The Measure of Success

I couldn’t sleep last night. Why? Well, I was thinking about writing this particular post. I had planned on writing about serials and their popularity but this topic weighed on my mind. As an author, how does one go about measuring success? As a writer, how do you know you’re successful? I met a childhood friend for lunch and the topic of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited surfaced in our conversation. She’d read that the subscription service was really hurting authors, and was it affecting me?

Truthfully, I don’t know. I don’t sell enough books to have an accurate gauge of whether or not one book subscription service is hurting my sales. I’ve had three books in Kindle Unlimited. Personally, I don’t think I’ll opt in again. The reason? Kindle Unlimited requires the author sells exclusively through them. Two other subscription services, Oyster and Scribd, don’t require that kind of exclusiveness. And, KU pays authors one royalty amount, regardless of whether that book sells for 0.99, 2.99 or 5.99. For September, Amazon paid out $1.52 for one unit (downloaded copy) of Never Forget Always Remember.

Someone who didn’t buy into the subscription program paid the $3.99 price, netting me $2.75. $1.25 is a big difference. Imagine the author who is selling millions opting into KU and getting $1.52 rather than the $2.75. It adds up quick. Now, the aggravating thing is that books “borrowed” at the 99 cents price will earn the same $1.52 as my $3.99 NFAR book. And even more aggravating, I’m stuck in KU for 90 days. That’s Amazon’s terms. So no selling books and gaining new readers through other retailers’ sites.

How does this tie in to the title of the post, “The Measure of Success?” As I was looking through my blog’s archived posts, I began to read the comments. There were many uplifting, supportive comments from people who understood what I went through. Getting bit by the writing bug is a wonderful thing. I love having a creative outlet for my muse. And lots of you shared how writing has affected your life in good and bad ways. You also shared of your discouragements and the obstacles you face to finding the time to write. What I’ve read more of lately is of writers giving up. Yes, writing is hard. The market is oversaturated. Anyone can write and publish a book. The stigma of being self-published, an Indie author, is gone. But that doesn’t mean you should stop writing!

Everyone can write. Not everyone can write a story and have the guts to publish it! To me, that is the measure of success along with the fortitude and resilience to do it again. And again. And again.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. I’ve come up with a writing mantra that will help me focus on being successful. Now, your personal goal might be my first mantra. But I find that if I write other than for the enjoyment of telling a story, my muse tends to shut-up, lol. Okay, here’s my list. Feel free to share yours! What is success to you?

1. I don’t write to make money.

2.       I write to share stories with others.

3.       I write to express my creativity.

4.       There is more to life than writing.

5.       I shall not compare myself to others.

6.       My stories are not for everyone.

7.       Success is measured by one reader at a time.

8.       This is a marathon not a sprint.


“In secret we met, in silence I grieve, that thy heart could forget, thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee after long years, how should I greet thee? With silence and tears.” ~Lord Byron

On replay:  Breaking Benjamin “I Will Not Bow”