Is earning money the only sign of success? Can I afford getting help to be successful?

I’m not very good at spending money – well actually I could be VERY good at it but I don’t have enough to be as “free” with it as I’d like, most especially when it comes to my writing. I know I need assistance in doing better at marketing, promoting, blogging, updating my website, going to conventions or author signings, etc. but that all takes money that I’d rather be spending on editing, book designs, etc. I know I write good to great stuff but how do I convince myself that to sell more of it, get “it” out to more people I have to spend even more money – I still haven’t broken even on the first book (though we’re closing in on it) after five years.

I see all these other wonderful authors going to genre conventions, huge author events, paying for reviews and author signings all while seemingly writing 20 hours a day. Are they selling enough to break even? And I find myself even asking if my writing is as good as theirs (doesn’t matter if they aren’t writing in the same genre or not). Some are doing multiple events each week – I cannot do that (or can I?). I’m overwhelmed at the thought of spending that much money and maybe selling a half dozen books (I’m also terrified of success and selling out and then what do I do) I truly wish them all well and great success but is that me? Maybe? Yes? No? Not now? Yes, I love writing and I love my husband and the dancing that we teach and lead – and I don’t want to do just one thing. I am more than the dancing, more than my writing, more than my family. I AM ALL OF THEM. So how do I do more so I can concentrate on those AND earn enough money to pay back to our accounts all I’ve spent so far and have yet to spend, all in the pursuit of what I love?

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Does success have to take money? That asked, I have to ask what is success? When our girls were growing up we told them that “Success was finding something you were passionate about and then finding someone to pay you to do it.” I am passionate about my writing, about the dancing, and about my family and friends. I don’t need to be paid to love my family and friends. I do get paid a little bit for my part in our dance business (husband makes the big bucks but I now bring in additional income that qualifies me as a solid partner in that business). And, I do receive income from my books but while that certainly is welcome I’d love to be receiving ten to one hundred times as much (wouldn’t we all?). And in the process we are investing thousands every year just to get these books to the publishing stage. Once published I must spend more to market them on social media, keep my website up to date, get proper copyright and other identifying numbers, purchase resource material and take classes on how to do almost everything better or different to get attention, keep my Square payment devices up to date, and pay for proper business and sales tax licensing for wherever I am selling my books. And in the state of Colorado that is a nightmare! That’s just a start.

Am I depressed about all the money that seems to go out and the smidgen that comes back? Sometimes. However, there is a little more non-monetary balance that shows up when a new reader wants to talk about a character or story line or when the next book is coming out or what else am I going to write about. Sharing their excitement is a weird kind of payment. Though it doesn’t fill the coffers, it does fill my heart and soul and makes me want to get back to writing more as fast as I can and to **** with the money side of the equation.

Be assured, if I was doing this for the money I’d be in the wrong business. There is more to being happy in what I do than getting paid to do it. So, in some ways, success has nothing to do with money. But I’ll be honest, I’d just like to figure out how to get more people buying/reading my books. It would be a plus if they’ll talk about how much they like the books/stories. Of course, reviews on Amazon might help but that’s not the end-all either.

So however rambling this one has been I still have not come up with an answer. And, perhaps, that’s more of a good thing than a bad thing. I’m not locked into one way of succeeding and maybe I do need to learn how to judiciously spend money and get specific help – if I can just figure out what exact help I need and can afford.