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At What Point Do Feel You've Succeeded?

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I’ve recently sat back and took a good hard look to where I was two years ago and where I am now in my writing career.
And if you’ve never done this on any goals in your life, I strongly suggest you take a look too. February 2010, I was part of a completely different blog. The Naked Hero.
February 2010, I had just completed, Carpe Bead ‘Em, and started The Ladybug Jinx.
February 2011, is still in the hand of two agents, Carpe Bead ‘Em and The Ladybug Jinx were well on their way to be self-published. I had the opportunity to participate in two of a small press holiday anthologies. Something Spooky This Way Comes Halloween Anthology, and Believe Christmas Anthology. These two allowed me to have my first two book signings (both sold out!!) and work with an editor on copy edits, galleys, AND hold my books in my hand!
February 2012, I have self-published six novels and short stories, made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list THREE times, and countless bestsellers lists.
February 2010, I belonged to one grog.
February 2011, I belong to two grogs: The Naked Hero and The Writer’s Guide To EPublishing, plus a monthly appearance over at Past The Print with my dear friend Renee Vincent.
February 2012, I belong to two grogs, The Naked Hero and The World Literary Café, and I have my own blog at
February 2010, I started to market myself as an author with NO book! I made myself a brand and marketed myself where ever possible.
February 2011, I’m working on edits for The Tricked Out Toolbox-Promotional and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs with Misa!
February 2012, The Tricked Out Toolbox is published and hit the best sellers list in two hours.
February 2010, I had 205 friends on Facebook.
February 2011, I have 823 friends and love each and every one of them.
February 2012, I have 2k friends and love each and every one of them on Facebook.
February 2010, I couldn’t wait to read my chick-lit chapter newsletter and take the great on-line classes offered there.
February 2011, I’m going to be featured author in my chick-lit chapter newsletter and I’m on the board!
February 2012, I’m a member of a wonderful critique group that includes an Agatha Nominee and a New York Times bestseller.
February 2010, I was a member of my local RWA chapter.
February 2011, I sit on the board of my local RWA chapter.
February 2012, I am giving workshops to my local chapter, and travel around the United States giving workshops on marketing and promoting as well as self-publishing.
And am I satisfied? Would I sound selfish if I said, no~I know there is more for me? Or am I taking my career so serious, that I want to keep going and see where this gig takes me? Where does an author draw the line of success? How do you measure success in this business?
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First I wanted to finish a full length novel~DONE
That wasn’t good enough, so I wanted an agent to request a full ms~DONE
Again, wanted more: sign a contract~DONE
More-wanted to have a book in my hand~DONE
Still not enough-wanted to have a book signing or two~DONE I’ve got an agent with full manuscript offer representation~STILL WAITING….
So, I’ve gotten almost everything I’ve ever wanted, but when will I feel the success I crave as an author?
How is success defined for you in your passion of life? Have you succeeded?


  1. Hi Tonya, we've all been there and you have succeeded. Representation is only one measure of success. I wrote a similar post a while back --everyone feels it:-) YOU ARE A SUPERSTAR!!!

    1. Awww. . .thanks, Melissa! I absolutely love every single aspect of this journey, but I wonder when you are really truly satisfied and feel like you made it?

  2. Tonya,
    This is the 10 million dollar question isn't it? I think there could always be another level of success we are trying to achieve as authors, so we need to celebrate each step as a victory or we'll never be satisfied.
    I think you've done a wonderful job of this in your timeline above! Seeing how far you've come and celebrating that.
    You ARE a success, my friend! :D

    1. Hi, Lorie! YES! I think there are so many levels and I'm going to keep climbing.

  3. Love Og Mandino. Thank you for the quote!!

  4. I don't think it ever ends. We always want more.

  5. Thanks for this blog. It shows what is possible for those of us just starting out. Quite encouraging. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Richard! I'm so glad you stopped by. Welcome. This is a great lesson for every author at every stage in their career.

  6. There is no end to wanting to be successful. Because if it's truly something you're passionate about, there's always a ladder to climb. And that's not a bad thing either because that's what makes it fun (assuming you don't get frustrated with it).

    Congratulations on your two years of success in the making. 'Tis quite amazing how you progressed in such a short time.

    1. Andrew, I love that about making it fun. I have enjoyed every single rung of this ladder and can't wait to see where it takes me!

  7. Congrats, Tonya! You need to celebrate all these milestones. I'm so proud of you! I love Og Mandino's quote and I feel the same way as you do to keep reaching for the stars. Persistence, hard work and dedication are the keys to success. Keep going, my friend!

    1. "Persistence, hard work and dedication are the keys to success." Yes indeed, Geraldine!

  8. I am very close to my goal now of being able to support my family on my writing income alone. That's all I strive for. Let me further qualify: that also means I'm not writing for others, such as technical writing, freelance magazine articles etc. I'm writing books I want to write, and nothing else.

    I am so close I can taste it!

    And it's only now that technology and social media have progressed to where they are that it's possible for me to do this. I would not have been able to be independent, and commercially viable 10 years ago. Now I can.


    1. Oh! Eoghan that is fabulous! I'm striving for the same goal, to quit that day job and make writing my one and only. It will happen.
      It's so important to be able to write what you want and make a living from it. That is successful in its own.

    2. Thanks so much Tonya, and I must say, this is my favorite writing BLOG now. I only recently discovered you, but your how you manage a day job, writing, and time to help your fellow authors out via this BLOG, boggles my mind.

      You go girl!


  9. Great blog, Tonya. I think people are wired to always want more. stiffle them long enough and they re-direct those wants into another direction.

    thanks for the encouragement and insight.

    well done

    1. Hi, Louise. Thank you for commenting. This keeps me encouraged to keep going and reaching for those stars.

  10. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and blessings, first of all! I don't have an agent. I don't have a best seller. I have two Christian romantic suspense novels published, and I have won first prize for a short story. I've published articles, devotionals, poems, and short stories. Like you, I'm still striving for more. I'd love to have a best seller. That's human nature, but so far my biggest success comes from hearing from my readers, that they've enjoyed my novels, and were touched by them. If I bring enjoyment and entertainment to readers, that's success. If I touch hearts and lives, that's success. If I see favorable reviews posted on Amazon, that's success. If my publisher signs me for another novel, that's success. My manuscripts are no longer collecting dust in a file cabinet or sitting in a computer folder. People are actually buying my two novels and sometimes, like yesterday for example, buying both from Amazon at one time. I love connecting with my readers and gaining feedback. I love meeting new people on Facebook as a result of my writing. I didn't self publish, but I have to admit I've thought about it. If I touch one person's heart for God, that's success. My novels are both full of romance and suspense, but I write for Him, and I love it. That's success. I'm an avid reader and a passionate writer, and I write out my heart and soul for Him. That's success. It's not always defined in terms of fame and fortune. Those two would be the icing on the cake. I love writing, and I'm happy when I'm creating other worlds for readers to journey through the pages of a book. As a child, I learned the best way to fight boredom or to go places I couldn't go in real life, was through a good book. I've traveled many places I may never in real life and plan to travel many more, Lord willing. Blessings and success to all of us in our individual ways, the Lord's will for our writing. BJ Robinson

    1. BJ, what a lovely comment and so inspiring. Your so right. Success to me is NOT about fortune or fame, it's about reaching my dream. Books are a great way to escape and be transported. You are a blessing.

  11. Great post. Do you think success has seasons? Spring is for those dreams of finishing a book. Summer for publishing the book and the things that flow from that, like signings and awards. Autumn for pulling back and saving our best creativity for the things we love to do. Winter for writing those books we didn't dare write when we were first starting out.

    I don't know. At every step of my publishing journey, I've found my goals changing, but always around how to create space and time to write the books I want to write. I'm still not there, but I hope to be there one day. I really don't like dithering over which book to write next (even more important when you know you will be putting on Amazon et al and actually selling it!). But that may be my essential nature -- to never quite believe I can call myself successful for publishing twelve books in traditonal publishing, reissuing my backlist in ebook, and embarking on an indie original career where I call the shots.

    1. Thats a really interesting observation Kelly. I wonder. We are creatures of the world, our biological systems have evolved with seasons, why not our inclinations towards creativity?

  12. Great post. I feel it's important to measure your success. If we all went out the gate to be Konrath or Rowling, we'd all be miserable failures in comparison. But if we make measured goals, we can attain those and be encouraged to move towards a bigger, better goal.

    My success is currently defined as 'sales'. And I'm seeing those. I'm only seeing enough for a little spending money, but it's something. And for my first book - I'm happy with it.

    My new goal? Blog tour. Never done it - need to do it.

  13. Congratulations! And thank you for showing us the steps you took to reach the success you have. I don't think we're ever done, if we're serious. There will always be another hill to climb, like a different genre to explore. I think to continue to challenge yourself is the real goal, yet you must also have fun and enjoy that challenge.

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