Friday, December 21, 2018

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—But Everyone Else is Cheating, Why Can’t I?

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

#3 in a series where I answer questions I suspect you are asking
Indie Author: But it’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to pad our books with extra paragraph spaces and big fonts and extra unrelated or repeat content to make them longer? Aren’t we supposed to add a link in the front that leads directly to the back to get easy page reads? Aren’t we supposed to buy reviews and use forbidden keywords? We’re supposed to be good stewards? This is just getting the most from our books, right? Besides everyone else is doing it. 




Please, don’t cheat. Please don’t game the system. Please don’t make a hundred little sacrifices of your integrity for the sake of an extra sale and tell yourself that everyone is doing it, your book’s message is doing more good than the rules are doing, or you need the money.

God doesn’t need you to cheat so that you will have enough money.
Matthew 6:31-32 says: So, do not worry saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Getting your book’s message out is not worth losing your integrity over.
Proverbs 1:9 warns us that “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Jesus himself said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence…” Matthew 23:25

And Proverbs 12:22 says, if those others aren’t clear enough, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.”

Do you want to delight the Lord or to you want to lie about the content of your book so that you can get a few more sales? I know which one I chose.

But isn’t everyone else doing it? How can I ever succeed if I don’t, too? Didn’t you hear from that person that that other person who is a best seller is doing it? Doesn’t his/her success mean God has blessed them so it’s okay to ignore Biblical admonitions against cheating, greed, and worldliness?

Matthew 7:14 reminds us that small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 

Would you ditch Jesus’s narrow way to get that easier salvation everyone else has? No? Then don’t follow the crowds for an easy buck, either. 

If you haven’t been tempted to cheat the system yet, praise God and pray for your fellow authors. The world is full of bad advisors who don’t care about your integrity and are happy to lead you astray. 

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—But Everyone Else is Cheating, Why Can’t I? @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

We don't need to cheat to succeed in publishing - wisdom from @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Other Posts in This Series
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—What If I Can't Do It? (Part 1)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—Aren’t All Indie Books Bad? (Part 2)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—But Everyone Else is Cheating, Why Can’t I? (Part 3) 
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—Help Pirates! (Part 4)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—I'm Ready for the Big Time! (Part 5)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at


  1. Thanks, Traci, for your call to integrity and your reminder that we can trust God to advance our careers in his perfect way.

    1. You are welcome. There really is nothing more important!

  2. Amen Ms. Traci. Am so naive; I didn't even know you could "game the system" like this. I so applaud your guidance this morning ma'am. At the end of the day, our integrity and our salvation are the only tangible assets we really have. These two are so tied together, I can't imagine being able to have one without the other. Thank you for this most valuable lesson. God's blessings and Merry CHRISTmas ma'am.

    1. Mary Christmas to you, too! Your integrity is the gift you can give yourself. :D

  3. A good reminder on a lot of levels. Sacrificing your integrity is never a good game plan, no matter how much you want to "win." Thanks, Traci!

  4. You're welcome! As you can tell, I feel strongly about this. I want all of us to be better than the world, even if we aren't quite as rich. :D