Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For Writers: AA—Avoiding Average

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

While working my first real job, a supervisor made a comment that has stuck with me over the years—more like haunted me. He said, “Average is the best of the worst, and the worst of the best.”

Ouch. Not where I want to be. But I have to ask myself, how many writers are content with average writing? Publishers have a few top selling writers, but they have far more who sell consistently a lesser amount of books.  Average writers pay the bills and best sellers are the perk. Although it’s nice to be needed, who wants to be shoved into a category as . . . the best of the worst and the worst of the best?
Average book sales are not glamorous. Neither do average writers have top placement on retailer’s book shelves. How many average writers are subjects of interviews and first picks as speakers for writer’s conferences? Not many.

So how do we avoid average status in the publishing world? The easy response is to write a phenomenal book and sell a bunch of them. The challenge lies in how to rise to the best selling level. Here are four simple words to avoid average.

Acknowledge - We are the one responsible to change our writer status. I believe in prayer for wisdom and direction. A plan’s needed, and it will take time, effort, and lots of research to discover what works for each writer’s personality, brand, type of manuscript, and relationship with readers.

Accept - We all have strengths and challenges. For many writers, promotion is not an easy task. A professional writer lists the areas in marketing and promotion that require help and make adjustments. Sometimes this means paying for instruction.

Apply - This means understanding word of mouth is the best way to sell books and seek ways to include this in a platform. When a writer discovers the passion behind wanting those book sales is to enhance a reader’s life, the work has purpose.

Accomplish - Do the work and don’t be afraid of trying new things and abandoning those areas which are not productive. Measuring success isn’t always easy. Online sources use analytics to show click throughs, and certainly online book sales can give numbers. But it’s a mix of efforts that bring exposure, some more than others.

“Too often marketers dive right into the building and executing of plans without taking the needed time to properly strategize and think about how they are going to measure the results of their campaigns.” C.C. Chapman

Do you dream of better than average book sales? Take a look at your current marketing and promotion. Are any of the methods archaic? Are poor results defeating your enthusiasm?

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Take an analytical view of your book sales. Choose to acknowledge, accept, apply, and accomplish results.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. Great post, DiAnn! Love your title and unforgettable points! A+

  2. Thank you! Who wants to be average anyway?

  3. Such encouraging thoughts! Thank you!

  4. Awesome points, DiAnn! Thanks for your usual inspiring words of wisdom. Yes, we definitely want to be above average!