WIIAWO Issue #4: What if I'm not a bestseller?

Earlier this year, I took a look at the Amazon book sales for my book, Welcome to the Grief Club. As of Feb 1, 2024 it was ranked #27,543 in Books.

Based on an online calculator, that means I'm selling ~150 books per month on Amazon. To be a top 10 book seller, I’d have to sell ~32,000 books a month, or over 200x what I’m selling now. Even if I lowered my sights to be a top 100 seller, I’d have to be selling 65x more books.

According to the internet, in order to have a chance of making it onto the NYT bestseller list, you need to sell between 5,000 and 10,000 copies in a single week.

Basically, I am nowhere near being a bestselling author.

As a first-time author, I didn't have any expectations for how many copies of my book I would sell. And yet, it's easy to get caught up in comparisons, especially with social media. I see other debut authors have record pre-sales, get on bestseller lists, and win coveted awards. And while I am genuinely happy for them, a small, insecure part of me feels unsuccessful in comparison.

We can choose our own definitions of success.

While it would undoubtedly be cool and exciting to be a NYT bestseller or an Oprah's Book Club pick, selling a certain number of my first book wasn't actually my benchmark for success.

My goal was to create something to help others who were grieving feel more comforted and validated, and less alone than I did during a really challenging time. I wanted to write the book I wish I'd had in the depths of my grief.

Each of us gets to determine what success means to us in our work and life. I imagine that this will look different for each of us, and also change as we do.

Do you have your own story, experience, or advice about what success means to you? I'd love to hear it! Just comment below.

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