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Measuring Success For Writers

Once you write a book, friends and family will promise to buy the book, confident you will get rich. However, when you get published the number of those people who actually buy it is very slim. Getting them to read it and post a review even harder. They have good intentions, but their lives are just too busy. Now you have to find a way to get other people to buy your work and suddenly the dream of being successful feels out of reach.


Authors can easily get distracted by scanning the internet looking for sure bets on how to sell their books and get rich. While a few lucky books get hit by the proverbial celebrity lightning strike, everyone else has to work hard to make a few dollars. It is easy to become discouraged by the selling process. Maybe it's time to reevaluate the definition of success.


Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

1. Don’t believe everything you read. Articles on the internet are many times outdated soon after they are posted. Google, Amazon, even bestseller lists, change their processes and algorithms regularly to prevent scams and to take advantage of the latest search and buying trends. Evaluate the advice by comparing it to several other articles. You'll find trends for information and can soon spot "novice" advice. Many of these people make money on giving advice which fuels their book sales.

2. Don’t stop writing. You got into this because you enjoyed letting the words form into sentences and paragraphs. Set aside time to write on a regular schedule to maintain the fun. You have to write if you want to sell something. But you don't have to sell it if you just enjoy the writing.

3. Read. Make time to read works from other writers. It will improve your own writing. And give back to that author by going online to review the work.

4. Many people don't have the ability to write a short story or even a novel. Be proud of writing. It is as valuable to the world as a great song or a funny movie.

5. Start with "free" advertising options like speaking opportunities, author interviews, social media, and encouraging those who buy/read your work to post reviews. Don't overspend on advertising. Test a bit and if you don't move the sales, don't continue. Remember, even the big 5 publishing houses are struggling to sell books. Be prepared for a slow drip of sales for a very long time and learn to enjoy each new reader's review.

6. As my friend Allan Gilbreath says, "write faster". Readers like a series so maybe finish 3 or 4 books before you publish the first one so you can set up a steady drop plan to gather more readers.


If you are only writing to make money, good luck. But if you are writing because you enjoy it then you are already a winner. If you sell a copy of your finished work you won the lottery! You are a successful author only if you believe it.

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