I don’t believe that you can say that the only successful book is one which has sold 1,000 copies, or even 100 copies. I think that you need to create your own personal definition of what makes a successful book. I’ve been debating, in my head for a while, what I call a success.
I’d love to sell a million books, and I would love to do that for a long time, but I believe I am also a realist — or perhaps I’m just not terribly optimistic. So, if I only sold 999,999 copies, would my book still be a success? I think it would. But what about 100? Would it still be a success?
My answer is: It depends.
I think I would still call it successful, and I would still be happy. It means 100 more people have seen my writing in a published book format and 100 books that would otherwise be left in bookcase or a box waiting to be sold. It could mean that I sell more copies of the next book that I write.
There is a great feeling you get when you can even give away 100 books, or e-books or review books because then people will know you, a writer, a bit better. I know, and I’ve done that!
The thing is that all the positive quotes about writing in the world won’t help you if you don’t write and aim to publish a book. The key to everything is being published, and it doesn’t matter how you have your work published, as long as you give it your best effort.
What is a successfully published book?
It should be defined as a step along the path that gets you, as a writer, wanting to write more. There is nothing worse than to publish a book and then simply want to stop writing. This would make me feel even worse than not selling a single book! (At that point I would be saying the money has to come some day!)