Ask an Expert: A Conversation with Bryan Robinson on How to Build a Successful Author Brand (Without Burning Out)

It’s important for authors to protect their mental health; like any other job, failing to care for your mental wellbeing can result in serious burnout. As an author and a psychotherapist, Bryan Robinson understands the unique challenges authors face when caring for their mental wellbeing. Robinson has successfully published numerous titles about combatting both workaholism and burnout, and taking care of yourself, including Chained to the Desk (4th edition – 2023), #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn on Your Life (2019), and Daily Writing Resilience (2018). Today on the blog, he’s sharing some of his top tips about how to build a successful author brand, while caring for your mental health.

  1. What’s your top piece of advice for writers when it comes to mental health?
    When you receive a rejection (and you will; every great writer has), don’t take it personally. You can’t have an up without a down, a right without a left, a success without a failure. Writing success is built on writing failure. That’s how you learned to walk. You fell down a few times when you were a toddler before you could walk and run on your own. Your mindset is essential for your success. So remember rejection and success are a package deal.
  2. Are there certain groups or resources you recommend for writers to help them protect and improve their mental health and wellbeing?
    My book, DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE is exactly for that. It has 365 readings to deal with all the obstacles writers encounter on their literary trajectory. Also joining organizations such as International Thriller Writers or Mystery Writers of America and conferences such as Killer Nashville are supports every writer needs to develop resilience and stay in the game. It’s a lonely enterprise and support is essential to boost your self-confidence.
  3. What’s something you wish someone had told you as a debut author?
    Your book isn’t as great as you think it is, but you can make it great with the right attitude, persistence, and skill. Perseverance is as important or more important than a well written book. Too many debut writers give up because they can’t take the hard knocks. If you want to see your writing in print, never give up, keep learning, and take that towel you want to throw in, wipe the sweat off your brow, and keep on plugging away. And you’ll get there.
  4. You are an expert at branding yourself as an expert. Why is “branding” important (particularly for nonfiction authors)? What tips would you offer to other writers who are seeking to publicly “brand” themselves as experts in the subjects they are writing on?
    You have to have a platform, credentials, or extensive experience to be an expert. Sometimes that takes years of schooling or years of practice so that you truly are an expert. If you don’t have one, the first step is to develop your platform by working as a consultant or a writer gratis to get the experience under your belt part. Then you have to promote yourself. That’s the sticky part. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you have a book, your expertise is part of the product. If you shy away from talking about yourself and your skills out of modesty, you’re sabotaging your branding. Of course, you have to be discreet. Nobody wants to hear someone drone on about how much they know about something. But you need to find that line where you feel comfortable promoting yourself without carpet bombing people with the promotions.
  5. Bonus: In your opinion, what does it mean to be a “successful” writer?
    It’s a life dream. When I was seven, I wrote stories to get away from a dysfunctional childhood. A teacher teaches, a doctor heals people, a realtor sells everyday. A successful writer writes everyday, not just on a whim. A successful writer pens their craft because they are passionate about writing, not because they want to be famous or rich. If you lose your passion and don’t consider it as a job, you’re dead meat.


Bryan E. Robinson is an author, psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is Chief Architect Officer (CAO) of ComfortZones Digital, Inc. He is a regular contributor to Killer Nashville Magazine, The Big Thrill, Thrive Global, and He has authored forty nonfiction books, including his latest, the 4th edition of Chained to the Desk (2023) and #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn on Your Life (2019). His books have been translated into fifteen languages, and he has written for over one-hundred professional journals and popular magazines. He has won two awards for writing and has lectured across the United States and throughout the world. His work has been featured on every major television network. Way DEAD Upon the Suwannee River has been made into a pilot for a television series under the name of Limestone Gumption, and he has completed the second novel in the series, She’ll Be KILLING ‘Round the Mountain. Robinson maintains a private clinical practice in Asheville, North Carolina and resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his spouse, four dogs, and occasional bears at night.

For more information, visit his website: and