I get asked a lot, "So how's it going, being a writer?" What they really are trying to work their around to is asking how much money I make! Success for many people is just that- making the big bucks. So how do you define success? I had to wrestle with that over the years first as a traditionally published author of romantic suspense. Then seven years ago when I walked away from a contract and decided to keep being a writer anyway. I've been an indie author/publisher for six years now.
I didn't make a killing even while published by Kensington, HarperCollins, and Penguin Putnam. So for many years I frankly started to consider myself an unsuccessful author. Then I realized that there were many people who never got one contract, much less multiple back to back deals. I met people who enjoyed my books. I got to hold my own words in my hands and see them between professionally designed covers. I have stories, like the time BET flew me to Washington D.C. and had a limo pick me up at the airport. Now that was fun. Or the Sunday evening I was aroused from a nap by a phone call from an BET executive telling me my novel After All would be made into a movie. Heck, just saying, "My editor..." and "My agent..." would make unpublished authors sigh wistfully. And bring out the green monster, but professional envy is another post! So I stopped minimizing what I'd accomplished, especially to MYSELF. That was key, but believe me it was a process.
What is success? I'm selling books, though not as many as I like, therefore I claim success! I'm doing what I love, and hang out with other writers. Cool. Working with cover designers, doing my website, coming up with innovative marketing projects, and learning, always learning something new. Yes, this is what success looks and feels like to me. When I let others try to impose what success is on me made feel like a failure. When I was the one imposing and comparing, I felt like a failure. I had to snatch back control, filter out the noise of big money sales, etc., and keep doing what I love. Writing books with mystery, suspense, culture, and some supernatural shenanigans. Being a creative, with all the freedom it brings, is my success. Oh, and wearing cool sunglasses while I goof around!