Thursday, May 12, 2011

What Does Success Look Like?

So much is happening so fast in writing and publishing that it's easy to lose track of what's important. Case in point. The Kindle Million Club (authors who have sold over a million Kindle books) now has 4 members - Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larson, James Patterson and Nora Roberts. A pretty exclusive group.

Indie writers John Locke (350,000 copies sold Jan. 1-March 8, 2011 at 99 cents each) and Amanda Hocking (sold 450,000 copies of her 9 books in January 2011 alone) should pass the million mark sometime this year. I wonder if Amazon will treat their success with the same acclaim as the others or whether success will be defined differently for them.

How will the rest of us define success if we don't sell a million copies of our books in a million years? Will it be enough to say to ourselves that we've written a good book and the rest is up to the fates? How many positive reviews will it take until we feel validated? How many copies will we have to sell before we have that Sally-Field-You-Like-Me moment? Or, will we declare victory when our royalties exceed our expenses?

I've used all of those yardsticks at one time or another to measure my success and been pleased with the results even though I've yet to clutter the bestseller lists or scout out a place in Scottsdale, AZ for the winter. I did, however, buy a new pair of Skecher Shape-Ups this week.

Numbers are nice and, when they have dollar signs and lots of zeros, they're even nicer. But nothing beats loving what you do and I love to write. That people will pay good money to read what I write is priceless. But if you really want me to have that place in Scottsdale one day, I won't stand in your way when you buy my books!

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