Does How Much Money You Make Define Success?

If you have published a book, or published anything online, there is a topic to which discussion will often turn – or at least one that you will consider: does success mean making money?  Money should not define success for a writer, but it is a part of what indicates success, and that is why writers do talk about money.  The answer is more complex.

If you were to make $100 per month from the sale of your books, would you define that as a success?  What if that income was $1000 per month?  Each writer needs to begin somewhere when they want to use money as a measure of their success.  The problem is not how much they make but rather what is that number compared to their goal.  This is one way to measure success. 

For example: if you have a goal of making $10 on one book per month and you end up promoting it well for that month, and earn $15, but the next month only earn $2, would that be a success?  Strictly speaking, the answer is no, since you did not make $10 per month.  Change the numbers and earn more (to $15 and $9), than it is a success. Defining success is an ever-evolving process, and that defininition is up to you to create, and then to maintain.

Striving for success and money also comes the potential of failure– you might not earn anything, or you might not see sales of your e-books at higher prices.  You might not earn all that much– based on sales per book, but if you have a passion for writing and you have spent time creating something you love, should a lack of incoming money really be the reason you find fault in your writing?  No, it should not; there are other ways to measure success.

Part of success is failure, but if you take it correctly, it is a means to becoming a better writer. Success is attainable if you have focus and are willing to keep going after you have a setback.  Setbacks are not something to be worried about, as long as you continue to improve your writing, and your marketing ideas.  Without failure, you can never become as creative as you can with challenges.  If you don’t earn money, yes it can be a failure, but, a good writer can always learn from their mistakes.

Money is one thing writers need to become more successful, since this allows them to create more time to do exactly what they need to do to be a successful writer, and that is to be able to publish books and other material to continue building on their success.  Does how much money you make define your success?  It depends on the goals of each writer, and if you earn money that reaches your goals, you have found success.


  • J.L. Murphey

    The money doesn't matter, if it did I wouldn't be writing. When you average out the time it take to write, editing, publish and promote a book over the amount of money you make even with an advance…you would be better off getting a full time job.

    If you look at writing success, even if you sell one book you are a success.

  • Rebecca E.

    I personally agree with you, I don't and won't ever say my book failed, because I have learned so much about myself, but to some, sadly it is about the money.