Good Morning. Ten years ago, I had the inkling of a story. Nine years ago, I started writing it down (pen and paper mind you.) Seven years ago I got my first computer. (Yes, only seven.) Five years ago, I finished writing my first book. Four years ago, I finished my second. Three years ago, I self-published my third book. Two weeks ago, I published my fourteenth.
(And yes, some of those books are novellas, some short stories, however, they are still mine, and were published by me. Written, formatted, and uploaded by me. I had help of course, by amazing critique partners, beta readers, and my fabulous cover designer.)
I'm a little stunned with that timeline. If you take out the short stuff, that's still six novels in three years. Two a year, with a couple of novellas thrown in for good measure. That's a lot. Well, for me anyway. I know a few writers who can bang out a novel in three months. (Personally, I think those people are aliens with super hand/mind/eye coordination, and a built in dictionary/thesaurus/encyclopedic brain.)
Having said all that, I have to wonder if I'm successful. I'm living the dream so many of us had. Read any interview with an author, and they always say, "I've been writing since I was a kid."
But what determines our success? Is it money? I've had good months, I've had not-so-good months.
Is it reviews? Some authors have thousands. I have several handfuls. Some fabulous, some not-so-much.
Is our success determined by how other people see us? I don't get out much, so my contact with the outside world is limited to mostly the Moms at Monster's school. Some of them are pretty impressed with my writing ability. Others, not-so-much (when you consider there are a couple of doctors, lawyers, a brain surgeon, an astro-phycisist.)
Is success determined by what we have? Cars, houses, vacations, shoes?
I can't go by what the outside world, or even other authors, think, do, have, or say. I am the only judge of my success. And I'd say I'm pretty damn successful. I'm doing what I want to do, living my own fantastic dream. Sure, I'm still struggling for footing in this ever changing publishing landscape, but for someone who's built some name recognition for herself, by herself, I'd say I'm doing okay.
But now what? What does the future hold? Yes, I will still write. I can't not write, it's like breathing for me. But there has to be more. The question is -- more of what? More money? More fame? More reviews? I don't know. What is it I'm missing, or THINK I'm missing? Or am I just delusional thinking there is MORE?
Do I continue to build my "platform"? Join other social media? Join writing groups? Find new followers, new readers, new ways to make myself known? Or do I keep on doing what I've been doing -- quiet promotion -- because it seems to work -- and if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Or do I take chances, step out of my comfort zone and find something else? I've been writing Regency for most of the last decade. I do have a contemporary romance out there too, and that has also been met with quiet success. Do I pursue that avenue as well, or just stick with what I know, and obviously love. Do I become the next Jane Austen? or the next Danielle Steele? Or both? Do I want to try for an agent now? Do I want to be a hybrid author?
Can I have it all? I don't know. Or, as I've been thinking lately, do I just leave it all, finish up this series of books and call it good? End on a high note. Walk away from writing as my work and get a job in the real world? Publish what I want in my own time as a hobby. This new publishing dynamic has a long tail, and as long as I don't un-publish, I'll still get paid for years to come. Instead of two novels a year, just one every two years or so.
Or do I measure my success by how I FEEL? If that's all it truly is, then by golly gumbo, I am at the top of the charts. I couldn't have asked for a better life. No, I don't have a new car, or groovy new shoes, but I can buy Monster what she wants for Christmas, and I can go to the beach this summer.
Tell me -- Are you successful? What determines your success?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2014