Saturday, November 13, 2021

Counting on Numbers for Your Writing Success

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

Writing success seems to be driven by the numbers, doesn’t it?

Author life 
  • How many books have you written? 
  • How many awards have you won? 
Sales numbers
  • How many books have you sold? 
  • How much money have you earned?
Social media numbers 
  • How many followers do you have? 
  • How many likes do you have? 
  • How many shares do you have? 
  • How many subscribers do you have?
I’ve always had an aversion to numbers, going all the way back to elementary school math. As an adult, I realized there’s no dodging numbers in my daily author life.

Every author must market their books. (Add collective groan here.) I’m learning what I’m good at, while also pushing myself to improve my marketing skills. Social media is not optional, and to some degree, it’s a numbers game. I’m determined to manage the stress of social media as much as possible. 


Here’s one simple step I’ve taken to help me enjoy—yes, enjoy—the numbers associated with my writing life:

When I see an uptick in my social media followers, no matter how small, I pause and say thank you.

I thank God for each new Instagram follower. Each new Facebook follower. Each new BookBub follower. Each new subscriber to my Words of Encouragement monthly letter. 

I also thank God for each book review—although I rarely read reviews. Skipping reviews is a mental health choice for me. I don’t want to set my ego on positive reviews, and I don’t want to allow negative reviews to shape my self-image, either. But still, reviews add up and make a difference. (Amazon algorithms, anyone?)

Becoming an author has taught me so many invaluable lessons. One of the best? Not to overlook the validity of slow growth. 

To frame that truth into a math equation for you:

1 + 1 + 1 = readership

Some of you may wonder what I do when my numbers dip because yes, that happens. People unfollow us. People unsubscribe. 

It used to feel personal—lower numbers made me feel less than. But then I decided to not let a lower number define me. It’s a number, not a judgement. I whisper, “Bless you” for the person who has moved on and leave it at that.

How do you feel about your writing success being driven by the numbers?


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. Such a healthy way to look at the numbers game!! The only time I look is when working on a new proposal, because the numbers need to be in there. But I love the idea of thanking God for each new person who is following/reading. We reach our readers one person at a time. Every individual matters. Great post, Beth!

    1. Thanks, Julie. Yes, every individual matters. And we never know why people subscribe or follow -- or unsubscribe or unfollow.

  2. Beth,

    Thank you for this fascinating article/ I'm with you in having an aversion to numbers as a writer. Yet numbers do drive a lot of what we do in publishing because it is more than an art--it is a business. I've seen publishers make poor business decisions (tied to numbers) and they are no longer in business. It's like many aspects of our life: we need to find a healthy balance.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. I agree, Terry, there has to be a healthy balance in our writing lives about numbers. We can't avoid it -- and we can't let it run our lives or ruin our attitudes.

  3. Thank you, Beth. You reminded us numbers are important, but we can’t let them defeat us.