From the Editor: Gauging Success By Your Own Standards

From the Editor:

Gauging Success 
By Your Own Standards

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Managing Editor

©2001, Lazette Gifford

My first published story appeared  in Jackhammer Ezine on July 19, 1999.  Since then I've sold another seventeen short stories and two novels, and resold that first publication in a 'Best of' anthology.  That should be success by anyone's standards.  However, even I found myself saying to people, "It's (just) another Internet sale" with a silent 'just' implied in my tone.  Odd statement for someone who is actively promoting the Internet as a young, but growing, medium for writers. Did I think I hadn't been successful? 

I would love to make a paper print sale -- novel or short story.  But that doesn't discount the fact that I've sold well, made a little money, and exchanged emails with several people who have enjoyed what I wrote.  I've even had a couple very nice review mentions, and was Ideomancer E-Zine's Author of the Month for April, 2001. 


If that wasn't success, would I be any happier with a print sale -- just because it was more money?  Because there might be more readers?  Granted, both of those reasons have some appeal.  However, I finally realized that my longing to be in paper print was based more on  the hope I would then be counted as successful by those who still do not believe in the Internet as a market for fiction.    


I am not going to be a best-selling New York Times List writer.  Some people will always believe that I have failed to reach an important goal by never making the list.  Should I still allow that to affect how I feel about what I have done?  I will not be a top selling SF/Fantasy author either.  Not every author in the genre is, after all. That doesn't mean I'm not writing an occasional good story that some people enjoy. 


So, here are my 'words of wisdom' for this issue: Don't let others decide your goals and successes.  If you try to sell something anywhere, and you do, that is a success.  You may have greater successes later, but that doesn't make any sale unimportant. Decide your goals, and don't be embarrassed when you make them. 


I enjoy selling material on the Internet.  I'm happy with my sales.  There are  several good reasons to keep trying for paper publications, including more money and larger readership.  And, yes, prestige.  Besides, any new market a writer breaks into is good for his career.  But for measuring success -- well, I stepped back and looked at those twenty sales I've made in the last year and nine months.  

You know, it looked remarkably like success to me.