To all these friends and others like them, I say do not let the business of publishing rob you of the desire to write, query, pursue a traditional contract or self-publish. You make your own success and you won't do it by giving up on your goals. Define success by your own terms, and if you have to start in small increments, then so be it. Some writers are lucky to sell thousands of copies in their debut month. Be happy for them or not, but focus on your own writing efforts. Keep realistic, positive and attainable goals in mind. "I want to sell a hundred books this month" is a common goal I often hear from other writers, but what happens when readers don't respond the way you want them to do? Does that mean you stop writing and just wait around for those hundred sales?
As much as we can't lose sight of our goals, we also can't treat our publishing efforts as anything but a business. That means putting forward the best product possible; it is the only thing we can directly control. Some will love it, others will hate it for reasons that have nothing to do with us, all revolving around their own expectations. We only, truly fail when we don't try harder, when we let publishing turn our love of writing into something we loathe or no longer recognize. Don't let this business kill your soul.