Success as an author comes in a number of ways
If you’re an author, there is no better dream than to have the word ‘bestselling’ affixed to your title.
Seeing your name at the top of a bestselling list, be it on Amazon, The New York Times or on Goodreads. 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, we have to accept that our books are probably going to reside towards the ‘fatter’ part of this bestselling pyramid.
But this doesn’t mean that a book is unsuccessful, though. Depending on your own goals and aspirations, success can come in many forms. If your own 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 in from here on in.
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 months 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 that 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 to measure one’s success as a writer.