As you discover how the book business works, you’ll notice that many, if not most, other writers sit around fantasizing about success without doing much to achieve it. You’ll see how assiduously they avoid certain aspects of the business of writing, because they don’t want to confront their weaknesses. At some point it will become obvious to you which writer is a professional and which one never will be. You might eventually forget what it was like to be unaware of the difference.
No one will ever demand that you do what you need to do to be a successful author. People simply will give up on you and invest in someone who’s more prepared. You’re expected to recognize the opportunities and carry out the work because you understand the nature of the competition. There’s no shortage of useful information for writers who are motivated to learn about the book business, and the learning never stops.
If you’re waiting for someone to tell you what to do, then you’re a person who makes excuses. You’re not fooling anyone.
Procrastination comes off as a lack of enthusiasm or, worse, learned helplessness. If you’re in a rut, get out of it! Waiting for guidance instead of researching and developing your own professional strategies is self-defeating. You are empowered to make of your writing career what you want it to be.
Agents and acquiring editors, for example, can’t assume there will be improvement in your online presence and your ability to help with book promotion. All they see when making their decisions is what’s discoverable at the precise moment they consider your manuscript.
If your goal is to be a book author whose books actually sell, then begin by identifying other creators who are good at self-promotion and whose results are worthy of your admiration. Learn from everyone. Some musicians and journalists are great at leveraging social media. You’ll find role models in many industries other than book publishing.
Your best results will come from innovating, because you’re more noticeable when you’re out in front of the crowd.