Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Ellen Hart writes:

Success, the brass ring, the pot at the end of the rainbow--we all think we know what that is for us. But do we really? Is it a rave review in the New York Times? Making a bestseller list? Being invited to appear on Oprah? Becoming the new Dan Brown? Or is it something less obvious, but every bit as important?

Here's today's burning question:

What does success mean to you as a writer?


KD Easley said...

Success for me is receiving an email from a reader. Nothing makes my day more than hearing from someone that loved my book. It's the little things really. Of course I might change my tune if I started making bags of money or achieved worldwide fame. :)

Sandra Parshall said...

I think a writer's definition of success changes over time, and the more successful she is in commercial terms, the less satisfied she may be. That's unfortunate. Everybody wants to make money from writing, but in the end what really defines success is reader response. Like KD, I love hearing from readers who have enjoyed my writing. One woman told me that reading The Heat of the Moon had helped her understand her own troubled relationship with her mother. Touching someone else's life in that way is one form of success.

Sheila Connolly said...

Good question. It starts as accomplishment: look, I finished a book! Then attracting an agent and an editor. Those are the easily identified steps.

Once the book is on bookshelves? Having people take the time to tell you that they saw it at their local bookstore. Coming upon it unexpectedly at an airport, and fighting the urge to point to strangers and say, "look! That's me!"

And of course, hearing from readers who understand what you were trying to say, and who can identify with your characters (assuming you don't write serial killers!).

Leigh said...

I feel successful right now because I am putting the last touches on my finished book. I've written others and had my share of the dreaded rejection letters, but something about this book feels different.

Hallie Ephron said...

YES, hearing from readers who liked my book.
YES, finishing a manuscript!
To the world at large: penning a book that hits the NY Times bestseller list.
To me: Still(!) having fun and not having to take lots of freelance work in order to pay my bills.

Sharon McKane said...

The epitome of success for me... having my first novel published and read by my eighty year old mother. Seeing the happiness in her eyes would be enough to last me a lifetime.

Well, at least until the next manuscript is finished.

Linda Rader said...

Finishing an manuscript and getting praise for my writing from critique partners, publishers or readers are the greatest satisfaction. Money is nice too.