How do you judge your success as a writer? I believe most writers who consider themselves professional hope to achieve publication someday. But even then, by what yard stick do you measure your success?
Accolades from family, friends, colleagues and even strangers in various venues pump up the satisfaction level for me. My family and friends have always been quite supportive. My peers at the day job and my students offer their congratulations and often wonder that I write books. Real feel good moments.
I’ve interacted with people who believe you must be published by one of the large New York houses to be deemed a successful author. Statements of distain about small presses usually anger me rather than discourage me. But for those people, they feel a person isn’t really successful until they’ve signed a contract with one of the ‘Big Boys.’
Some would have success based on how much money an author pulls in from their writing. I know a few writers who’ve published multiple books with small presses as eBooks. They don’t make huge earnings on individual books but added together, the quantity of releases adds up to decent amounts of money earned by royalties. Are POD and eBooks an equal measure of success compared to a traditional book sold on the shelves of the large chain stores?
Has an author reached a goal of recognition when they’re asked to guest at a library or perhaps a conference? Does it take a TV or newspaper interview to know ‘you’re a big name?’ Must you hold a book signing and run a highly active blog with thousands of followers?
It’s difficult to stay at something if you continually feel like you’ve failed to achieve your objectives. I believe in goal setting but one should also know what it means when the particular goal is reached. When I sold my first fantasy novel and then the series, I didn’t believe my books would soon push Terry Goodkind off the shelf. ( I use Terry as an example since our names are close and our books are shelved near each other) But I did feel like I’d taken a first important step upward to the ultimate level of success I hope to achieve. I’m proud of the fantasy romances I have with small presses and appreciative of the money I receive from their continued sales.
How do you measure your successes? Is it a matter of money, number of books published, the type of publisher or the accolades you receive from various sources?