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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Author Insight: Defining Success

As an author, how do you gauge personal success?

"Hard to say. Is it copies sold? Reviews? Prestige? I don't know. Honestly, I think the days when I get fan mail that's really touching are the ones that keep me upbeat. Convince me I'm doing something right." - K. Ryer Breese, author of Future Imperfect

"Reader appreciation. Every time I get a message from someone telling me how much the love my book that’s a notch of success. I used to think it would be royalties, or peer author respect, but that means less and less to me. It’s all about the reader." - Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark. 

"When I set a goal for myself and meet it, that’s success." - Elana Johnson, author of Possession. 

"It's hard for me because when I accomplish one goal, I instantly have another. Like I finished a book, then I wanted to get that book published. Then it got published and now I want to keep publishing, but reach a wider audience. When it comes down to it though, success is telling the story I want to tell and learning that it touched someone. It's seeing Ballads of Suburbia all banged up in the hands of a teenager who adores it." - Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia. 

"I have a pretty low standard for personal success: it’s being able to stay in bed from 6:50-7:00 a.m. and listen to 'The California Report' (which is state-wide news) on NPR. When I had regular jobs, I had to get up earlier than that to get to work." - Marta Acosta, author of  Haunted Honeymoon.

"Personal success for me is very simple: to keep writing books and having them published and read. Awards and starred reviews are, of course, awesome, but you can really make yourself nuts with that stuff." - Alyxandra Harvey, author of Haunting Violet.

"Did what I write push my envelope or force me to think? If yes, good! (Although I wouldn't say "no" to major awards, accolades, huge advances, multi-book contarcts or film deals...but I haven't experienced anything like that [yet]!)" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Luminous

"For me, getting published was the big one.  I’m still reeling a little bit from that." - Josephine Angelini, author of Starcrossed
"There are inner gauges – writing a great sentence, creating believable characters, structuring a beautifully balanced scene – and there are external gauges such as sales, awards and reviews. I’ve found that focusing on the external gauges can drive a girl crazy, so I try to take my joy in the craft and the art of writing. I set challenges for myself, such as writing in a new point of view or intricate world building or tackling a new genre, and find satisfaction in the work. Having said all that, I was doing the happy-dance when EONA debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List!" - Alison Goodman, author of Eona

"Getting emails from readers who loved my work and took the time to write – how amazing is that? Sure money is great, attagirl emails from editors are lovely, and I’m sure it’d kick it huge to make a list, but getting those emails from readers – that’s success." - Trinity Faegen, author of The Mephisto Covenant

"Hmmm… That is a good question. I guess that for me it is really about that moment when you have finally written those last few words and you look back and just think ‘I did it.’ That is my personal gauge of success, though when it comes to others it is always nice to hear that someone enjoyed my book. I can’t think of many feelings that I find more rewarding." - Emma Michaels, author of The Thirteenth Chime.

 "On a purely personal level (contracts and book sales aside) I feel like success means make each project a tougher challenge than the book before and learning from my past writing mistakes." - Tera Lynn Childs, author of Sweet Venom

Come back Thursday to find out how the rest of the authors gauge personal success.

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