I wrote a book that has a beginning, a middle, and an end (something I always had struggled to do; I have lots of books with no endings--lots). I worked really hard and got an agent. Then I lost an agent. Then I started over from the bottom. I kept going.
I then signed on with a publisher and published a book this past March. The reviews that are coming in are AWESOME and it thrills me to no end when a fan tells me that they loved the book and can't wait for the next in the series.
It gives me such an amazing feeling--I can ride that high for days.
But then someone will come along and ask about book sales (ugh) or ask if I'm going to be the next Stephanie Meyer (UGH!! Stop asking me that). If THAT is the definition of success, then I'm a huge failure and probably always will be. Heck, a good 99.9999% of us authors/writers will be considered failures, and that sucks!
Is that really what success is?
If so, that totally blows. I have no chance of achieving success with that kind of bar placed so high (Yes, Meyers set the bar. Kind of amazing, huh?).
So now what? Give up? Keep going despite knowing I'm a loser in the eyes of those who rate my success based on some INSANE definition of what a successful author is?
An author has to be crazy to keep writing and writing and writing knowing they'll never be considered successful. Well, guess what...I'm crazy. AND, since I don't like the so-called definition of a successful author, I reject it.
So there :P
When did the world decide that only the extraordinary are considered successful? Because here's the thing...the world has far more average and ordinary people than extraordinary ones. It's true. Take a look around you. Unless you're Donald Trump or JLO, I'm pretty certain the people who are in the same room with you have average (yet wonderful) lives. Those glamorous-rich folks are few and far between, and success measured by this definition is highly unlikely for most of us. Sorry to burst your bubble. Who wants to live their lives trying to measure their success based on that? Not me.
I've decided that for me (feel free to decide this for yourself as well -- the more the merrier) that my ordinary is going to be considered extraordinary. TA-DA! POOF! And it is done.
I don't have bucket loads of money coming in from the sales of my book, but that's okay. That's not how I'm measuring my success anyway. People from around the world are reading my book -- Ireland, England, France, Croatia, Australia, Canada, South America -- SUCCESS. Readers are enjoying what I've written -- SUCCESS. I'm publishing more books (one next month and another in November, and they have endings too) -- SUCCESS. I love what I do -- HUGE SUCCESS.
Katrina Kenison, author of “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” (Grand Central Publishing, 2009). “Ordinary has a bad rap, and so does settling — there is the idea is that we should always want more,” she said. “But there’s a beauty in cultivating an appreciation for what we already have.”
We need to rethink the definition of success and stretch its boundaries a little to include more people. Wouldn't that be better than excluding a world of ordinary, but awesome individuals? I think so. Maybe I don't have everything the world has to offer, as far as being an author is concerned, but no way am I going to discount what I have achieved and consider myself a failure for not having reached the top rung on the ladder. I'm grateful for the rung I'm clinging to.
Am I going to be the next Stephanie Meyer? Nope. I'm Angela Scott, YA Author to the few, and I'm perfectly fine with that. In fact, it's pretty extraordinary when you think about it.