26 January 2024

The Successful Writer’s Guide to a Guilt- and Success-Free New Year!


You're a winner, dude!

Photo by Japheth Mast on Unsplash

If you’re me (and I sincerely hope you’re not) the New Year is already weighing you down. Maybe you openly drafted some resolutions back in December that you hoped would sharpen and expand your writing career and author business. Maybe you merely dispatched a fervent wish heavenward to the Muse, asking for guidance as you prepared for a fresh twelve months. But here it is, the third week of January, and the fragile ladder to success you’d hoped to build is wobbling.

Frankly, it’s all just too much work, isn’t it? How are you supposed to write and edit the stories that move you, while holding down a “real” job, spending time with ones you love, wresting joy from this moment on earth, while still appeasing the Gods of Ceaseless Book Promotion?

Fear not, dear scribes! I spent a stupid amount of time between November and December scouring the internet for advice on the writing craft and its necessary evil, “business.” I delved into the state of book marketing, social-media-ing, and all the rest. I attended webinars, watched courses, absorbed podcasts, and connected with movers and shakers in the burgeoning new world of Author-Care Professionals. Here’s what I learned.

Be sure you follow every one of these pieces of advice. Your career depends on it.

It would seem logical that since humans write, and all humans are different, that everyone would have a different writing pace and working style. Don’t believe the hype! If you want to succeed in the writing racket, you must not only murder your darlings but also Unlearn Your Fuzzies. That is, the molly-coddling thoughts of working at a pace that’s “right” for you. Tough love, writers: There is no right for you. There is only one way—the Successful Way.

In the hot new world of churn-and-burn publishing, if you are not writing at least 10,000 words a day, you’re destined for failure. Stop listening to the fancy-pants bestsellers who say that they write 1,500 words in the morning, before ingesting a light lunch, brewing a mug of mint tea, and turning their attention to fan mail, tending to their author brand, and blah blah blah. They can play that game, because they’re tools of the man. The rest of us can’t. Luckily, several excellent books can teach you what you need to know. Maybe you start small, writing only 5,000 words a day before ramping up to 10,000. After consuming those reasonably priced ebooks, sign up for each author’s $797 course that will school you on the hot new world of “Rapid Release.” Some courses cost a little more, some a little less, but ones ending with 9 and 7 are the best.

Need help? Hire a developmental editor, accountability mentor, and a coach. You need all three on your “support team.” The best are aligned with quasi-academic institutions you may never have heard of, but all have placed at least one short story at prestigious publications. (“Prestigious” = markets paying in copies only.) Developmental editors charge $3,000 to assess your novel, mentors $3,000 to $5000 to be on-call annually, and coaches $100 an hour for virtual sessions. Beware professionals who quote round figures. Coaches who charge $197 an hour, for example, are the best.

Fearful of overspending? Get over it. What’s your career worth? Besides, you can use Assfirm or Blarna to pay it off in sixty-seven easy payments. Every dime is tax deductible. Take your credit card out of its holster, because you’re gonna need it.

If you’re launching a book, don’t just announce it on on Facepants, Twerper, and Instapork! Who are you, Grandma? Sign up for Megadon, Shreads, and BlueEarth, and DisChump as well. If you want followers to lay actual eyeballs on your announcements, you must pay to play! For as little as $2,797 or even $3,797, you can book an exciting package that will see you and your book feted by up to 30 blogs, and Instapork and DikTok channels. Your book has not lived until a 16-year-old influencer has sung its praises. I’m not going to say you’re a loser if you resist this new class of social media titans, but I just did!

Oh, and by the way, regarding your writing? Feel free to open with the weather! Research shows that Elmore Leonard’s books have never been celebrated by DikTok influencers. Nor did he ever plumb the lucrative reverse-harem romance, or dinosaur/werewolf erotica markets. Look where those missteps got him! Feel free to write entire books about the weather! The hot new thing in spicy romance is Nimbus-Cumulus-Stratus ménage à trois fiction!

True fact: Facepants and Junglezon have both recently debuted the exciting new world of AI-driven online marketing. No longer will you need to a) dream up clever copy, and b) hire a “human” designer to create book promo ads, and c) rack up stock image agency fees. Simply upload the entire text of your book to Facepants, and a legion of helpful bots will ingest your prose, generate clever ad copy—with images!—and populate their respective sites with instant ads touting your tome. Entrust these helpful corporate entities with your credit card digits and you’re good to go. They will spend your money in the most prudent way possible, or the bot’s name isn’t Bleep-Bleep-Ka-ching!

You know all those people who signed up for your newsletter six years ago, expecting you to write them once in a blue moon when you had a book out? Scrape those suckers off your boots, and get with the program—the hot new newsletter program, Gobstack, that is—and start spitting out newsletters three times a week. Enable the Monetize-The-Crap-Out-of-This function, and soon your adoring followers will have you rolling in sweet, sweet cash! The more you noodge, you more you earn!

Since Junglezon bought the ever-popular book site Goodbleeds, you can now offer book giveaways to your adoring potential readers. Upon payment of a very reasonable $599, your new book will be free to a select number of readers. (At press time, developers are trying hard to lower that price to $597 to align with the market.)

You will need some additional software to make your literary dreams come true. Sign up for your own website store, Flickstarter campaign, and AI art generation-cum-AI-cowriting software. Use the latter to craft sales copy, outline plots, and dream up ideas for future books—only. No one is suggesting that you use such things to write your own stories! That would be unethical.

With all these new author tools, you’re sure to succeed. But we understand that you may occasionally need a daily break between your first crop of 6,000 words and the second. By all means, step outside, stretch, and smell a freaking rose. Just make sure to snap a photo of that bud, and Instapork it as soon as you get back to the cockpit.


Joseph D’Agnese is a writer who occasionally writes fiction. If you squint real hard, the foregoing sorta could be.



  1. Amusing but true enough that I am happy to be semi-retired!

    1. I am happy to "coach" or "mentor" you through your realignment process, Janice!

  2. And I can hear the Great AI Leader spitting out the bytes needed to wrest the rest of your money out of your life, followed by a quick sale of your personal organs.
    Hilarious! But close to the truth...

    1. The amount of AI coverage right now is astonishing. A few years ago, I was still quite interested in the flurry of stories, so I paid attention and try to stay current. But the stream of info is so unceasing that I can't keep up. I don't know where all these stories are coming from. It's as if they were being spat out by some sort of...engine.

  3. You had me at "Instapork"! Truly entertaining read, with my third coffee of the day, Joseph.

    1. Melodie: Tell you what: Come back at the end of the day, and see how it reads with your third adult beverage of the day. (If you do imbibe, that is.) --Joe

  4. You're definitely not selling that book without a huge Instapork! following

  5. Wow, Mr Facepants, I had no idea what I was doing wrong and why success eluded me. Now with your simple 734-step program, I can achieve the level I always desired, all for a low fee of $799.00 (+ tax and shipping) in ten easy payments of $299 per month for 36 months. THANK YOU, Mr FacePants! Dial 1-800-234-…

    1. Help is only a dollar or two or 799 away, Leigh.


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