So...the view from below, meaning my perspective is as a beginning photographer, not an established one, being a good photographer is not enough. Being a great photographer might be enough, but even then, people have to find out about you somehow.
Twenty-seven times. The book says that your materials must pass in front of the buyer 27 times before they buy. And throughout those 27 times, they're gradually warming up to you, paying increasing attention, figuring out how they can use you, etc.
But meanwhile, what that looks like is total silence. Because why would they contact you unless they're going to buy?
It's just business, after all, nothing personal, but of course what you do is, hopefully, personal. So how to maintain sensitivity as an artist but harden up as a business person? Or even better than harden up, become like water? And how to keep going in the face of all that silence, especially when so many other people seem to be doing so well?
It's tempting to seek validation in other areas, like contests, and vanity publications, and paid portfolio reviews, and the local scene, but that validation is fickle, ephemeral, and expensive.
I've been told, and I think every day it's truer and truer: the work is the answer. Just keep making photographs. The recognition that you've expressed a photograph that has integrity and material must be validation enough.