As an author, here are some questions that are good to ask:
What made you decide to publish your work?
I have wanted to be an author since I first leaned how books came to be, and coming from a business-acumen type family, the money is what proves success. That is in my blood, so that's one thing that is always a consideration for me. I write very niche, and dreams of a big advance were tantalizing but unrealistic. I was scared to go self-pub, as someone without much of a"people you know" network I figured that would be money wasted. (And that was right.)
Attending a conference where the buzz was all about e-books got me to thinking about releasing in that medium, which I did for the first time in 2011. It was affordable, and was an invaluable step, it gained me some fans and I learned a whole lot through the process. Book 2 in the series released July 2013, and I finally feel like I have my head above water on all this online marketing stuff. I'm still not hardly any good at it, (and sales are super low) but at least I understand what marketing gurus are talking about!
At this stage I am writing madly, fully committed to the process of becoming a successful author and intent on having the 7-10 books out that status seems to demand... I've followed indie authors who are successful, and their "slow start" mantra makes sense, so I'm in it for the long haul. I know my work is good, it's received praise from such a wide range of readers, so all I have to do is put the time in and be diligent. I believe, (with the Lord's help!) that I can make a small income off of my writing, and I'm setting my sights on the future.
What keeps you going on the tough days?
I remember how much I was shaped by the books I read as a teen, and I really, really want to have my stories help youngsters, (and oldsters,) inspiring and directing them upwards on the trail of life. This, and the fact that the writing is in my veins, it seems, and I can't stop. Even if all the words were deleted every month, I would keep writing. (I just wouldn't agonize over finishing anything in that scenario, since it wouldn't matter! So I'd just do the fun stuff and skip all that editing! )
What would you consider success for your author career?
Straight up? Money talks: and I would like to make at least part of a living with my books. I know others are doing way better than that, (genre is big here though so... romance, erotica, and thrillers seem to be easiest to make a good living with) but if I could bring in a small slice of actual cash with my words, I'd consider myself totally successful.
Short of that, there are other levels; being recognized as an "author" when meeting in Real Life friends I've only known online.
Being respected as a "good writer" in online circles.
Having a fan friend me on FB because they read something I wrote and loved it.
That's super nice.
As I become more adept at my social media presence and my connecting circles expand, that reputation factor will continue to grow, and at some point I hope to be a presenter at a(/some) conference(/s) on world building/ how to pick the best clothes for your author photos/ descriptions that sing... I'm not too picky. But that would be very nice, and I think that will happen. (I've got big ideas on how to attend conferences!!! )
Other than that? 7 books, in print, on my shelf, and knowing that people are buying them. That would also be a success... and I think it's in the future.
It's always interesting to think about these questions! Re-evaluation is a major tool, and although I'm no closer to knowing exactly how to make this stuff happen, being clear on intentions helps one recognize steps when they come along.
How about you? What's your definition of success?
And when you look at the world and the writers in it, what makes you think "That author is a success!" I'd LOVE to hear your take on this one!!!