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036 – 7 Differences Between Published and Unpublished Authors


What are some key differences between published and unpublished? This episode is based on Thomas’ broad observation of writers, and one of his most controversial blog posts of all time.

Talking Points:

Difference #1 – Consistency

  • Published authors wake up early and write every day. They put their big rocks in first.
  • Unpublished writers write sporadically, often at night.

Difference #2 – Purpose

  • Published authors write to educate, entertain or inspire others. They write to do something.
  • Unpublished authors write for themselves. They write to be somebody. There is nothing wrong with writing for yourself, as long as you are ok with only having one reader.

Difference #3 – Platform

  • Published authors have a platform that they start building years before their first book comes out.
  • Unpublished authors have little or no platform. Some don’t even know what a platform is.

Difference #4 – Reading

  • Published authors read books about writing and selling books.
  • Unpublished authors complain that the publishing world is ignoring their ground-breaking work.

Difference #5 – Work

  • Published authors know that the difference between Great and Lame lies in hard work. They know they must earn industry attention by being faithful in the little things (revisions, tweets, blog posts, magazine articles).
  • Unpublished authors feel that they are the next best thing just waiting to be discovered.

Difference #6 – Website

  • Published authors have a website usually
  • Unpublished authors have a free Blogger blog that they rarely update.

Difference #7 – Marketing

  • Published authors see marketing as part of their mission to entertain, help & inspire others.
  • Unpublished authors see marketing as their publisher’s job.

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7 Responses to 036 – 7 Differences Between Published and Unpublished Authors

  1. Jill July 8, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    I’m usually pretty drained after my 9-5 so my writing is usually limited to to weekends, usually Sunday. I can sit and write a few thousand words in a sitting which usually takes me about 5 hours. It doesn’t seem like much but I was able to finish my first draft in just under a year, so I guess that schedule works for me!
    Enjoying the podcast, keep it up.

  2. Holly July 9, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    Your podcast is absolute Gold! Love listening to it. You nailed all 7 differences. The contrast is so accurate and truthful, it stung a bit to hear them. Thanks for reminding me how to take my writing up a notch.

  3. Iola July 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Your forgot one group of ‘published’ author … the ones with a website at 🙂

    Great podcast. I don’t dare disagree.

  4. Peter DeHaan July 10, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Great list! I’m there are six of the seven items. Only #3, platform, is my nemesis. And, of course, that’s the hardest one to fix.

  5. Jamie S. Foley July 10, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Super helpful list. It’s absolutely accurate, and the only people who’d disagree are unpublished authors!

    Even though I struggle with being even remotely lucid before the crack of dawn, I see your point about setting time aside, and I’ll find a way… somehow…

    Keep up the awesome work!

  6. david sorani July 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    I have finished 4 adventure novels of my growing up years with my 2 best friends and my dog Tippy. I have learned one thing. Publishing your self is complicated, requires a huge learning curve and technology degree about using the internet to do a,b,c, and z and when that is done sponsor a facebook page, a blog an email campaign with mail chimp, find out how to effectively use google adwords and SEO, become a lawyer to understand how you are being fleeced by the publisher but do it anyway because they say they will do the above a-z for a price. I am sure there is more to do but my education has only brought me this far.

    My answer is pay 16,000 dollars to my publisher for my 4 books and pay for extra services they provide for stated costs. I am in the process of selling my soul so I can finance this.

    david the chatterbox.

  7. Rosemary Kind July 2, 2015 at 5:08 am #

    I’ve been working my way through all the episodes from the start and creating a very long action plan – which I am working my way through – thank you. Anyway, this podcast is telling me there is no file and won’t play – thought you’d want to know.

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