As I was going along on my journey toward authorship, a question I often asked myself was, “Is anyone even going to like this?” And then I’d follow it up with, “Am I putting myself out there just to be rejected?”

For people in a rush, I’ll give you a quick answer: YES, someone will like your book. Write it. 🙂

But to break it down a bit, I think the question most people are actually asking is, “Will lots of people like this?” Meaning, numbers that publishers would consider a success and that might create a new career opportunity for an aspiring author.

The answer to that one is: Well… (you probably know what I will say anyway)

It’s a bummer to realize that mainstream success might be tough, especially when your dream is to achieve success in that way. But I think we need to work on how we define “success” when it comes to publishing a book, and also how we define “lots” when it comes to the number of people who find it meaningful.

What I’ve learned is that if you’re driven to write a book, and when it’s from some sort of internal place that has nothing to do with fame and accolades, then there are people out there who will want to read it. One of my teachers used to say (when I was studying to be a yoga teacher) that the students who need you will show up for whatever you, in your uniqueness, have to offer.

So I say to you that the readers who need you will show up for whatever you, in your uniqueness, have to offer. And that YES, someone will like your book. In fact, MANY someones might like your book.

I think the amount of material success a particular book achieves is really out of our hands anyway, and I mean this on a material level but also sort of on an otherworldly level. Materially, some books sell widely because they have powerful publishing houses to create a marketing machine on behalf of the author and his/her work. High dollars translate to high visibility in the marketplace.


My (extremely popular) dentist has a plaque on the wall in one of the patient rooms that says, “Our greatest compliment is your referral.” So don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth to conquer the material part of selling a book that is well-written. It happens ALL the time.

On a more otherworldly level, though, the success of your book may depend on what the planet needs right now. If lots of people need what you have to say, and if it’s your purpose in life to say it broadly with this book (not having a hit now doesn’t mean you won’t have one later), you might have a better shot at mainstream success. But if a smaller part of the world needs what you have to say, it may never make it to mainstream even though the book may be equally as good as another really popular one. This is not a failure.

I think when we ask questions like, “How can I sell a lot of copies” or “How do I make it to the bestseller list,” we are missing the actual point. I suspect bestsellers are the result, mostly, of people not focusing on writing a bestseller – they are focused instead on doing their best work and offering something special to the world. If people like it, great. If people don’t, well, the author likes it and feels satisfied in what they’ve done.

So I challenge you to write regardless of the outcome, and to know that whatever you create is needed – simply because you want to create it. How we define success as a writer, author, artist, musician, or other creative type should be based on intent and quality anyway. Meaning, can we produce something unique that even one or two other people find life-altering or impactful? That’s the goal. That’s success as an author, even if we have to maintain our day jobs to make our bills.


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My first book, Halfway There: Lessons at Midlife, was released on August 18, 2020 by Warren Publishing and was re-released on February 16, 2021 by White Ocean Press. To read an excerpt, check out reviews, see the author Q&A, or find links to buy, click the Learn More button.

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Elizabeth C. Haynes is a writer, editor, author, and former head of marketing content. She now works independently to help clients improve the quality and effectiveness of their writing, storytelling, and digital content.

Learn more about her here.


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