Quite often I speak with my clients and to audiences about successful books. I have to remember that every author has a different idea of success. For some, success means having a book become an Amazon best seller or a New York Times Best seller. For others, it means selling more than the average number of books most authors sell per year — about 300 copies. For still others, it means selling more than 3,000 during their book’s life time – better than average. And some authors feel successful if they simply get their book published so their friends and family can enjoy reading it. Others won’t be happy unless they sell 100,00+ and creating a speaking career around the book.
However, prior to actually writing or publishing a book you should get a picture of what success looks like to you. By defining publishing success you can set realistic goals for your book. These goals help you when it comes time to create a marketing plan, write a book proposal or promote your book as well. By taking this step first, you can determine if your book is a business or a fun project, a career step or an experiment.
When determining what publishing success means to you, examine what factors play into your book’s success. Then try to visualize success as an author. What would being a successful author look like to you? Try to create a visual picture of success for your book and describe it. See all aspects of success, including how your book’s success will affect you and any parts of your life or business, such as whether a successful book will increase sales of a product or service you offer, affect your free time or marriage, etc.. Pick a number of books you’d like to sell per year and include this figure in your vision of success.
To help you come up with a publishing success vision you can complete this sentence: For me, nonfiction book publishing success looks like…
Write as much as you like! Describe your success in detail.
Don’t forget to include this information:
My publishing success also includes selling ___________ books per year.
I’d like my book to sell ___________in its lifetime.
Consider placing this vision of success close to your computer and reading it often. This will keep you moving toward your goal of a successful book – whatever that looks like to you.
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