Defining Success

26 February 2024


Photo above: Three male bluebirds sitting on a bird feeder. The one on the right is eating in peace; the two on the left are facing each other, beaks open in discussion. “My success is defined by eating my lunch in peace!” “Okay, okay! There’s no need to shout.”

February 26, 2024


The Way of the Wielder, book one: I finished my read through early last week, and sent the manuscript off to my new editor. She’ll start her editing process today, and I should have it back by mid-March.

The Way of the Wielder, book three (WIP): Once I finished the read through of book one, I picked up where I left off with book three, and it was awesome! I wrote about 6,600 words in five days, 5,000 of which was a chapter I’d been thinking about for two years. It’s an important character development chapter, but includes lots of spoilers, so I’ll say no more. But trust me, you’ll love it (eventually)!


Over the weekend, there was a question within Mastodon’s writing community (#WritersCoffeeClub) about Amazon. Specifically, it asked how one feels about the influence Amazon has on books and publishing. The answers were thought-provoking, and led to me having a conversation with my husband about success—and what it means to me.

Defining Success

Everyone has their own personal definition of success. In my corporate life, how I defined success was almost exclusively by the end-result. How I got there didn’t matter, so long as the project, response, or some other deliverable was achieved.

But when I stepped away from corporate life, I had to redefine what success meant to me. Being a full-time writer is—as you can imagine—vastly different from being in public relations in a corporate setting. It takes some adjustment to make that switch, and honestly, it’s something I’m still adjusting to in many ways. This became apparent in my discussion with my husband.

The Meaning of Success

“What does success mean to you?” he asked me.

I danced around the answer, offering thoughts tainted by corporate jargon and capitalistic results. “It’s complicated,” I said in closing. “It’s not a stagnant answer. Success is like a ladder. Once a goal is met, there’s always another step to take.”

He shook his head. “What does it mean to you as a writer?”

Again, I dithered (I dislike when people dither), but the truth was, I didn’t have an answer. I’ve spent the last year and a half as a full-time writer, and couldn’t define it.

I took a step back and came at it a different way, asking myself: Do you define success by writing the novel, having people enjoy the novel, or selling the novel for profit?

Whew, what a question.

Doing What Makes Me Happy

Every day, I look forward to diving into the worlds I’ve created. I long to get into the heads of my characters, to make their magic real, and to bring their stories to life on the page. I love it. I crave it. It’s a passion of mine—one that I can’t truly describe, no matter how hard I try.

That passion, I think, is how I define success. Would I like my novels to sell well? Of course—what author wouldn’t? But to me, it’s not the selling of the book that defines success. It’s that I was happy while writing it. Second to that, it’s that people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If I can make a profit after meeting those two things, that’s great (but that’s not the goal).

The Capitalist Twist

It’s funny to think about success in this way, considering that I’m weeks away from publishing The Way of the Wielder. To me, my work is priceless. I’ve told these stories from my heart, and they mean more to me than any monetary value I can assign them. But at the end of the day, I do have to assign a value to them—and there are multiple things to consider while doing so.

There’s the story itself, which I’ve spent over three years writing/editing. Then there’s professional editing, cover art, copyright paperwork, the ISBN process, marketing (which is just my time), and printing/processing fees for publishing. I mention these things more to inform you about what goes into publishing a novel. I don’t expect to make a profitable return on investment, because that’s not my goal. My goal is to enjoy writing, and to do everything I can to ensure you enjoy the story as much as possible.

There will be a cost for the book, of course, but it’ll be one that I think is reasonable. Hopefully, you’ll think so, too.


I know this was a longer post, so thanks for reading! Until next time, be well, and stay creative.