Sarah Painter is a bestselling author of magical fiction, including the Crow Investigations urban fantasy mystery series. She also writes non-fiction for introvert authors. Sarah lives in rural Scotland, drinks too much tea, and is the proud owner of a writing shed.

Stop Worrying; Start Selling by Sarah Painter

Do you want to sell more books? Terrified at the prospect of marketing and 'self promo'? Confused by author branding? Are you wondering whether it's worth all the time and money?

Bestselling novelist and host of the Worried Writer podcast, Sarah Painter, felt exactly the same way… Until she changed her mindset around marketing, money and selling her work.

From worried debut novelist with a traditional publisher to happy and empowered hybrid author, earning a healthy income and connecting with her readers, Sarah shares the tips, strategies and attitude changes which have helped her to succeed.

Sarah will show you how to:

• Treat your writing career as a business

• Value your creative work and earn more money

• Find the type of marketing which suits you and learn to embrace it

• Understand author branding

Plus much more!

Packed with Sarah's trademark honesty, this is your practical and supportive guide to taking control of your success as an author and building your readership.

Don't give into the starving artist myth: Stop Worrying and Start Selling today!



  • "An incredibly helpful companion for the reluctant marketer, the new writer, and the veteran writer looking to up their game."

    – Wendy Heard, author of The Kill Club
  • "Gentle, encouraging and no-nonsense."

    – Keris Stainton, author of The One Who’s Not The One
  • "Whether you're an author who loves marketing, or the mere mention of it sends you running for the hills, you'll find actionable, anxiety-soothing advice in Sarah Painter's STOP WORRYING; START SELLING. Sarah covers everything from smart productivity hacks to authentic self-promotion techniques so you can effectively market your work without wasting your time or selling your soul - and then get right back to writing!"

    – Layne Fargo, author of They Never Learn




1: Nobody Cares

In my position as wise old podcast host (stop sniggering at the back), I am privileged to receive regular messages from lots of writers at different stages of their career. Something which comes up time and time again is fear of failure. Whether this is when a writer is considering launching their book independently, or participating in a blog tour or cover reveal, or running a giveaway on social media, they say something like this:

'What if I put it out there and it nobody buys it/enters the competition/responds to my post? What if it just disappears without trace?'

And my very first thought is this: Nobody cares.

Now, hang on. I know that you care. And your friends and family are (hopefully) at least a little bit interested in your career. But, honestly, probably not hugely… I mean, how fascinated/invested/emotional are you about what they do at work?

But, really, in the wide scheme of things – people are busy, people are focused on their own lives and concerns, and many, many people are not even readers at all.

I am saying this not to be discouraging, but because it ought to be truly liberating. The fear that comes through, loud and clear, in the quote reproduced above (not a real comment, but an aggregate of many such messages I have seen and received), is based on the fear of failure. But if nobody will witness such a 'failure' then would we care as much? Would we be as worried? I would argue we would not.

If you remove the fear of embarrassment from the fear of failure, it diminishes. It's the difference between playing the violin poorly in the safety of your living room and playing it poorly on stage in front of a crowd.

So, if you internalise the reality of book publishing - that nobody is watching the fortunes of your book with the same hawk eye as you, then you free yourself from part of the fear of failure.

Don't think fear of failure is holding you back? One way to check if it is a factor is to imagine it's absence. What would you do with your day, your week, your life, if you were certain of success? What would you write today if you had a cast-iron guarantee that it would be 'good' or 'well received' or going to garner a huge advance or sales numbers?

What marketing would you do if it were guaranteed to work? And, more importantly, how much more positive would you feel about it?

Before we move on, I want you to imagine something… Imagine you could not fail. Imagine that I could guarantee that your book would make sales, gather some readers, get some good reviews. Would that give you a sense of relief? Would that ease your fears?

Be honest.

Despite what I said above, there is a chance it would not. At least not for more than a fleeting few seconds of peace and happiness. This is because your brain has already moved the goalposts on what 'failure' and therefore 'success' means. Your brain, having been guaranteed one measure of 'not a failure', will have instantly expanded that definition to include things not mentioned. What about getting reviewed in a national newspaper, perhaps, or winning an award.

I tackle this in the next chapter. For you to recognise success, you have to define it.


•Recognise that the world isn't watching

•Nobody cares about your book as much as you do

•Use the above to ease any fear of failure