Here’s the thing about a book: once you publish it, it’s out there. It might live a very long time. There are stories you can buy in bookstores today that are over three thousand years old.
When you publish a book, you hope a million people will read it, fall in love, buy it, tell all their friends, want to see the movie, etc. That’s the dream, I get it.
But most books don’t sell that many copies. They sell a few.
But even those few copies that sell… they stay out there. Potentially for a long time. Especially if you’re self-publishing, and you can just leave your book available indefinitely. And you never know who might read that book you wrote, the one that didn’t sell as many copies as you hoped, and be touched. Have her life changed, because of some idea or feeling you captured on the page.
I’ve seen more than one fine novelist just give up, stop, and unpublish their work. I get it. It’s hard to have disappointing sales, or uncomprehending critical reaction, or sniping from mean-spirited fellow-writers who only see you as competition. But it still makes me sad, for a lot of reasons, including this one: you unpublish your book, and you might be taking away a lifeline from somebody twenty years in the future, who really needs to hear what you have to say.
That’s all. Carry on.