There are a lot of good comments under Survivorship bias: why 90% of the advice about writing is bullshit right now. Here’s one from Thomas E:
So, who is a success and who is a failure?
I’ve watched traditional publishing for a long time, and I’ve seen some trends. More often than not someone takes ten years to break in, having written more than two million words in that time. Other people sell their first story. I’ve seen glittering bestsellers… who five years later can’t sell a book to a publisher. LOTS of them. I’ve seen people who were told they were a failure for many long years that have hit a single home run and been able to retire.
Every writer in traditional publishing had a different story. But the one thing I have seen is that only one in a thousand people who want to be a writer actually ever have a book published.
And, most of the people who get a book published, even get ten books published… never make a full time living off it, and sooner or later get ditched by their publishers.
Success… Is that guy with the bestselling novel. Today. But in a decade will he be here? Still writing?
Failure… Is J.K. Rowling in her static caravan, typing a book that no one else believes in…
All I know is that at this stage I have been indie writing for two years, and written over a million words of fiction, and am still in my novice phase. Yet, I am receiving money every month. I wouldn’t have received any money yet in the traditional system.
Am I a failure? I am far from making a living with either the traditional or the indie method. I am learning.
Will I be a success in ten years?
Who knows. Can’t be predicted. All I know is that if traditional publishing was the only method on offer, I wouldn’t have taken the risk.
The one thing I know is that I’ve only seen two things in common with all the writers who have broken through into writing for a living. They all write good books (for their target market) and they all carry on writing even when they are a failure.