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Your Idea of Publishing Success and How to Achieve It

by Nina Amir

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 becoming 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.

Create a Vision of Your Publishing Success

To help you come up with a publishing success vision, complete this sentence:

For me, nonfiction book publishing success looks like…

You might write it in the past tense, as if you’ve already achieved the success. This can be very powerful—to see yourself as already a successful author.

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. It’s a good idea to read it ever morning when you wake up or start work and every evening when you complete work and just before you go to sleep. This will keep you moving toward your goal of a successful book – whatever that looks like to you.

You can also create a vision board or map of what success looks like to you. This can be a visual representation to help you get into a feeling place with publishing success and remind you daily.

Get From Your Vision to Reality

So, how do you get from the vision of being a successful author to the reality? Work backwards. Once you know what it looks like—how many books you want to sell, for example—figure out how you will accomplish that. Create a step-by-step plan to make it happen.

For each image or item in your vision of success, write down 3-5 things you can do (at a minimum) to help you achieve that goal. If you want to sell 5,000 books per year (or 500), for example, what will you do to accomplish that?

If you don’t know, write down:

  • Hire a coach.
  • Read 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, Write Your eBook or Other Short Book – Fast!, The Frugal Book Promoter, The Savvy Book Marketer’s series, and Guerilla Marketing for Writers.
  • Hire a PR or promotion expert.
  • Hire a social media coach.
  • Research the tactics used by bestselling authors.

You get the idea. Then create promotion plan for 3-6 months prior to publication of your book, 3-6 months after publication of your book, and 6-12 months after publication of your book. You might also want to have a plan for 1-3 years after release of your book. This is the kind of promotion plan that publisher are looking for in a book proposal. It’s quite simple really—just a list of bullet points that say how you will help sell your book. Whether you plan on self-publishing or becoming traditionally published, however, it’s your success plan. So, create one and then follow it.

When you combine this promotion plan with your written success vision and your vision board, publishing success comes more easily. You have a way to visualize your success and to feel as if you are successful already—so you get inspired and energized—and a way to take action to achieve success. If you still feel you need help, hire an coach to encourage you, provide you with additional help and to make you accountable for your action plan. Before you know it, you’ll be that successful author you dreamed of becoming.

Sharing is Caring!

We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to post your questions, comments, and stories below :)

About the Author

Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. The author of the Amazon bestseller How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books), she motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their purpose. You can sign up for a free book, author or blog-to-book coaching session with Nina or receive her FREE 5-Day Published Author Training Series by visiting

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About the Author, Judy Cullins

Book and Blog Coach Judy Cullins helps you gain confidence and transform your ideas into life-long money-making content. Author of 14 books for business people and authors include “Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!”Judy offers free, up-to-the minute weekly publications on book and blog writing and online marketing at

*You are welcome to reprint this article provided the above bio is included.

Published by Judy Cullins

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  • Tom

    I have been thinking about writing an ebook ever since I subscribed to Judy’s news letter. But, instead I started blogging. After reading Nina’s article, I can focus my efforts using her guidlines. I tried writting an ebook many times, but felt that it was not good enough to publish. I did manage to find some software that will format my ebook so it can be published on Amazon Kindle. I’ll apply Nina’s advice and see where it will take me.

    Tx – Tom

  • Cheryl Taylor

    Thank you for the info

  • Cheryl Taylor

    Thank you for the info, I will follow it for my books Broken Bones Volume 1 and 2.

  • Judy Cullins

    Ceryl, Sure hope you’ll start your eBook and get the multiple rewards. Any other quesions?

  • Judy Cullins

    Tom, good for you, finding that format for KIndle.I use my webmaster for that job.

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