(Today is a guest post from a great writer named Robin O’Bryant!)

I self-published my first book in shame.

I was disappointed that after two years of work with my top tier literary agent in New York, editors still didn’t think I had a platform large enough to sell a book.

So I only had a few piddly newspaper columns, and I could tell you where each one of my blog readers lived and how I knew them. That didn’t mean I couldn’t sell a book. My book was good! It was witty and funny! It made people cry! (So it was my mother and my sister? So what– they’re people.)

I pouted for months and ignored blog comments from my readers asking– When’s your book coming out?? Can’t wait to read it! –only occasionally yelling at my laptop screen, “NEVER!!”

I started reading online articles about authors who had gone rogue and self-published. These folks were making real money, but I thought the chances of me doing the same were slim. Plus, I wanted the validation a publishing house would give me. Self-publishing wasn’t The Dream, it wasn’t the way I had pictured things unfolding.

But my readers wouldn’t shut up so, I had a little comin’ to Jesus talk with myself and focused on one simple question: why did I write this book?

The answer was even simpler: because I couldn’t NOT write it. I wanted other people to read it because I thought it would help them, validate them, make them laugh out loud in the bed after long hard day of wrangling kids. I wrote because I wanted to be read and I knew that self-publishing could accomplish my mission.

I had to redefine what success looked like for me. Success wasn’t a seal of approval from some mythical publishing god. Success was putting my story out there to see what it could do.

I self-published, Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves on November 31, 2011. For two years, I sold books out of the back of my car, packed them in suitcases to hand out at conferences, and woke up every day looking for a way to get my story into the hands of one more reader.

In September of 2013 Ketchup hit the NYT, WSJ and USA Today’s bestseller lists. By October, I had signed a two book deal with St Martin’s Press and Ketchup was taken off the market to be re-released April 1, 2014.

I can’t imagine what would have happened if I’d been too proud to redefine success. My dream came true because I was willing to work hard. When the door slammed shut in my face, I decided I wasn’t too proud to hitch up my skirt and crawl through a window.

(To read more about Robin O’Bryant and for links to purchase her book, Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves check out her blog, www.robinschicks.com.)