That is one of the first rules when choosing to become a serious writer. How many millions of books were conceived and born in-between exam papers, mid-term projects, balance sheets, depositions, construction sites, or even intercontinental flights? Whatever the circumstances and reasons for embarking on a journey down the literary and publication path, it is important to remain grounded and embrace the fact that it is a fierce world out there and success is no walk in the park.
My first three experiences with self-publication were most certainly educational, but in spite of the online marketing efforts, the results were dismal. It takes an established publisher to get your book to the right places and the proper exposure where it matters. The publishers simply have a completely different network, a more aggressive one, that will land the book on the online bookshops or actual shops if your book is not a POD. It all depends on your contract and the abilities of the author services made available to you. It certainly was an eye-opener for me to move in a completely different league than the humble self-publishing level. Mind you, this is not to discredit or discourage self-publication at all, but the caveat here is to be realistic, pragmatic, and above all, aware of the fact that without the backing of a publisher, it will take much more effort to sell that book.
It is the illusion of every writer to be able to hit the bestseller list and eventually live off the royalties. Heck, I even dream of the book becoming a movie someday, why not? I would even settle for seeing someone on the underground train holding may book, or walking past a bookstore with a dozen of the books stacked up at the display window. But lofty dreams do not pay the rent nor fill the pantry with groceries, and that is where writers need to keep both feet firmly on the ground. Everything takes time to take flight, and in the meantime, there are bills and obligations to be faced. It is far easier to live a double life of XYZ by day and writer by night (or weekends) than to give up that day job and hope for the big break.