Psychology of the Hater—Using our Naysayers to Fuel Greatness


All right, I spent last post addressing HuffPo’s latest snooty rant regarding self-publishing and that’s cool. I don’t like giving attention to haters and click-bait. But, I also know there are a lot of emerging writers who follow this blog, who are finding their way in this crazy world of publishing. I’m here to keep you ON FIRE and to tell you not to let ANYONE steal your sparkle.

So today I want to milk a bit more out of this horrible post, because I think we can all learn something that is going to make us all better. And baby we need to be better. This is a tough world and we gotta STICK AND MOVE! No time to stand still!

Love Your Haters

If everybody loves us we are doing something wrong. We are blasé. We are the mediocre middle and nobody cares or even notices the mediocre middle. It would be great to say that everybody loves me but the truth is? They don’t. Hell you haven’t really made it until a rag like Salon blogs about you and has to misquote you in order to get readers. Went through that fun last January. Fun times.

Same with you indies. You must be doing something right or why would so many folks feel the need to put you down?

If people are hating, it means we’re doing something worthwhile. And we can let haters drag us down or we can use it.

You want to spend a blog calling me a hack? THANK YOU for helping me out! I needed blog ideas for this week!

The Psychology of the Hater


Haters operate from a place of insecurity and fear. The thing is, I love the Big Five. Would I love to be a Random Penguin? Oh hell yeah! I dig the designer label. I’m vain. Not gonna lie about that.

Just like I know a Louis Vuitton purse doesn’t work any better than some plastic thing from Walmart, but I still want one 😀 .

Legacy has a place and it is a great business model for the right author with the right book at the right time. Sure The Martian started out self-pub, but it wasn’t the right book at the right time in the beginning for legacy. Once it evolved to a certain point? It was a great fit!

But that’s the thing…

Legacy is a business model not a religion.

When I read all these elitist rants about self-publishing, what I see is fear and insecurity. Want to know why? Because the writer who is truly doing well traditionally publishing is happy and busy and has no time to craft BS click-bait rants picking on others. They are too busy producing. They are secure.

And vice versa.

But when we subscribe to any form of publishing as a religion, it shines a light on our insecurity. I know writers who are all DOWN WITH GATEKEEPERS and DOWN WITH NY and you wanna know why? Deep down, they know they need a few craft classes and craft books. They are insecure with their ability to pass a gatekeeper on the merit of quality. So they dig in and chant that self-publishing is the only way because then, when they don’t sell any books, there are a lot of places to blame.

Oh, it’s the algorithms.

Oh, the only books that sell have mega marketing budgets.

Oh, I can’t compete with these legacy authors because they get all this PR and ads.

NY is just publishing crap. 

NY just wants mega-sellers like James Patterson.

Notice how all of these things are out of the control of the writer and all offer a convenient excuse. It gives a goooood reason for why the book is selling instead of maybe looking at the quality of the book and being honest.

Then, maybe if the writing is good? Sucking it up and being honest that we wrote a book there is not market for. Instead of whining that our ferret romance isn’t selling, maybe recognize the world may just not yet be ready for A Tale of Two Gerbils. We failed. We wrote a book for US and not readers.

So write another one. And another. And another.

Stick and move. Assess adapt and overcome.

But the same thing happens with the elites who all want to tout that “only traditionally published authors are ‘real’ authors.” Wanna know why? Because when these folks see that their book is #252,123 on the Amazon list, and no one is buying and no one is reviewing then at least they have small comfort in the fact that some gatekeeper somewhere thought they were special. It is the consolation prize for lackluster sales and not being able to quit the day job.

They strike out at the indies who are KILLING IT because deep down they are jealous.

There is NO Publishing Sugar Daddy


For the emerging author who wants to traditionally publish because magically someone is going to hold your hand and make you a success? That is a fairy tale. Even if we publish with NYC, if our name doesn’t rhyme with J.K. Rowling, we aren’t going to get the major marketing budgets and ads. It doesn’t make business sense for them to give that kind of cash and attention to a new author.

We gotta know the business of our BUSINESS.

Want to know why NY props up Barnes and Noble? Because they have an older business model with a high overhead. Amazon doesn’t do huge initial orders. They prefer to do small orders then used diminishing stock to prompt the sale. Only 5 left in stock.

Barnes & Noble, on the other hand, has to stock all these giant stores and so they do massive initial orders. Those initial orders are comprised of stock they know with pretty good certainty they can MOVE. This means UP FRONT CASH for the Big Five’s business operations.

This is why the Big Five do ads and big marketing for the James Pattersons. Patterson pays the bills. Kristen Lamb does not (yet) 😉 . They aren’t going to put as much energy into rocking Amazon because it doesn’t feed their business model as well as brick-and-mortar.

See once we “get” the business of our business we stop taking it personally and learn we gotta hustle.

This means that for the traditional author who is not yet Nora Roberts? They have to do the exact same stuff us indies are doing. They need to be on social media, they need to build a brand. They need to be educated enough to ask the tough questions of their publisher.

Hey, why does this book description not have the right keywords? When can we fix that?

Did you run a reverse ASIN tracking? Because I did and we don’t have any of the right keywords for folks looking for books like mine. Hell, they are finding that indie chick over there. How about me? 

How can I get fans excited about reviewing?

How can I mobilize people to talk about me in a positive way?

No, see it is way easier to sniff at us indies and tell us we are hacks than maybe it is to befriend an indie who is doing well and ask, “How are you doing what you are doing? Can you point me the right direction?”

Same with us indies. You see a traditional author who writes books so wonderful angels weep? Read them. Study them. Befriend them. Ask, “How did you learn to plot like that?”

Complain and Remain


It is easier to complain that so many wanna-be-writers are crapping up the world with bad books than it is to hustle and get to work. All of us are climbing through the same ranks. Someone who publishes a book so bad it makes my eyes bleed isn’t my concern because they aren’t my competition. And if the book is so bad my eyes bleed and they are selling a gazillion books? Then clearly they are better at something and what can I learn? Because I want to sell a gazillion books too.

Just remember the psychology of the hater.

If we are hating on someone else? I have a motto.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Instead of spending precious time and energy worrying about someone else? What can we do to focus on US? Why am I feeling insecure? What is bothering me? How can I address that? How can I overcome that and use my jealousy to make me better?

Because we ALL get jealous, even me.

If someone is hating on us?

It means we are shaking things up and hitting some button that makes that person insecure. OR, they know they can’t create something on their own that gets attention, but criticizing US does and the best they can get is riding OUR coattails. So again…

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I can’t hear what you are saying because I am already long gone 😉 .

What are your thoughts? Do you find yourself getting discouraged by haters? Are you giving them too much power? Do you find yourself griping and making excuses. Heck, I do! I just have learned to recognize it and STOP IT! Can you see where your complaints might give you good direction to solve what is really wrong?

Give us a testimony! You ever had a hater that propelled you to do great things? BRAG! Did you ever find yourself complaining and it taught you something that made you better? BRAG! Heck I did. I used to complain about not having enough tiiiime and it taught me to learn to manage my time. It showed me I was wasting my time. Again! BRAG!

And if you are feeling insecure about ANY of this, please take one of my classes (listed below). I have some amazing bundles that are not going to be available after this week. I have a Master’s series for Craft and a Master’s Series for social media and you LITERALLY get a free class (three classes for the price of TWO).

All you need to know to set 2017 ON FIRE. Don’t waste time griping social media doesn’t sell books. Come learn to do it well. The writers who make the most money have multiple titles. I can teach you how to be a plotting machine! Even the pantsers. Invest in you. I look forward to seeing you in class and a recording is provided with your purchase. All you need is an internet connection to attend.

I love hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Check out the Upcoming Classes

Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! 

All you need is an internet connection!


Branding Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE social media classes, ONE low price. Only $99. It is literally getting one class for FREE!!!! 

Craft Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE craft classes, ONE low price. Only $89. One class is FREE!!!! Includes my new class The Art of Character.

Individual Classes with MOI!

Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS January 6th

Plotting for Dummies January 7th, 2017

When your Name Alone Can SELL—Branding for Authors January 13th, 2017

Social Media for Authors January 14th, 2017

NEW CLASS!!!! The Art of Character January 27th, 2017

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on


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  1. Love it! I just linked it on my author Facebook page. And thanks to your prompting, I’m’a gonna create myself a pen name: A.A. Scowling. Can you say “Cha-Ching”?

  2. Writing is fueling me along as family problems are threatening to drag me down. I think you get the measure of a writer in how they respond to challenges. It’s tough, but I am definitely learning to power ahead regardless.

  3. Some great quotes here this time, and they help make great points.

  4. Once you have an accomplishment under your belt, nothing else really matters. Mature authors know that making a living by writing has ALWAYS been a near-impossibility: some of history’s most famous authors died penniless. And that’s not why we write anyway. One might say: “It’s the Art, stupid.”

    On a side note, here’s a takedown of traditional publishing you might not have seen:

  5. Reblogged this on Writing and Musing and commented:
    Love it! Stay positive!

    We have better things to do with our time than hate on others. All writers are in the same boat. We’re all trying to do the same thing and tearing each other down for doing it a different way helps no one at all.

    Sometimes I do feel insecure. I feel like I’m a failure compared to other writers with more readers or more books out there, but it’s better to figure what they’re doing right than to hate them for doing it.

  6. Reblogged this on Indie Lifer and commented:
    Excellent reading for anyone, not just writers. Favourite quote: “Instead of spending precious time and energy worrying about someone else? What can we do to focus on US? Why am I feeling insecure? What is bothering me? How can I address that? How can I overcome that and use my jealousy to make me better?”

  7. Reblogged this on S. G. Basu and commented:
    Of all the commentary that the HuffPo kerfuffle has generated, this is my favorite. The best quote-“There is NO publishing sugar daddy.”

  8. Positively LOVE this post! I chose be an Indie author. I know a NY Times bestselling author who lives relatively close to me and she recently became self published. Her name alone sells books.

    Self published it the way to go!

  9. absulutely love the haters

  10. Interesting how personal character needs to be cleaned up in ourselves as writers, prior to being able to hear the best from ourselves, and the best and the worst from others.

    • Jaimi Sorrell on January 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    • Reply

    Excellent post! And I am just cynical enough to believe that there’s a good chance HuffPo quite deliberately went looking for someone like Laurie Gough because posts like hers (and the other recent ones dumping on indie publishing) get them a LOT of eyeballs and engagement.

  11. So, there’s this THING…the collapse of ARe. I’ve been working on it for days. (yes, this is going to go to your blog, prescient as usual!). My anger at the situation made me have to go through something I was refusing to do–go through my bank account and my statements and justify them.

    My anger got me to look at it. My fear of being overwhelmed (I’ve got a problem with dyslexia with numbers, called dyscalcula, that causes me to fear math) kept me from doing that earlier.

    OMG, I had no idea where I was, how the series was doing, and now, since I did that in anger, I now see that I’ve got some REAL work to do with marketing and getting it out there a LOT more than I did in the past. I see some good stuff, the “freebie” book has sales but it’s not translating to the rest of the series. I’m trying to figure out what to do from there. I have an action list, a few items generated specifically from THIS BLOG post you did.

    Someday, when my husband is back to working for real money (substitute teaching isn’t real money), I’m going to have to take a class from you on how to do this better. Meantime, I keep reading everything I can by you because I DO learn from it.

    keywords, reverse AISN tracking…..gotta go figure this one out!


  12. Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire and commented:
    Great coaching Kristen. You hit the nail on the head~!

  13. This year I’ve got to stop complaining – not about publishing per se, but about everything else.

  14. Speaking of wasting time complaining, I tend to do it about the weather. I feel like I’m turning into a fussy old woman. But I get more writing done when it’s cold out, so I’m going to give up the complaints. I’m pretty good at not caring what others are thinking.

  15. I don’t read HuffPo so missed that one. I figure, a company that size that doesn’t pay their writers isn’t worth my time as a fiction writer or as a freelancer.

    Keep preachin’!

    • Claudia on January 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, I did not read the Huff text, I don’t read them, never, wouldn’t give them hits now. But your analysis is just right. Generally I am a scared little writer who has very little to no energy to face (waste on) haters, I tend to avoid conflict and exposition at all costs and, woman, how much I need your smart strategies. After all, no matter how much I like talking and writing to myself, how can I publish and sell the books I write from my hiding cave…

    BTW, I am one (of the many) who found you last year after that Salon situation. On the end that imbroglio brought you some faithful new warriors writers who were wandering the net lost and confused…

    I wish I wrote in English, so I could send you some of my pages.

    Happy new year.

  16. The fear also represents change. If you think about it, this change has occurred over about 10 years, and it’s turned everything inside out. A lot of people don’t like change and it’s a safety net. Even gatekeepers are a form of a safety net. But gatekeeper thinking is coming from the typewriter era. Once computers got involved, writers could produce more–but the publishing industry stayed stuck where it was. Once ePublishing came into play, everything broke lose, and it’s scaring people. Safety net is gone.

  17. I love my haters. They have made the most free publicity for my film company. If you ever want lots of attention, piss of the ‘Beliebers.’ They are invaluable 😉

  18. I haven’t earned any haters yet.

    ASIN? Off to Google that!

  19. One also has to examine the external locus of control for haters and blamers. I’m currently doing that in a short story about the inner mental workings of an internet troll.
    Granted, Gough is not the classic basement-dwelling-kool-aid-sipping-troll, but there does seem to be a common thread between them.

  20. I had an agent tell me how terrible my book was and basically that she hated it. When I ran into her at another conference a year later, she remembered me and my book. She still didn’t like it but she remembered it.

  21. Duuuuuuuude. I loved this. I don’t have many cyber haters most of them are liv and in person and I just use them as fuel … M the kind of person where stuff like that drives me even more. It’s funny. My supporters are great I love them they give me “the juice” …. Haters just keep me going. Plus I LOVE your complain quite I had never heard that one before I’m gonna have to save and post it up as inspiration just in case I fall off the wagon one day 🙂 have a good one 🙂

  22. You can piss off all of the haters some of the time, and some of the haters all of the time, but you can’t piss off all of the haters all of the time. It’s too bad, too. It’s like when the Roman Catholic Church bans a film. Everybody goes to see it.
    Hey, just spell my name right.
    Happy trails.

  23. I really enjoyed reading this! And I was complaining yesterday, even though I know better, but I am now reminded! Very interesting and motivating.

  24. Great post. You nailed it about the haters — on both sides. Can anyone clue me in on what “reverse ASIN tracking” is?

  25. Kristen,
    I’ve really been enjoying your book, Rise of the Machines! I am a new author and my manuscript is in the hands of three traditional publishers, but the process is LONG. You have awakened my mind to Indie and I am so appreciative! So, your book has raised a very traumatic question for me… Why do the consignment bookstores rip off the covers before they send them back!!!! I am having nightmares over this!!! 😉

  26. Reblogged this on Kat's Writing Runway and commented:
    Great post by Kristin Lamb: “Stay on fire, never let anyone steal your sparkle.” If you don’t at first succeed, try, try again. Nothing great ever came easy. What most people never see when you succeed, is all the times you bloodied your nose and fell on your knees only to get right back up again and keep going. To be a writer takes discipline, tenatcity, sticktoitiveness, and persistency. It helps to have a lot of energy too, which is why you must take care of yourself. And it think one thing that is a must is you must have autonomy, you must be able to work on your own and alone with out anyone telling you what to do. It has to be a hunger built inside you or one that grows inside you to keep you motivated to learn, watch, read and most importantly write that book that needs to be written. Someone WILL write it; but you are the only one who can write YOUR unique story. Make it you, Make it happen. Don’t edit, don’t rewrite, don’t critique, just WRITE.

  27. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Let this post from Sacha Black help you turn that negativity into an advantage

  28. No matter how you end up publishing, the work doesn’t stop. And the work of marketing should begin long before the book hits the printer.

  29. Kristen. No hating here. I love your blog posts! I save them, and if I’m worried about a writing issue I look back through them. Thank you for dropping into my life from time to time and reminding me about what matters.

  30. THIS is what it’s all about. Haters gonna hate, and we just have to use them as fuel. Thank you again for your words of wisdom, Kristen. I reblogged on 🙂

  31. Your comment about gates reminded of this slightly off-color scene.

  32. There’s two things I kept thinking about as I read this article. 1) Both traditional publishing and self publishing have their merits. We should do what is best for us regardless of what others say. The same goes for our writing styles. One person might hate your style while another might love it. Don’t let the one hater stop you. 2) Sometimes the hater is jealous. But sometimes those negative comments have merit. We have to try to discern what is what. One person who read the first draft of my unpublished novel was a class-A jerk with his comments. At first, I took it all to heart. But then other people’s reviews came in and they were far more constructive. I realized some criticisms from the hater were actually valid because they were much the same as with the other reviewers. At the same time, though, some of the haters comments were simply based on his own preferences as to what a novel should be like. They had no merit in my mind because some of the things he didn’t like, the other reviewers loved.

  33. Reblogged this on Didi Oviatt and commented:
    I love everything about this post! It’s jam packed with must read truths about self published AND traditionally published facts and comparisons.. it doesn’t matter if your a new OR seasoned author there is something to learn!!

  34. Love this! Really got a feel of your enthusiasm 🙂 I’ve just started my blog which summarises the most fascinating findings in Psychology. Please check it out, I’d very much appreciate it:

    • Jan S. Gephardt on January 24, 2017 at 6:53 pm
    • Reply

    Speaking of getting readers “excited about writing reviews,” I am the Communications Officer for the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, and I’ve been working hard to get our new “Reviewers’ Reading Circle” program off the ground–precisely for the purpose of generating reviews for new or indie authors who need them.

    The deal is that roughly 60 dues-paid KaCSFFS members get free access to downloadable REVIEW COPIES of a new or indie author’s novel (just one) for a month or two (depends on the deal we’ve worked out). We kick off the “reading time period” with a promotional announcement at one of our monthly meetings, posts on our club’s Facebook page, and on our blog. After that, we provide the appropriate download link(s) to our members-only list.

    We finish the “reading period” with a FaceTime or Skype interview with the author during a subsequent meeting, to discuss the book. We close with another blog post/Facebook notice about the book, and we strongly encourage members to write reviews (we even supply hashtag suggestions).

    So far, we’ve featured a YA science fiction book and a fantasy adventure, and we’ve had a couple of GREAT interviews–but I have no idea how many actual reviews this effort engendered (It WAS good publicity for both books, anyway). This month we have another selection–Military science fiction with a dose of horror/intrigue.

    We are looking for well-written work by emerging and indie authors in our sf, fantasy, horror, and “speculative fiction” genres, who think this program might work for them. Kristen, if any of your readers would like to submit works to be considered for this program, they can email We’re a social/literary club that makes no money with this program–part of our mission is to spread the word about works of art in our genres.

    1. That sounds like a fantastic effort! Thanks so much for letting us know 😀 .

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