Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: How Do You Define Your Success?

A manuscript ready for publication. Is this your definition of success?The process of writing and publishing are, understandably, linked. Successful writers are successful because their works became available to the general public and they sold lots of copies. However, as a writer, it may be time to take the focus off of publishing.

The key to being a writer is to write. To that end, defining your successfulness as a writer should be easy. Writers write things. Yet, we’re pushed by the desire to see our books take flight. So, we shift our focus from the act of writing to the act of pitching and querying. Publishing becomes the brunt of our focus as we strain to achieve the traditional model of publishing success.

Often times, this leads writers to become disenchanted with the writing process. Frustrated by agent rejection and the seemingly impossible task of landing one of the Big Six publishers solo, writers come to believe they don’t actually possess the ability to write and put down their pens (or close their laptops). This disenchantment, however, is misplaced.

If you’re among the ranks of writers who feel like you’ll never find success, it may be that you’re frustrated – not with writing – but with publishing. And here’s what you can do about it:

Redefine Success

Instead of focusing on publishing and the NYT Bestseller List as your personal definition of success, focus on the writing. That is, after all, what writers are supposed to do. The story can be your success. Whether it’s a novel, a self-help book, or a business how-to, there is satisfaction and success to be found in the completion and perfection of your work. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t chase your dream of publishing. Instead, consider publication with a traditional publisher one of many possible destinations, rather than the ultimate one.

Bring in the Pros

If you believe that your story is as well-written as it can be and want to pitch to agents and traditional publishes, consider hiring someone to help you perfect your book proposal. This takes some of the pressure off of you, giving you time to focus on other endeavors while also mitigating the disenchantment that comes with the long-haul of publishing.

Consider Self-Publishing

With every single book sale on Amazon, the self-publishing movement continues to shape the world of writing and reading. More and more, people are opting to purchase and read indie titles thanks to the proliferation of easy self-publishing solutions and e-books. The path to success through self-publishing is difficult and fraught with complications, but – if you’re well-prepared – it can be the most direct route to seeing your books in the hands of readers.

Writers, how are you defining your success? Are you measuring up?

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