I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations behind trying to publish, and I’ve got 3 theories worked out. They’re sorted from least to most probable. It is descriptive of my own reasoning and not intended to be prescriptive.
The first way is the most complicated, and also the most problematic. We’re going to assume that a piece of fiction is an experiment. I should clarify that by an experiment, I don’t mean what is commonly referred to as “experimental fiction” — I simply mean that we should consider the story like we would a scientific experiment. We can then assume that the piece will achieve varying degrees of success or failure. While one could argue that the author should be the judge of the story’s success, it makes more sense that a reader should judge this, the reader being more objective and less personally involved with the piece. So, in this situation, the writer sets the conditions of the experiment, performs it, and the reader determines its success. The writer requires a reader for the piece to be evaluated as successful.