Thursday, October 6, 2016

Know Your Strengths and Admit Your Weaknesses #AmWriting

In the age of the internet, we'd all like to think we can simply Google something or look it up on YouTube to magically become an expert on all things. People now go to WebMd to self-diagnose or watch a how-to video and think they can be their own mechanic. I've been guilty of some of this myself so I get it. But there always comes a point where we need to realize that we may not know everything. 

Just like the defendant who represents himself in court instead of hiring a lawyer because he thinks he is smarter than someone who went to law school, a writer who believes they are a jack-of-all-trades is a fool.

Marketing? Oh, yeah, I can do that. Who needs to learn the ins and outs of copywriting? I wrote a novel so I can write persuasive marketing copy! Maybe...but maybe not.

Graphics? Oh, yeah, I can do that. I am smart. I can do anything! While I love a positive attitude--I sincerely do--a great artist can't be underestimated. Design is a skill. That's why there are schools for it and art courses and books on the subject. I can't draw to save my life, unless it's a stick figure drawing competition.

Editing? Even editors need editors! I'm serious. Too many writers think they can self-edit, but they are only looking for typos (which is proofreading, not deep editing). They think because they write in a genre where "crap" reigns supreme that they don't need to invest in an editor. Well, if you want to write crap and are comfortable with crap being associated with your name, go ahead.

But this is where you need to stop obsessing over yourself and start thinking about your competitors. Do they have stellar covers? Does their marketing copy snap and sizzle? Are their graphics spot-on? Do they have an editor that they are constantly thanking or talking about sending their work to? I bet they do.

Smart people embrace their strengths and admit their weaknesses. They delegate. They know they can't realistically do everything well so they choose to focus on where they excel and seek out experts for the rest.

Simply because it's easy to Google something or look it up on YouTube doesn't mean that you really are an expert. You may be smart--and I'm sure you are talented--and perhaps you can learn new things easily and quickly. But are you better than the pro who's been doing *insert the task* for a decade, who went to school for it, who is passionate about it? Probably not.

Let go of your ego. Be truthful with yourself about where you're an expert and where you're a novice. No money for a cover artist? Plan ahead and save for one. No money for a professional editor--or afraid you won't earn the money back? Plan ahead and save for one--and also save for a marketing budget. Not sure writing effective ad copy is your thing? Take a course or hire your editor to help you out.

At the end of the day, writing is a business. You are the CEO of that business. All good business owners know the value of hiring good people to help them succeed. All good businesses knows the value of marketing as well, yet too many authors whine that their books aren't selling even though they are doing little to nothing to promote it. (or they're doing the wrong things)

Which brings me to another service--Virtual Assistants. No time to market? Hire one. They seem to be everywhere these days.

Don't fall into the trap of excuses because, as I have laid out, there is a solution to every problem.

To sum up: you are not perfect. None of us are. Ask yourself what you're an expert at and cultivate that so you become the best you can be. With everything else, learn to delegate, develop a budget, and invest in your ultimate success.

Write on!
AL Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing and Creative Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing and Creative Services, please go to For a list of all of Easton's books, journals, articles and interviews, go to


  1. Yes, this is a problem I have. Trying to do it all myself. I'm learning to outsource some things. But it's hard to let go and let others help.

  2. I'm not sure I'm an expert at ANY of it. In fact, one day what I think I know and am good at almost changes instantaneously. What I do know is this. I won't give up. Not yet anyway! Thank you.