How do you count success?

How do you count success?

An envelop was waiting for me when I arrived home from the airport on Wednesday.  It was my first sales and royalty statement from Wiley. 

Sales is a key indicator of success for many authors. “How are sales going?” is the number one question I am asked about my book. 

Wiley’s Canadian Sales VP had educated me  about how this market worked. She said that unlike fiction books that have a six month launch period, business books have an 18 to 24 month selling window. “Don’t expect huge sales from your first book in the first three months,” she counselled. This was good to know, but I wanted them anyway. What better way to define success?

My publicist had also shared that 95 percent of business books sell less than 500 copies in total. Good to know. Not what I wanted to hear, but good to know.

In the first three months, Change with Confidence had sold 1,484 copies, 1,286 in the US and Canada and 178 in other countries. I felt relieved and grateful. 

The next day, I noticed that this good feeling wasn’t as pleasurable or intense as  the ones I experience after reading an email from a reader or review . 

Perhaps the difference between them is emotion. There is little emotion in a spreadsheet, but  a huge amount in hearing personal stories, reading someone’s views, or forming relationships. They are full of meaning and their effects last longer. 

In life, we are taught to set goals and measure progress. Our sense of achievement is tied to our ambitions and how we measure them. Perhaps we should spend more time identifying the dimensions of progress and then measure all of them. The numerical ones are important but the emotional ones are too.



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