Not Selling Your Book is Not a Failure

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 02 2022

In a recent BookEnds meeting, we discussed taking on new clients and manuscripts and what happens if you don’t sell the book. Is it a failure? I hear agents and authors refer to the book that didn’t sell as a failure all the time. I disagree. Failure isn’t trying and not succeeding. Failure is never trying at all.

Lately, there’s been a rash of authors withdrawing their queries and manuscripts from my Query Manager strictly out of fear. I know because they are telling me. After writing an entire book and getting requests they fear the book isn’t good enough and therefore reject themselves. They fear rejection so much that they would rather not try at all.

I get the fear and I get the toll it can take. Remember, I’ve been in this business for over 20 years. I’ve certainly received my share of rejection. Editors who made me feel like I didn’t have a chance at success and had no clue what I was doing.

Failure is Not Trying

But had I quit, had I stopped taking the chance on myself and my authors I never would have known the pure joy that is success.

Every book and author I take on is a risk. No matter how much I know and understand this industry, I can’t guarantee I’ll find the right editor and make the sale. That doesn’t mean those books are a failure. That doesn’t mean I have failed. It certainly doesn’t mean the author has failed. It only means we were brave to try and now we have to be braver to try again.

When you don’t accomplish the dream remind yourself of all the successes you had to even get to the edge of the dream. You wrote an entire damn book. You put your book and your heart on the line to query. Someone believed in you–a friend, a partner, an agent, yourself.

And then, do it again. And again. Because the people who wrack up the so-called failures are the ones who succeed the most.




Thanks so much for coming to the blog. Please don’t forget to like and share this post. We value feedback and questions from readers, so feel free to leave a comment below! Lastly, subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more publishing insights and advice, and follow us on our socials to see what we’re up to.
Twitter | Instagram | Illustrator Instagram | Facebook

One response to “Not Selling Your Book is Not a Failure”

  1. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    I have always admired you for this reason. You wanted to do something they said you couldn’t do, but you did it anyway, and totally succeeded!