How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
There are certain accomplishments that pretty much everyone would agree are signs of being successful. Having a book on the "Best Sellers" list, winning an Olympic gold medal, or making lots of money. Most people never accomplish any of those things. If those top accolades were the only way to be successful, almost no one would be.
To be successful as an author, do you need to sell a million or more copies? Maybe some authors measure their success by books sold, but that seems too high a bar for most of us.
According to Google, Amazon alone offers over 48 million books! Unless you're already a best selling author it's hard to stand out in a crowd that enormous, even if your work is as good as Stephen King's or Maya Angelou's. Hundreds of thousands of people might love your work, if only they knew it existed.
I would LOVE for my book to become a best-seller. But I'm also realistic. Just like my figure skating students who dream of the Olympics, I know that there is only a minuscule chance that I make it to the top. And that's okay.
Maybe my own definition of success as a writer will evolve over time. At this moment however, in the middle of releasing my debut book, One Year on Broadway, I feel like a success.
I made it through the entire multi-year process of writing, re-writing, editing, arranging an outside editor, and finding a cover artist. Then I faced a roadblock, the kind that closes all six lanes of traffic, which threatened the entire project. I wondered if I should give up but I chose to forge ahead. Finally, I made it to release day. To me, that is success. Whether or not I sell fifty copies or a million, I'm happy with the fact that I told the story I wanted to tell and now it is out in the world. I have a feeling, though that if Stephen King only sold fifty copies of his next book, he might consider that one a failure.
And lastly, in honor of the release of One Year on Broadway last week, I wanted to share with you a short clip of Once on This Island from Broadway so you can see for yourself just how special this musical was.
Have a wonderful rest of your week!