Saturday, December 10, 2011

Definition of Success

Exactly what is success? I thought about that as I read a Wall Street Journal article about an author named Darcie Chan. This past summer her debut e-book, The Mill River Recluse, came out.
It has sold more than 400,000 copies and landed on the best-seller lists alongside brand-name authors like Michael Connelly, James Patterson and Kathryn Stockett.
That sounds like success to me.

And yet … she was rejected by a dozen publishers and more than 100 literary agents. So she e-published it herself. Then she went beyond just publishing it:
She bought some ads on Web sites targeting e-book readers, paid for a review from Kirkus Reviews, and strategically priced her book at 99 cents to encourage readers to try it.
Now, she’s receiving bids from foreign imprints, movie studios and audio-book publishers.
Multiple audio-book publishers have made offers. Six film studios have inquired about movie rights. Two foreign publishers bid on the book.
Sounds like success to me.
Ms. Chan is holding off on such deals, for fear they might sabotage a potential contract with a domestic publisher.
She wants the book to be published in print form.

What is her definition of “success”? What is yours?


  1. I want to make readers laugh with my stories. So I'll count myself as successful if I receive feedbacks from readers who tell me they have a grand time reading my books.

    My Darcy Vibrates…

  2. That does sound like success, Enid.

  3. Sounds like success to me too!

    At this point, I'm still learning & I find success is each thing I learn & am able to apply :)

  4. If I sold 400 copies of my latest tome, I'd be giddy with success. 400,000? They'd have to take me to the laughing academy, drooling and panting.

  5. Same here, Jemi. There's always something to learn. Now, I need to learn about e-publishing. It never ends.

    Christopher, wouldn't be nice to have the problem of selling 400,000+ books?

  6. I believe success is reaching your goal. It sounds like she did a great job at marketing and her hard work paid off.

  7. I agree with Enid - knowing others enjoyed it is success to me. The whole thing with the Amazon Best Seller chart was icing on the cake. To experience what she's experiencing? Mind-boggling success!!

  8. To me, success is having people read and like my stories. I would classify hers as mind-boggling success!

  9. Right now, I define success as getting my stories out there in print (either online or on a physical page) so people can read them.

  10. The problem, for me at least, is that the definition of success changes.

    I thought I would feel successful when a few people besides my close friends enjoyed reading my book. When that happened, I redefined success as having more people read and enjoy it.

    Right now, success for my book would be its gaining the respect of influential people ... in other words, reaching an even larger market.

    It sounds as if Darcy Chan has changed her definition in much the same way.

  11. Good points, all of you. For all of us, our idea of success changes over time.

  12. I saw this article and found it very interesting, particularly that she still wants to be signed by a domestic publisher. Why? She is extraordinarily successful on her own. Is it still that there is a stigma attached to self-publishing? I really think that has to change. She wrote a good story, marketed it well, and was a success by all measures that I can see. Self-publishing is no longer "vanity" publishing. We as writers and readers need to help change this image. My two cents. Ok, maybe it was only worth one cent, a cent and a half... :)

  13. Success is to achieve your goals, and perhaps a little bit more >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  14. For most authors, that is beyond success!

  15. I read (in Stephen King's book, 'On Writing') that something like only 5% of all published authors make enough money to actually live on the royalties. I write to inspire, so getting positive feedback/reviews that I have done so is success, but I wouldn't mind making it into that top 5%, either. This Chan is clever and a go-getter - great ideas!

  16. At this point I just want to get done with these edits and know that i did the best I could with them. I'll deal with the rest when it comes...

    *looks at pile of edits* *sighs*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...