’t enough, yet in the areas of what should really count the most, you are rich in. If only others saw it that way.

So, facing silence, rejection, and yawns from the literary world, where literary agents and book publishers rarely step out of a failing but familiar formula, today’s writer resorts to self-publishing.

Yes, the great equalizer, where opportunity abounds to all! Right?


Welcome to an incestuous industry where everyone acts like your friend but ends up shaking you down for money.  Don’t wear too short of a skirt. Lots of dirty uncles out there. You are fresh meat for the sharks.

The largely unregulated industry of book publishing is filled with opportunists, liars, the unskilled, and the greedy. Not all are bad, though. Many are quite good in their abilities and are well-intentioned. But too many snakes slither around and contaminate the field, ruining it for the rest of us.

Everyone whispers in your ear what you want to hear. Your ego and dreams are turned against you the way a virus attacks a body. There is a price tag to all of this, and it usually exceeds whatever you hope to make from the craft of writing.

I hear from authors daily. They spent on the wrong things with the wrong people — and overpaid. They acted on bad information, ignorance, and desperation. What they really need is a book marketing sherpa.

I feel bad for the writers that I talk to who seem interested in promoting their books but sound so defeated, victimized, and skeptical. They have gone from being virgins whose naivete allowed the wolf to violate them, to now being a warrior who can only kill what is in front of them, with no ability to recognize forces for good or to nurture the positive.

I am a good guy in an industry littered with thieves, broken hearts, and misinformation. I’ve been promoting and helping authors since 1989. Sure I want to make money — as much as I can — but I want to do it ethically. I want to be of value and to help others realize their full writing potential. If only people would open their hearts, and not just their wallets, they will see they are not alone, that there are people like me who can shepherd them to new levels of success and satisfaction.

Perhaps some or all of this is the author’s fault. I don’t want to victim shame, and no one deserves to be taken advantage of, but writers do have to grow up a bit. They need to take responsibility for the fate of their writing career and book marketing. Writers must accept this. They either commit to learning and doing what is needed or they outsource it. Or both. But sticking your head in the sand has not proven to be effective. Do not sound so disconnected to marketing. It goes side by side with your writing.

But, knowing all of this, I tell you with sincerity, optimism, and confidence: Do not give up, provided you believe in your book. If you doubt your book’s worth, it is game over.

Be true to yourself, but never, ever pull the plug on your writing life without fighting long and hard. Sunlight comes just as the darkest moment is about to lift.

Need Book PR Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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