What is success anyway? It is clearly different for everyone although we don’t always label it that way. When embarking on a journey of writing and publishing a book, setting up guideposts along the way can make the weeks, months and sometimes years more of a pleasure cruise than a pressure-filled experience. Here are different ways authors can find success.

Book sales

Who among us hasn’t dreamed of our book being counted among the best-sellers? Grisham, Patterson and you. But, for most of us, without the clout of fame and notoriety, our goals are more modest. It could be that we want to cut back our work hours, pay for vacation, treat ourselves to a few fancy dinners or maybe just break even on the project. If book sales are the primary factor in determining success, quantify it. How many books will it take for you to feel successful? More importantly, how will you make that happen?

Indirect Profits

Perhaps book sales are not the reason you wrote the book in the first place. If you own a business, credibility, authenticity and thought leadership were driving factors for writing the book. In order to capitalize on the time and investment, you determine success by the increase in business sales. Sales can be found in many forms: number of clients, speaking engagements, consulting opportunities, partnerships with other people or organizations or teaching opportunities, just to name a few. If increase in business is your primary goal, what does that look like? Imagine your day, week or year. Is your marketing directed toward achieving that goal? How about your time?

Impact on others

Maybe success is not determined by money at all. Success for you can be found in the number or the depth in which your book affects people. That could be just one person or millions of people. You might value how the book helps others learn or overcome something, entertains or inspires them or even changes the way they think. If your impact on others is the primary factor in determining success, how will you get your book or your message to the people that will benefit from it the most?

Impact on ourselves

For many authors, success is derived primarily from the process of writing and publishing a book. Holding a book bearing your name is the ultimate thrill ride. There is an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that is rivaled by few things. Perseverance through obstacles, doubt and long-term commitment is worthy of dancing in the rain. It is that bucket list item I hear over and over again from aspiring authors. It is also a lasting physical preservation of your legacy. It might be the memories you share with family, your expertise about an industry or even the book itself that lives beyond our time. But, what may the biggest factor is the impact writing a book has on other areas of your life. Watch out! You may just feel like Superman!

Success doesn’t just happen. Define what success means for you and then create a plan to achieve it. The sooner in the process you focus on the goals the more likely you are to achieve them.

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What does success look like to you?


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