This is Part 4 of a four-part series reporting on the “Why Haven’t You Written Your Book?” survey we offered last year. You can read Part 3 here.
I would consider my book to be a success if …
The answers we received showed a clear distribution of the responses. Here is how all of the answers ranked:
- I get it finished and published.
- I sell X number of copies during the first year.
- I get X positive reviews for it on Amazon/Goodreads.
- My friends and family all buy copies of it.
Based on these results, we might conclude that writers:
- are far more interested in actually completing their book and seeing it published than selling a specific number of copies or receiving a certain number of reviews. That sense of accomplishment appears to drive many writers more than any of the other factors we measured.
- measure a great deal of their success by looking at the number of copies of their books have been sold. Based on our experience, each author has a different number in mind. Some authors are satisfied if only a few dozen copies are sold, while others measure their success in the hundreds or thousands of copies. (Of course, what author would dislike that?)
- value review feedback. It helps them to know whether they have reached an audience and also what readers responded to — both positively and negatively. While a less-than-favorable review might sting, it can often provide valuable insights.
- would like to see those close to them purchase copies of their books, but this is not the highest criteria by which they will measure the success of their work. This makes sense, as we expect our family and friends to support us in our efforts (and many of them are probably getting free copies anyway).