I’m so thrilled to welcome Gregory Allen back to the blog today, as part of his tour with Orangeberry Book Tours. Gregory is on tour with his title Patchwork Of Me and is here to share a wonderful guest post about measuring success.
How do We Measure Success as An Author?
by Gregory Allen
We’ve all seen them. Those amazing success stories of indie authors who have garnered international attention, a major publisher picking them up, or Hollywood knocking on their door. There is no questioning those people are real success stories. But what about the vast majority of others? When do they get to say they have succeeded?
I was recently thinking about the different areas in which one can consider someone an ‘indie’. Obviously we have filmmakers, writers, musicians – but also any small mom & pop store that are self-made entrepreneurs. Those people running their own online business to get a piece of the ‘bigger pie’. All part of this world we call ‘indie’.
For me, indie was the way to go when it came to getting my books published and it made each victory all that sweeter. From the accolades I would get from reviews to the radio interviews discussing my books: it all felt amazing because much of it came from work I had done on my own. No agent sending me out to sit with (insert your favorite morning show personality here) and discuss the themes of my stories. It was grass root efforts and networking with other people. In my mind, that was a success.
I would research the numerous contests and awards in which Indies could participate. Making sure I was involved in those that didn’t simply say ‘everyone gets a prize’ and when I would be a finalist or (heart-pounding) named the winner: it was a success.
Many people feel an indie author will never see their book on the shelf of an actual bookstore. They will not be allowed to participate in a book signing. So when I saw my books on display in the window of my local indie store, it was a complete out of body experience. And when other bookstores would respond to my request to host a book signing: it was a success.
If you are a famous athlete or perhaps have an infamous parent who has been in the political ring, you may be swept away on a huge book tour across the country. If you are an indie, you must work all that must harder to get stores, civic centers, schools to allow you to come and speak on your work and perhaps even sell a book or two. When that has happened for me: it was a success.
When you send out numerous emails to bloggers telling them about your children’s book on autism and you receive an email back from one across the country saying they have already heard of your book: .it is a success.
Perhaps I am completely crazy that I measure success in ways other than book sales. I measure in the amount of lives I’m touching, the feedback I receive, and the amount of google alerts I get that my name or book is somewhere across the internet! (Okay: that last part is a joke, but come on: who doesn’t love getting those alerts?) I suppose if Indies only went by book sales, many would feel like a failure most of the time and as I look back on my first year as a published author – I can honestly say I don’t feel like a failure in the least. Count up all those small moments and learn to enjoy each!
About Gregory Allen
Gregory G. Allen is the award-winning author of Patchwork Of Me, Well With My Soul, Proud Pants: An Unconventional Memoir, and Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures Of A Super Hero With Autism. He has had short stories and poetry published in: New Town Writers’ anthology Off The Rocks 14, Loch Raven Review, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Oddville Press, Word Catalyst Magazine, Rancor’d Type, Home & Holidays and is a contributor of articles and blogs to several online sites. Allen has been in the entertainment business for over twenty years as an actor, director, writer, and producer and is an award-winning musical theater writer with over ten original musicals produced. Allen currently manages an arts center on the campus of a college in northern New Jersey.
About Patchwork of Me
A product of the foster care system, Sara Butler spends her early thirties hiding from her past while striving for a normal life with her small group of quirky friends in Arizona. Seeking treatment for an invisible rash and abnormal dreams, her therapist helps her unlock a heinous past that she is unsure she wants to open. To patch her life back together, she realizes she must travel across country to Maine to confront that past in order to plan for a future.
Hi Gregory, your blog sums up what being an indie author means so well. It's the sense of achievement in learning so much, doing something that is important to you, that makes a difference to your life and also it's wonderful meeting so many like-minded people along the same path. You've done brilliantly and I'm sure you'll continue to touch lives across the world. Kate
Thank you so much for your comment, Kate! I agree – Gregory's post is wonderful and shows that there is so much more to this than the numbers game. Yes, numbers are important, but it's more important to recognize the people behind the numbers. Thank you for visiting and commenting!
Thanks so much, Kate! I really appreciate the comment. It really is a different world for us Indies, right?
At this point, of not many sales, success for me is when a reader says, "It was so good I read it in two days," or when they get a theme or say something resonated with them. Those comments allow me to think when more people read it, they will (mostly) say the same kind of things and that my work has added enjoyment and maybe a little insight to their lives.
Thank you so much for your comment, Theresa! I never cease to be amazed by how much a reader can change my day by simply saying they enjoyed or connected with the book. I think you and Gregory are completely coming from the same path – and I'm right along there with you!
Theresa – I love that too! Those wonderful comments we get from readers really can't be measured…so awesome! Thanks for the comment.