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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all have different goals and benchmarks for success. I'm curious about other people's.

What are the various "milestones" for your success as a writer? Obvious ones would be "finishing the book" and "publishing the book" and "that first sale."

But what else? How do you measure your success?
 

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I always wanted my book(s) to be read by people I didn't know. Maybe that sounds silly, but I don't think I'm the only one. I mean, I know many of my family and friends want to read my upcoming book, but it'll really mean more to me when someone who doesn't care about me judges my book as worthy enough to spend some money on, you know?
 

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My favorite moment was seeing an anthology I contributed to in bookstores. It's funny because it wasn't really even my book, just something I had written a few pages of. But it was the most exciting of all my small victories. :)

My newest favorite milestone? Passing the 1,000 copies sold mark. When I first began submitting my work all those years ago I never dreamed my best sales would come from a self-published novelette I wrote in a single month.

I'm now looking forward to the 5K milestone and then (if I get very lucky) the 10K.
 

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My first fan mail was a HUGE milestone to me. The book that got it had a 4 star review from Romantic Times, but as far as I was concerned, the fan mail was my official 'jump wings'.

Followed by a throw away side character in my second book garnering a fan following. That was a total smile milestone!!!! People kept asking : When's Alex's book? (Alex is an *ss kicking, stone cold bad *ss realtor who fights monsters and sells property to them too. He has three or four lines of dialogue and is in one scene in the book, and one scene only. So you can see, this guy getting a fan following was kind of a trip.) I used to hear authors talk all the time about how fans would fall in love with a character that stole the show with only a limited appearance and always thought, wow, that's good writing to be able to bring out character in little to no word count. So getting the fan following was a feel good for me.

Another milestone: a big jump in my writing skills. It happened in A Haunting Affair, and was so off the wall while I was going through it I thought I had lost my ability to write at one point and had no idea what was going on, and almost stopped writing it. Then I grabbed my old books for perspective. And finished AHA. But where it really showed was test chapter 1 of the follow up book. I realized I'd made this big internal shift, and it was a really strange, yet cool experience. The only other way I could describe it is when you do something really hard and cant get it and cant get it and then after a while, you not only get it, you do it w/o thinking. Reading over chapter 1 of the next book and thinking about how crazy writing AHA was, and knowing: 'man, I just evolved, wtf?!?!?': THAT was a freaking milestone of EPIC proportions. It felt sort of like growing an extra arm or something.

My next milestone will be my first indie pub sale to a stranger. That will be a cool milestone.

And my fifth book. I don't know why, but I think that will be a milestone. A 'I can't believe I made it this far' kind of milestone. Plus, five is traditionally a number of universal change, so I bet it will bring something weird. I like weird.
 

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Books, pretty much.  Every time I finish a book (written, edited, proofed, formatted) I feel enormously satisfied, like I've taken a definite step forward.  Other things, especially those that I have no control over, don't inspire quite the same satisfaction.  It's nice to get sales and very nice to get reviews, but it's productivity that really makes me feel like I'm moving forward.
 

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I've always been skulking around on the fringes of the writing camp, while not shunned, not welcomed.  I did have one 'beggar at the banquet' triumph as a writer.  Google "Eight Copies Sold is Enough" if you want to read about that.  What I want next, and I'm working hard to get it, is sales success, at least with my genre stuff.  I don't expect big numbers with my Mainstream/Aspires-to-Literary fiction.  The other thing I'm hoping for is a review by a regular big city daily.  That never happens, but I can dream, can't I?

Well, it's off to bed and more dreams.

I has spoken...
 

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Ben White said:
Books, pretty much. Every time I finish a book (written, edited, proofed, formatted) I feel enormously satisfied, like I've taken a definite step forward. Other things, especially those that I have no control over, don't inspire quite the same satisfaction. It's nice to get sales and very nice to get reviews, but it's productivity that really makes me feel like I'm moving forward.
I totally agree with this. I'm going to fake "like" your post since we don't have a button.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Completing my first novel just before my 62nd birthday on June 5 -- as I had promised myself -- was HUGE. I was an emotional basket case for a week afterward. I didn't know if I "had it in me" to write fiction, let alone complete a novel that, in print edition, comes in at 458 pages. I proved both things to myself on my birthday. That was reward enough.

Although the 5-star Amazon reviews the book is getting certainly are nice! It's good to know that I'm not the only one who likes the thriller and wants it to launch a continuing series.
 

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Lots!

- Get e-book(s) published
- Publish book POD
- Get a 5* review from someone I don't know
- Sell 1,000 e-books
- Sell book related merchandising to people who aren't friends or family
- Break even (editing costs will be very significant since I want to produce good quality books, this is a career not a hobby for me.)
- Sell 10,000 e-books
- Sell hard-back edition
- Produce foreign translations
- See my book in a library
- See my book in a bookshop
- Sell 100,000 e-books
- Have TV/movie rights optioned
- Have people write fan-fiction involving my characters
- Have national TV/Radio station approach me for an interview
- Sell 500,000 e-books
- Have TV/movie production actually made
- Sell 1,000,000 e-books
- Sell 1,000,000 print books
- Be made Poet Laureate ;)

So yes, I have modest ambitions... ;D
 

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In the short term? Getting the second and third installments of my series up on Kindle/Nook/Smashwords. I'll have the second one up sometime in the next week or so.

Long term? Creating an 8 story/book arc that could be massaged into a screenplay, eventually. And then working on a spinoff series of books after my two main characters make an interesting discovery that, uh, changes the main focus of the storyline. Call it a sequel storyline.

In terms of my next milestone as a book seller, I'd like to get into the 1K/month club.
 

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Ha. This reminds me of when I meet someone cute and we kinda maybe flirt, and then I immediately imagine an entire future with them complete with, like, first I love yous, near-break up (for realism, obvs), commitment, and kids. That's entirely normal, right? Just say yes.

I have done exactly the same with writing.

Reach for the stars, right?

Zelah Meyer said:
Lots!

- Get e-book(s) published
- Publish book POD
- Get a 5* review from someone I don't know
- Sell 1,000 e-books
- Sell book related merchandising to people who aren't friends or family
- Break even (editing costs will be very significant since I want to produce good quality books, this is a career not a hobby for me.)
- Sell 10,000 e-books
- Sell hard-back edition
- Produce foreign translations
- See my book in a library
- See my book in a bookshop
- Sell 100,000 e-books
- Have TV/movie rights optioned
- Have people write fan-fiction involving my characters
- Have national TV/Radio station approach me for an interview
- Sell 500,000 e-books
- Have TV/movie production actually made
- Sell 1,000,000 e-books
- Sell 1,000,000 print books
- Be made Poet Laureate ;)

So yes, I have modest ambitions... ;D
 

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genevieveaclark said:
...Reach for the stars, right?
Exactly, the higher you aim, the better second-best is if you have to settle for it!
 

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I would say my biggest milestone came from a book I didn't write. I did the edits, cover and promotion plan for the book. I invested a lot of time and effort. It is about my friend that did eight tour in Iraq and is an amazing true story with gun battles, car chases, IED'S, but also shows a positive side of Iraq you don't see in the news. Anyway, I worked very hard to help Simon with his book, Keepers of the Gateway to Hell. It became a U.S best seller in a single day. It has sold so many copies, outselling all my books in 2 days!, and he has been on the best sellers list all week. I also have a new found respect for publishers, lol.
 

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My first milestone was writing a novella (about 20K words). I needed to know if I could write something with multiple characters interacting with a plot and character development. I'd written short stories before, but 5-digit word counts was something I'd never even done for college papers. It was a sci-fi story for younger audiences, Skyhook, I think they call it a Middle Grade book (above picture books, below YA).

My second milestone was the first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I wanted to see if I could write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I did 95,000+ in 28 days. That was a massive confidence booster. I was even told the story was good. It was a superhero novel set in the near future I called The neXt Generation. Looking back, of course, I can see it needs work. It's on my to do list.

I'd hoped for a repeat performance in 2008 and was well on my way with 22K words in 11 days. Then, my wife died and I have yet to finish that story, though it is one of which I'm very fond (Clockwork Cowboy a steampunk/horror/western featuring a British Agent and his succubus companion tracking Jack the Ripper across the old west). I tried again in 2009 and struggled to get to 50K in 30 days. I liked the world, the story was OK, but I hit a brick wall.

I knew I had some more novels in me. I just had to figure out how to get them out. I did it again in 2010 with 80K words in 30 days. That novel became Wings of Twilight which is now with a professional editor and on track to be released electronically (and probably print through CreateSpace) this fall. Getting it released is my next milestone.

Once Wings of Twilight comes out, I'll consider myself a working author. I'll have a book out there making money for me (even if I never earn back the investment in editing and art). In the meantime, I'll continue my day job and work on the sequel, Iron Fist of the Oroqs. I'm currently almost 19K words into it. There's probably a third novel in the series, and certainly more stories in the world I've created. After I get the story down for Iron Fist of the Oroqs, I plan to set several goals for 2012: revise, edit, & release The neXt Generation (probably under a different title), revise, edit & release Skyhook (as a 0.99 cent novella), then finish and at least get Clockwork Cowboy into editing.

Hopefully, by 2013, I can be working on at least 2 novels a year, with at least one of them each year set in my fantasy world, called Calliome.
 
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