this was over generalized but it's an example ..
Then the long tail of self publishing came in and you could get a book published on your own put it in amazon .. and keep a certain stock with them ..and sell books but still many books don't sell that many copies and sometimes on demand printing can be bad quality ..and you really hoped you could get published by a publisher..who would take over that part for you ..
now today you can skip printing books.. and if you write a book you can publish it for e readers .. but say your still kind of fail.. and your write a book and manage to only sell 100 copies a month for say 2.99 -what ever the fees to list it are ..so lets say it makes you 200 dollars a month in the end ..
oh man your a failure ..do you give up ?
or do you leave it there think that wasn't my hit but .. you right another one and put it up.. but again only sell 100 copies a month ..and another one ...and only sell 105 copies a month of that ..then another at the same rate ...then you get to about ten books .. and your getting better .. maybe 150 sales a month.. so overal your making 3k a month ..
now you may be able to devote more time to writing.. put up a facebook page .. blog .. whatever works for you .. and you keep writing getting no hits .. but you continue to sell more books each new book and the new buyers even buy your older books ..and you slowly build a fan base ..who give you feed back to help you get better ..
but say you cap out at an average of 200 sales a month per book a 2 income ..so about 2500 books a year or $5000 ..per ebook ..but lets say every year you are publishing 10 books .. never having a hit and never selling to many more than 200 units a month per book ..
how much of a failure would you be after 10 years ...
there is one dirty secret about most highly successfull people.. unless the failure banruted them.. they learned the lesson and forgot about it ..
long term success requires failing over and over and over until you get things right ..or go bankrupt ..but there is knowing when your drilling a dry hole ..