What Constitutes Success?

I’ve pondered this question off and on over the past year. You can read the guest post I did on JA Konrath’s blog last summer for some further insights on how I feel about my own writing career.


Slide from Digital Book World 2014 survey of authors.

As with most things, success for most people boils down to money. How much did you make? Was it enough to live on? Did you get filthy, stinking rich? The results of a recent survey by Digital Book World are making the rounds on the Internet right now and show that the majority of writers make less than $1,000 per year — regardless of whether they were self-published or picked up by a traditional publisher.

What should we make of this?

Don’t quit your day job.

Even most authors who have been plucked from the slush piles by a publisher don’t earn enough to live solely from their writing incomes. In fact, as little as 10% or less do. (Using $20,000 as a benchmark. In many areas, that figure wouldn’t keep a roof over your head either) The percentage isn’t much different for self-published authors. Hybrids are doing a little better, according to the survey. I’m guessing that’s because of a wider and more diversified platform. Still, over 80% of them don’t hit that $20K figure, according to the survey, which boasts a participation of around 10,000 authors.

Write because you love it. If you want to get rich quick, buy a lottery ticket. Your odds are about as good.

What constitutes success for you? Satisfaction of accomplishment? Earning a living wage? I’m eager to hear what you think!

Lastly, for those of you who haven’t given Knot in Time a try, your golden opportunity is coming next week … stay tuned!


About Alan Tucker

Writer, Dad, Graphic Designer, Soccer Coach … not necessarily in that order!

Posted on January 22, 2014, in Books/Writing, Random/Rants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Alan, I think in whatever we do, we must always seek happiness. Yes, happiness itself won’t put a roof over our heads, or food in our bellies, but life is short, so do what you love. You never know when an opportunity will present itself to help make your dreams come true. Great post!

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