Monday, August 10, 2009

How do you measure success?

Would you rather have someone gush over your book, or sell a lot of copies?

Yeah, I know, both.

But what if you had to choose?

The reason I'm asking is that I actually had a couple of people gush over my book recently. One reader talked to my wife for over five minutes about how much he loved the story, especially the ending.

The other said that her husband had gotten upset with her because on a trip she was holed up in her room reading, instead of spending time with him. At one point she stayed up until 4am so that she could read the ending.

How cool is that?

I'm talking about my self-published airplane thriller. It's called "Lost in the Sky" and available on or on the Kindle.

Now this is one of my earlier books, and while I wouldn't consider it a bad book, based on what I know now, I could make it better.

I like the premise, I like the action, it's actually a fun read, but I am sure if I worked on it for a while, I could deepen the characters, and enhance the plot, but I don't want to. I want to work on the next one.

The novel hasn't been a raging success, but it also hasn't been a flop. I am sure if I put together a targeted marketing campaign, I could increase the sales. But I'm at the point where I want to write the next one instead of trying to market something I did long ago.

So back to the question. Gushing or commercial success?

I enjoy the gushing, quite a lot actually. What about you?


  1. It's interesting that you are ready to move on. I think that's a good sign, and I'm in a similar place. The most encouraging thing that I have heard about moving on from a novel that you have invested in is that that authors, once they are published, can--and do--find ways to make their previous work pay off. Maybe you draw ideas from it or even publish a revised version that is even better because of the skills developed over the years.

  2. It depends what you want, I guess. But sometimes gushing can lead to commercial success, because it encourages readers to pick up your next book.

  3. Commercial success. Okay, gushing is great, but I guess I"m thinking if it's a commercial success, there is probably gushing somewhere, just not reaching my ears. And I'm not so stuck on myself that I HAVE to have the gushing. The end product, sales, would be plenty for me:-)

  4. While I enjoy gushing, I would consider commercial success akin to gushing. It is just gushing with pocket books instead of words. I would like that type of gushing (the type with the sound being cha ching) the best :-P Now, that being said, it's only because, with commercial success would have to come with gushing of some form in order to have those people purchase the book. And that is why I would like it :) It would allude to a larger group of people enjoying my stuff :)

  5. Can "incredulous" and "discomforting" be a third and fourth choice?

  6. I would probably want a little bit of both, but if I absolutely had to chose I would go with commercial success, maybe even so far as a movie deal. But, on that note, where if your sales are doing pretty good, I would shop it around to traditional publishers to see if they would pick it up, or hire a marketing agency to try and spice up the sales while working on the next book. That's just me though.

  7. While I like gushing, if I had to choose, I'd go for commercial success. In the long run, commercial success would be of great benefit in promoting future works.

  8. so very cool to hear people are enjoying your book. but i love your attitude. it's time to move on to the next one. as writers we learn so much from every move we make, every word written, every scene deleted. although it's important to reflect, i think the only direction profitable (in any sense of the word) is forward.

  9. Commercial success. Definitely.
    Not that I've ever done either before (or finished a novel).

    My reasoning is that if it's a really good story that people WOULD forfeit sleep for, it will sell... won't it? Anyway, having a commercial success means a little less time having to keep your day job, so you can focus on what REALLY drives you to keep on living: Writing!


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