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Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Author Insight: Defining Success

As an author, how do you gauge personal success?

"Hearing from people who have read the book and enjoyed it. Having the opportunity to make writing my full-time job. And, of course, book sales. There are so many levels of success that it's hard to say 'If X happens, then I will feel successful.' Especially with this kind of career, there's always something more to strive for, and in the end, all I really want to do is write books people want to read. That's what I try to focus on." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test

"Making a decent living writing books I love, increasing my supportive fanbase who love my characters and worlds as much as I do." - Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Darker Still and  The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess.

"I'm still working on this one. When I set specific writing goals and somehow manage to meet them, I feel pretty successful. But when I think in more general terms, like how to be a success in the wider world of YA fiction, I feel pretty inadequate and flaily." - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant


"Much like sex. Completion.  Writing a book is one big, grueling performance.  And it is really cool when it’s over.  Was it good for you?  Want to order a pizza?" - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules. 

"Reader reactions. I have so little control over anything in this business. I write and I wait. And if I get an email from a reader saying how much they loved my book—I feel pretty dang accomplished." - Suzanne Young, author of A Need So Beautiful.

"For me, it’s all about if readers say 'I LOVED it.'" - Miranda Kenneally, author of Score

"Positive response to my work. If I make someone think something, learn something or feel something with my stories, that's success. Also, a golden carriage, fruit baskets, and hot and cold running cabana boys are pretty good indicators." - Lesley Livingston, author of Tempestuous

"I haven’t had enough experience to figure that out yet. For me, getting an agent was a huge validation. Selling the book was another. When I finally got a draft that my editor loved, that felt like a huge accomplishment. Holding the final book in my hand and then seeing it on the shelves of a bookstore both felt like earth-shaking experiences. And today, five days before my book is released...I don’t know how I will gauge it. Reviews? Reader feedback? Sales? I have no idea how to measure how I am doing. My success meter is spinning wildly about at the moment, not knowing how to function or at what point to stop." - Amy Plum, author of Die for Me

"If what I wrote touches someone. No one book is ever going to appeal to everyone, but nothing makes me happier than the review that shows it was clear to that reader what I was trying to do." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Original Sin

"I think a number of things factor in to this question. The number of books I sell is one, but I really think it shows when I receive emails from someone I've never met, telling me how much they enjoyed my books. That absolutely makes my day! Also, I had a bookstore offer to host a release party for me, complete with cupcakes. (You were there!). That was pretty incredible!"   - Jennifer Murgia, author of Lemniscate.

"By the number of my colleagues chewing on their livers because they’re so jealous of me. Unfortunately there aren’t any that I know of. YET. I’m thinking about renting billboards at writers’ colonies with pictures of my books, and, taking my cue from Walt Whitman, awesome blurbs that I write myself. 'The voice of his generation! And some others!' 'He practically invented contractions!' 'Boy howdy has America ever been waiting for this guy!'" - Steve Watkins, author of What Comes After

"This is a tough one, but a good one.  One thing being published has taught me is that my work is not going to please everyone.  This is difficult at times because I am by nature an intrinsic people pleaser.  So I’m trying hard not to gauge my success by outside factors like starred reviews and adulation and rather trying to have a sense of writing the best story I can." - Janet Gurtler, author of I'm Not Her

On Tuesday, learn which part of the story is most challenging for the authors to write!

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