What Is Success? Looking At What Makes Your Book Important


The end of the year, you always look back. What I seem to be looking back on is the success I’ve had as an Indie Children’s author. Really pondering, if I had any success at all.

Then, I downloaded an ebook to help with that ever elusive book marketing that all authors are faced with. Again, I think of the choices I made choosing a drama degree instead of marketing which would have fed my love of promotions back in college. I smile about this as I turn back to the ebook. After all, I didn’t find out about this fact until my senior year. Who would change majors then? I get back to the book.

Advanced Book Marketing by E.J. Thornton states an idea. I was considering the answer to being successful as an author. Was I successful? When I read it, I felt the “Ah Ha” moment take hold. At the 9% point in the book, noting of course it’s an ebook, is this quote:
“The third and most important objective of a book is getting it read by someone other than your mother!”

Really, it goes on to state how important it is. In fact, it is the single most important reason why someone writes, that someone, a magical reader that might like and enjoy it, will read your story, book, article, manifesto. And I agree. It is the most important reason in the end. Not that an editor reads and buys it or that you self-publish it, but that you’ve gotten it to the masses of readers out there to read. If you write it and publish it, it will get read.

This brings me to the point of what is success? In terms of being a writer, it must be that someone reads your book. So, if this be true, than anyway that you can get people to read your writing makes it a success. Whether you self-publish, get signed by a small or micropublisher, or even one of the Big 6 publishers, your book will get read. But then, it comes down to numbers. You want a grand, large, mammoth, sizable, humongous, gargantuan amount of people to read your book.

So, then one must reflect, am I successful?

Step one: Yes, you are successful if you have published and people are reading your book. It’s out there, no longer on your shelf collecting dust, or waiting for months in a slush pile at the bottom of an editorial assistant’s desk. Good start.

Step Two: Do you have an internet presence? Website, blog, listings at multiple websites? Interviews on blogs, book reviews, and even the very occasional email or message from an actual reader(of course being the cause for great celebration when ever you get one) all spell success.

Step Three: How great is your success? The measurement of how grand all this is depends on what you want to do with your writing. Of course, having it recommended by the Oprah Book Club might be considered more successful than an interview on a Mom Book Club blog. But, a mention is a mention. Word of mouth is key. The internet is a big mouth. Cram it full of things spoken about your book and soon, hopefully, it won’t shut up.

Did I make it? Am I successful? I answer loudly for the world, yes. 2011 has been an up and down year of success for me. I’ve done interviews, got a few more reviews, sold some books, and participated in a book festival. This all measures as something to promote myself and my books. It’s out there. People are reading it. Oh yes, books. I have two now.

As I look towards the next year, it is filled with the promise of getting my third book out there for others to read. Key to this thought, I have a third book I’m working on. This leads to my overall thought that drives me to keep going, keep writing. Nothing will happen if you don’t do that.

And who knows? With a New Year ready to break forward, anything could happen. But mostly, I’ll keep writing. After all, I have readers waiting for a third book. I don’t want to disappoint them. And that’s the greatest measure of success. I’ve got readers.


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