Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is the Hallmark of Success?

I have always wondered what is the hallmark of success for writers. Success is different for different people especially when we take writers into consideration. For some just getting published is being successful as a writer. For some others it is  getting an agent. Now whether that agent is able to sell the manuscript is another thing.

For few other writers  success is measured in terms of getting a huge advance. Big advance equals a huge buzz which ensures a steady mention by the different media. Advances do arouse the interest factor and also ensure that people get familiar with both  the writer and the book.

Success for some would be the number of copies sold. More copies equals to more people reading our books which is also equivalent to more royalty. The more people who read our stories the wider is our reach. While there are a few who believe that winning awards is the ultimate sign of being successful as an author.  I feel winning awards does make the road towards publishing smoother and faster. Though award winning authors may not be selling many copies of their books, they are albeit taken seriously atleast by the literatti.

For me the definition of success has changed with time. Initially it was just to find a publisher. After a few books of mine hit the shelves, my idea of success changed to a fervent desire to see the book go into several reprints.

Now it is to get an agent and also hope that the agent is able to sell the manuscript. I would hate to find my agent and then face disappointment when the manuscript remains unsold.

Personally, I think I would consider myself successful if my books sell well, irrespective of the advances I get, irrespective of the publishing houses who publish my books. More and more I am noticing atleast in India, that smaller, previously unheard of publishing houses are coming out with books that are selling remarkably well ; the number of copies sold is phenomenal.

What is the hallmark of success as a writer for you? Is it a huge advance, a big agent, a large publishing house, being on the best-seller list for weeks, winning awards, or just getting published. Please share your views.

23 comments:

Rahul Bhatia said...

A very meaningful post! Well getting the audience to read what you write in other terms it is the number of copies sold is my measure, though I am yet to publish:)

Pradeep said...

Good thought, Rachna... You are right, success differs for different people.

I guess, it's better not to brand success as one thing or other, rather leave to each one to determine what it is for them.

Then how are you, Rachna?

Rachit said...

Success is comparative... for few monetary gains mater the most and for others its the fame.

Weakest LINK

Slamdunk said...

I like your thinking Rachna. Success certainly has many defintions.

If I wrote a book (it would have to be something that is intended to inspire), I think simply feedback that it had a positive impact on others would be good enough for me. I am not interested in fame or fortune.

Julia Hones said...

Very interesting post. I was thinking about this the other day, and I had the exact same question! In my case, I would like to reach readers who are interested in reading what I write, my target audience( the more readers the better). I'm looking into different opportunities out there to achieve this...

Langa Tenzin said...

Nice post ma'am. As far as a blogger like me is concerned, number of followers and kind of comments show how successful or not I am. :) Enjoyed reading the post.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

A good question. I suppose that would be that my novels were accepted for publication and each achieved a certain following and could be found on the shelves in any bookshop. That would be my hallmark of success.

Saumya said...

This post brings up such a great point: not only can success vary among individuals, it can also vary depending on time in life. I don't think I've defined success yet when it comes to writing...I suppose I'm happy with having finished a book but I still don't know if I'd call that successful.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Friends....everyone's idea of success is different. Its nice to read so many different opinions. One thing we all do agree is that the ultimate success of our books lies in the number of readers a story makes a connection with.

Robyn Campbell said...

Success = happiness. Even if I was never published (of course, I hope that is not true), but if I wasn't, I have had success. My family, health, our farm, all the blogging pals I have met. It has made the ride worthwhile. You included, Rachna!

But I guess landing the publishing deal would do it for me. Then there would be the next one and the next one and the next one! :-)

Mark Noce said...

"Just to love and be loved in return." I don't mean that as a cop-out, but believe it truly applies to everything. Rock stars, presidents, and writers all admit that despite their accomplishments it all adds up to a big "so what" without friends and family around you.

Shallee said...

This is something I've thought a lot about during my break from writing and blogging. I am still in the process of deciding what constitutes success for my writing, but I have decided that whatever that success may be, I don't want it to define my entire life. I want to be a success as a mother, wife, and all-around good human being. Writing is only one part of that.

Kenda Turner said...

Great question, Rachna. I agree that the definition of success changes as we go along. For sure I'd like to see my books published, but I also believe success is measured in the progress we make, how we grow in our craft, and the things we learn along the way. As long as we're moving forward, we'll find some measure of success no matter what :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rachna -

Thanks for commenting on my blog and becoming a Follower. I've signed up here as a Follower.

The hallmark of success for me is seeing a reader impacted by my stories.

Blessings,
Susan :)

alexia said...

Great pic and post! To me, success is probably being on the NY Times bestseller list. You know, nothing too big :)

Life Unordinary said...

loyal readership, to me!

Lydia Kang said...

I would love a loyal readership! What a dream come true. :)

PaSsu said...

As a young boy I was interested in getting a book published, and it didn't matter how many copies or which publisher- just wanted to see my book in the style I wanted.

But over time without my knowledge I have changed a lot. Now I only want to write, and each time I write something on my blog I derive happiness and my success depends on the number of times I write.

Dave King said...

For me the definition of success has changed with time.

For me this was the significant sentence. I think it rue in all walks of life and all through life.

Lynda R Young said...

my levels of success come in stages--I feel successful when I've finished a first draft, and again when I complete a manuscript. Some days I'll settle for a sense of success when I manage to sit down and actually write. The moment I hit one goal, the next comes along.

Misha Gericke said...

I have ambitions, but I try to measure my success by the little things. Like a person letting me know that they loved what I wrote. :-)

SBJones said...

For me, in the end it comes down to two things. Money and units sold, and units sold is losing ground to money.

I say money because in the end, that is the only value you can actually place on a published book that is universal across platforms and genera. Awards and units sold are more publicity and fame than money.

Example. My first book hit 3 top one hundred charts on Amazon. My second book has yet to break even into the top 10,000. Last week however, book one sold 100 units and book two sold 70. Book one earned $208 but book two earned $238 with a higher price point. Small potatoes in the end, but "Best Seller" made less than Book two and book two had 30% less sales...

Still, there are a lot of things that I use to label success. I have published a book. I sold books in foreign countries. My book is on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. I have done book signings. I have hit "best seller" lists. However, all of these have yet to "make me money".

Jitendra Gupta said...

your post is awesome;;
as I am aspiring writer and struggling to learn about 'how to write?' my hallmark of success is just getting published...