Laura Howard: Ode to Hard Work


Ode to Hard Work

Happy Monday, Writers! Last week I made the mistake of passing along a book to my friends on Twitter about Marketing on Amazon. I had never read the book, but the reviews looked good. So, today my friend Carl Purdon has written a littlerant about the "Easy Way" vs good ole' fashion Hard Work.


Advice is easy to come by. Good advice, not so much. It seems we are always looking for a shortcut -- that trick that will put us ahead of the game.   

Writers are no exception. If anything, we may be more susceptible to a good hoodwinking from those who peddle advice for a fee. If it works it’s worth it, right?

How often have you taken writing advice from someone who has never written anything? Or from someone who claims to know how to make your book go to the top of Amazon’s rankings by applying a few “secret” tricks?

I fell for that one recently. The pitch sounded great, and this how-to book was ranked pretty high on Amazon. It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few tricks to improve my sales, would it? After all, the author claimed to know secrets Amazon doesn’t want us to know.

My first impression was that the book sounded too much like a television infomercial where the front man talks fast and sells hard. Don’t stop and think, just buy, buy, buy. It sounded cheesy. I found myself several chapters in and had read nothing I didn’t already know. Nothing you don’t already know if you’ve spent any time at all scanning blogs about writing.

I began to realize I had made a mistake when the author explained how to steer readers to your book when they are actually looking for something else, using tags that don’t apply. The last straw was when the author revealed that one of the secrets was to round up friends to post fake reviews -- reviews the author tells you how to write. That’s not a secret -- it’s dishonest. The book was cheesy AND dishonest. I switched off my Kindle, contacted Amazon, and asked for a refund. My reason for returning? Accidental download. They didn’t have a selection for fraudulent content.

It wasn't a total loss. Downloading that book reaffirmed something I already knew: there is no magic bullet that is going to send a novel to the top of Amazon’s charts. Writing a book is hard work. Hours, days, weeks, months, years of hard work. There were no shortcuts to get from idea to published novel. Should we expect shortcuts to get from published novel to bestseller?

Readers are too intelligent to be duped without realizing it.

Hard work doesn’t have to be unpleasant work. It doesn’t have to suck. I enjoy writing, even when it gets hard.

Carl is the author of The Night Train. You can visit his blog where he writes about his writing journey and interviews authors. Just don't tell him I sent you! ;)


  1. First rule: Write a good book.
    Second rule: Be authentic
    Third rule: Pay it forward

    Thanks Carl!!

  2. This is so true. If it seems too easy, it usually is. <3

    1. It sure is, it's like that weight loss pill I bought ten years ago... ;)

  3. I'm a perpetual newbie when it comes to publishing. I'm still at the bottom looking up, and it's the cheap infomercial-type tricks that get my brain thinking. I have to turn them aside and refocus. Good and timely post. Thanks!


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