My husband has described me as a terrier. When I get hold of an idea, it’s hard for me to let go of it. My rational mind may know better (Spock, remember?) but emotionally, it’s hard for me to let go of a goal.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wanting the same phenomenal success that John Locke, J.A Konrath, and Bella Andre have experienced. But I’m not John, Joe, or Bella. I’m not at the same place in my career that they are. I don’t write the same kind of books they write. I don’t put my promotional efforts in the same places with the same force that they do. And neither do you.
We’re all unique. With unique strengths, weaknesses, and demands on our time. With our own measure of luck. Self-publishing is so new, and is changing so rapidly, that we look to each other to see what’s possible and how to do it. We’re lucky indeed to have great examples of success in these people, but we probably shouldn’t measure our own progress against them too closely.
We each have unique values, about what is important to us in our lives, and we can’t afford to ignore them in favor of putting all of our energy into publishing. Success is more than the number of books we sell, even if the latter is more easily measured. Success can be a healthy body, a happy home, great food on the table.
As readers of this blog know, I take self-publishing seriously as a business. Starting a new business is demanding, and we all want to see our efforts bear fruit. Unfortunately, sales are not something we have direct control over, and as such, should only be a small part of how we measure our success. We can control the quality of our books, and how many book reviewers we petition, and how often we blog or tweet, but we can’t control whether someone buys our books. We can only make our books attractive and easy to purchase.
So measure what you have control over, and let your values be your guide. Your book sales may indicate whether what you’re doing is effective, but shouldn’t be the only measure of your success.
And remember: have fun. That’s one of my values.