Friday, June 10, 2011

What Is Success?

My last two posts about going indie, when you want success and when you don't care, has me thinking about what "success" exactly means. Because in those posts, we discussed whether you want a particular book to be successful and whether you want yourself to be successful as a writer. But what does that mean?

Of course, everyone has their own definition of success. Those definitions often evolve over time as we change and grow and embark on new paths in our lives. Even if we look just at our writing. Because we might start out as writing only for ourselves and success means finishing a complete novel. When we think of sharing it with others, success might mean that they actually enjoy it. Then the goals keep moving - get an agent, get published, sell another book, land on the bestsellers list...

Some of us never worry about anything beyond hoping others like our writing. We're happy with writing for ourselves, family and friends. We feel successful because we've made them happy.

For others, though, the dream is bestseller-dom and seeing our books at the front of the bookstore, on big display. Of selling movie rights. Perhaps of amusement parks built around our book's world. We want to make it BIG.

Going indie probably won't get you to that kind of success unless you get picked up by an awesome agent and big publisher. So what do I mean when I talk about being successful as an indie author?

Well, I guess I give it my definition. See, I'm a major income earner in my family - well, to be honest, since December, I've been the only income earner. My idea of success, for now anyway, is to be in a position to write full time. I love to write just as much as those who do it only for fun. Because it is fun. And I have to write or I would lose my mind. I have tons of ideas and stories to tell and no time to tell them because I have to pay the bills. So, yeah, it would be nice to be able to write for a real living. And it would be a lot less stressful and exhausting.

So that is my definition of success when it comes to indie publishing and book sales: To sell enough books to comfortably support me and my family so I can continue writing. And that is very achievable as an indie author. In fact, my sales are pretty much there and it's just a matter of time - a very short time - where I can feel that I've achieved that level of success. So it can be done.

What is your definition of success? What are you willing to do to achieve it?


  1. my problem is that i keep forgetting why i self-pubbed and what my measure of success is. i look at other indie authors and compare myself. not good.

  2. Michelle, it's hard not to, but comparing ourselves to other writers is one of the worst things we can do for our careers and happiness. At any given time, we can always find someone we feel is doing better, writing better, having more fun, etc. Always. We have to remember our goals and purpose.


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