by John F. Harnish
What is success? Posing that question to different people will result in different answers. It’s an achievement, certainly, but achievements are subjective; to a published author, “success” may be defined as selling a single book; to another, “success” may be getting their name on the bestseller list. Everyone has an idea about what success looks likes for them. But the “looks” of success are as fleeting as fashion trends. Milestones marking the accomplishments of others are often imposed as a solid mark of successes. But those markers should only serve as guidelines, for success varies from person to person.
Authors frequently ask how many books have to sell to be considered a bestseller. If you define success as receiving a return on your investment, then when you cross the breakeven-point you’ve succeeded in earning a profit. Lasting success can come from informative books that were written to improve the quality of life with practical insight focused on helping to fix real world problems. There’s a special sense of satisfaction in knowing that your book provides the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of your readers.
Success in publishing isn’t always measured by numbers of books sold. The most important thing about success is that it is defined as you need your success to be. The touch-stones of your successes are more omnipotent than the worn milestones marking the past achievements of others. For some authors, having their books selling consistently month-after-month is more important than having a brief moment as a bestseller. Other authors are happy with the success of selling a few hundred copies to family and friends.
Some authors feel successful when their published book is the springboard that propels them into a lucrative contract with a mainstream publishing house. Others know the security of a different kind of success when their book goes out-of-print with a traditional publisher and the author is able to continue to benefit from their efforts by re-releasing the book through Infinity Publishing.
Everyone has a different notion of what sweet success tastes like to them. Your publishing accomplishments depend entirely on how you envision success and your ability to do the ongoing work in order to bring your success to fruition. Sometimes the very best measurement of success comes with that warm feeling deep inside when you know you’ve done good!!!
Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero.