I recently listened to another writer lament about what she felt was a sparse number of books she sold in a month’s time. It was interesting because to me, her sales seemed quite good. It made me realize that everyone has a different “success-o-meter.”
The first month that I released a book, I did just that…I released my book. No lead up to it with blog tours, no posting of quotes, no giveaways…just me hitting that “publish” button. Was it any wonder that a day and then a week, and then a month went by and only a handful of close friends knew that I had even written a book. That’s right, a year of hard work and nobody knew about it. Call me naive, but I didn’t know how much pre-marketing was needed.
So let’s fast-forward a year-and-a-half and now analyze my sales after applying knowledge I’ve gained about pre-release marketing. It’s a definite improvement and I feel a measure of success. I get a little thrill every time someone downloads my book or requests it from a contest. Still, when I think back to my colleague, whose sales triple my own, I realize that success is all about perspective.
For me having gone through months with no sales whatsoever, now when I have regular sales I feel a great sense of accomplishment and knowledge gained. I’m satisfied. This doesn’t mean that I don’t strive for more. It doesn’t mean that I don’t dream of “best seller” status as much as the next author, but I do feel that I have achieved a sense of peace and well-being that my colleague can learn from.
To me, if you are a writer and seeing an upward climb in sales, regardless of how small, that is the definition of improvement. Let’s put this into perspective. If you are teaching your child to read, do you celebrate the small victories? Every letter they remember, every time they are able to put three or even four letters together to form a word is success. You don’t expect them to read Proust in second grade and nor should you be upset if your sales aren’t best-seller status.
Remember the reason you became a writer in the first place. Take pleasure in your victories no matter how small. I’ll bet they continue to grow.