According to Webster, the definition of success is:
1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose; or
2. The good or bad outcome of an undertaking.
As writers, most of us have our own definition of success. Would you only consider yourself a success if you make the New York Times Best Seller List? Get a Book Bub deal that reaps lots of sales and “gets your name out there”? You write a book-length novel from beginning to end that is well-received once you finally have the courage to get out of your own way and market it? Or is it simply the joy of writing for yourself or others?
As we start our writing journeys (or continue them), the goals and definitions of our successes evolve. After years of working hard and learning our craft, maybe we do aspire to getting on that NYT list. Or maybe we decide that’s a pipe dream and reset our sights for something more…reachable. Have you spent years submitting to traditional publishers, reaping nothing but rejections, and finally decide to “do it yourself”? If so, then do it, but do it the best you can to reach whatever success you hope to achieve.
One writer may hit it big right out of the gate with their first book, but if they never write another, is that a success story? To them, perhaps. It depends on what their goal was in the first place. To others, however, the answer is most likely no. From the time I started writing I was told, As soon as you finish one book, start another. And another. I have written over twenty books. Am I on the NYT Best Seller List? No. Am I even close? No way. Have I ever gotten a Book Bub deal? Nope. Does that make me unsuccessful in the eyes of more well-known writers? Perhaps. But as far as what I want to achieve, I am successful. I interact with lots of people when I sell my books, many of whom have become friends as well as readers. I get to know them. I’m asked to talk to different groups about the history I write about (even though my books are fiction, the history is real). I sell a few books on Amazon. I’ve sold some overseas too! But mostly I write. It’s my happy place. Every day I write and put out at least one book a year. Most of the time, I strive for two. I have readers who tell me to “write faster,” because they’ve read everything I have and can’t wait for the next new one.
Whatever your journey, only you can decide what your definition of success is. Once you decide, work toward the reality of whatever that is. Don’t let anyone else decide for you.
Now go for it! Whatever your success might be.