What is the best way to judge the success of your writing?
Seeing your name at the top of a bestselling list, be it on Amazon, The New York Times, or Goodreads, is a writer’s dream.
The reality is, however, that there is only room for one book at any given time at the peak of what is a gigantic and ever-growing pyramid of published books.
For most of us, we have to accept that our books are probably going to reside towards the ‘fatter’ part of this best-selling pyramid.
But this doesn’t mean that a book is unsuccessful, though. Depending on your goals and aspirations, success as a writer can come in many forms.
If your measure is based only on how much money you make from your book, perhaps you might stop reading here, because I won’t be mentioning it.
Without a doubt, my most successful book to date for me has been Louis.
The reason is that I just had to write this story about a man who helped shape my understanding of the world around me as a young boy.
That he had died forty years before I finally wrote it gave me a sense, in an abstract way, of saying thank you to him.
But the success of this book for me was that his wife, who passed away only a few years ago at the age of ninety-nine, was able to read my story about her husband.
If I sell not one more single copy, I’m more than satisfied. Maria, the most important reader in the world for me, read my story about her husband, Louis.
In other ways too. One reader told me about how reading February The Fifth, during a very difficult time for him, brought a laugh while all around him was very grim.
To know you have touched someone like this is worth more than any financial reward for a writer.
Then there are wonderful little remarks such as, ‘you gave me such a good laugh,’ or ‘I can really relate to your characters.’
Sure, any praise is gladly accepted, but when words touch people and make them laugh, think, or cry, then the effort has been worthwhile.
Yes, money is nice to have but so quickly disappears.
There are more important ways in which you can measure your success as a writer.
More reading: How You Can Leave More Than Footprints In The Sand