Sunday, June 29

How do you measure success? Or do you?

          Do you have anything that signifies success to you? Do you buy yourself something sometimes with royalties or advance checks? Did you sell or indie-publish your first book and hold it in your hands and cry and think It doesn’t get any better than this? Did you quit your day job as soon as it was feasible and write full time? Do you have contest wins or placements or printed-out good reviews that you remind yourself of when the voices inside your head start telling you to forget it, you can’t write?




          I’m not going to talk about money here, at least not specifically. It’s personal to every writer what money has to do with anything. Some don’t really care one way or another about it because, truth is, they’re going to write anyway. Others only care about the money, because writing’s a job first and foremost. Whether they love writing or just having written, it’s a job.

          No, what I’m talking about is signs of success. For some, it is the money. The renown. The awards. I have no problem with that. I don’t have any of it, but I also don’t aspire toward it. I admire those who have achieved so much.

          For some of us, it is enough that people stop referring to us as hobbyists. Speaking of prejudices—weren’t we?—I despise that word nearly as much as I do the term “bodice rippers.”

          I’m rambling, and I apologize for that, but my point is the one I started with: do you have certain things that signify success? Framed covers? A shelf full of your own books? I’m about to tell you mine.

·         I was working in a food booth at the 4-H fair on Friday night. It was hot and muggy and busy and a good time. An old friend brought me her tray and we talked while I scraped the dishes and got rid of the paper trash. Diane said, “I can’t believe a renowned author is cleaning off my dishes.” We laughed together and I thought that was success to me, that someone knew me as an author (never mind the renowned part—I’m not) but that I’m still good with washing dishes.

·        You’ve all seen my office and heard about it ad nauseum. I love it a lot. A couple of
      weeks ago we were in Menard’s or Lowe’s (it was date night--what can I say?) and Duane says, “That’s what you need,” and bought it for me. I now have my own water cooler. Goofy or not, it felt like a little slice of success to me.




Okay, what are your signs of success ?

16 comments:

  1. I have a couple of little things I do, not because I think 'oh I'm a success' but more as a milestone thing: each new book, on publication day, I buy a charm or bead for my Pandora Book Bracelet. Something that reflects the book or a theme or...heck, that I think is pretty at that moment. lol. And I always make book flats (for my e-releases) and frame them. As for success...I'm not sure when I'll have that feeling. Maybe when my name is the biggest thing on the cover?

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    1. LOL--I don't think I have time for my name to get bigger than the title, and I never actively think of myself as a success, but those little things--like the Pandora beads--are cool little signs of something.

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  2. Wow, success.
    It was quitting the evil day job, for one.
    Having a modest amount of sales, for another. But...I'd like to see my name on a trad pubbed book...to me, that would be the ultimate success.

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    1. When I worked, that was always my dream, to be able to quit the day job--even though I liked it--and write all the time. It never happened, and I'm not even sorry, but I'm glad you were able to.

      Yeah, I like trad publishing, but we all know I'm a dinosaur! :-) Thanks for coming, D.

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  3. :-) I love it! I don't really have any...yet. I think it will be when I have a "physical" book in hand. None of mine have been long enough to go to print yet.

    So when are we all meeting to chat around the water cooler???

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    1. LOL. Any time. And, great as digital is, I agree there's nothing like a paper-and-ink book in your hands with your name on the front!

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  4. Recognition as a published author is my reward. Given the number of people who are rejected by publishers every day, I feel grateful to have been given a chance by The Wild Rose Press.

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  5. As for writing, I'm still waiting for any kind of success. Although I've had my few close calls--placing in the WD contest or a RWA sponsored contest.

    In my life, I measure success as being content with where I am and what I'm doing.

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    1. I think that's the best kind of success there is, Margie.

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  6. Success to me will be when I can quit the day job. But I also get a kick out of hubby telling people his wife is a romance author.

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    1. There's a special sweetness to that, isn't there?

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  7. Success has changed for me over time. At first it was just "getting published." Kensington Precious Gems took care of that. Then it was getting published again. Finishing a book. Over the years, I've finished all but one of my unfinished manuscripts. I've published with small press and indie published. Now success to me is appearing on the Amazon top 100 of ANY list for myself, not a bundled book. I've done it once, maybe, but not consistently. As for money, it's better now than ever. And that is relative, I'm sure. What's big money for me may be a small amount to another author.

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    1. I'm with you there, Jan--it has changed over the years. I have decent money years and pathetic ones. I've always said writing money is primarily travel money. A good year was Ireland, a bad one was lunch in Kokomo--35 miles away. :-) I'd love to climb on an Amazon list, too, but don't expect that to happen. After all these years, though, I still say Thank you, Precious Gems.

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  8. Great post, Liz. Success for me was my husband beating cancer. Enjoyed the post!

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    1. Absolutely! MIne had a good medical report the other day and I said on a scale of 1 to 10, the day was a 99. Long live 99s! Thanks for coming by, Tanya.

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