According to Earl Nightingale, the definition of success (and I agree) is, “The progressive realization of a worthy goal.”
Over the past couple months more than a thousand readers have downloaded free promotional copies of my Kindle eBooks.
Is that success?
Well, I’m trying to build a career with my fiction. And career means – gainfully employed. And all those promotional copies earn me absolutely nothing. Zero dollars and zero cents.
Indie published writers actually selling lots of copies of their books tell me free promos lead to more purchases. Over time. It’s the long tail theory of business. It takes time to build a brand and it takes time for customers (readers) to find you. So, I take
the advice I’ve tried to instill in my daughters – keep moving forward.
I have a background in marketing for financial services. And the main thing I’ve learned since returning to my first love – writing, is that marketing for books is different. Tell people enough times that you have a service that could help them and eventually you’ll start generating business.
Tell people enough times that you have a book for sale and eventually they’ll come to hate you and never buy your book. Plus,
they’ll tell all their friends not to buy your book.
According to all the experts in writing, the best marketing is simply writing the next book. Just make sure you provide a quality
product. (A good read.) But that brings me back to the first question.
Is that success?
Two facets, here. First, Nightingale’s success definition highlights, “progressive realization”.
Am I progressing? Every month more and more readers take advantage of my free promos. So, yes, I’m progressing. And as I progress the definitions of my goals change to reflect current realities.
Second, in descending order of units downloaded, my Amazon Kindle Free Promo reports look like this.
US – Canada – United Kingdom – Spain – Brazil – Japan.
That means readers in all those countries have downloaded copies of my various stories. Japan for crying out loud.
I’m international, which is something I never considered when I started my new career. (The one I chose in 1972.)
In the early 1980s I got nothing but rejection slips from major magazines for stories I’d submitted. That’s normal, but it was still discouraging. I’d lay awake at night and think, “I take words of the English language, print them on sheets of paper, and actually expect people to pay good money to read those words.”
Of course, readers don’t pay just for the words. They pay for the order in which the words are arranged. I just used that for self-pity.
But then, the next day I’d head back to my typewriter and start another story. I'm doing that, again. Heading back to my word processor and starting another story.
When I was in high school I told my dad I was going to be a writer. And then for almost forty years I put that goal on hold as I busted my ass striving to make a success of other men’s companies.
Now, I don’t begrudge those other men. One of them is a good friend of mine. Still, I never worked as hard for me as I worked for other people. I’m changing that.
Some people might say that my results from the 1980s are about the same as my results today.
Those people would be wrong.
Still, sometimes I get a little melancholy because I wasted so much time and never got to tell my dad, “Japan for crying out loud.”