Browsing through the internet, I came across a list of authors’ blogs and I decided to pause in my scrolling and see what other authors were writing about. You guessed it, I was looking for ideas. I found an author who wrote on a subject I heard other authors talk about and even participated in. The subject was what makes an author successful. Now, if you are a reader, you know who the successful authors are, and if you are a writer you know that too.

But how do you define success as far as your writing goes? Is it when you sell your first million copies or when you sell your first thousand? Or is it when you get on the New York Times Bestseller list? The author of the blog said another author complimented her on helping her with another business, then asked how come she was not a megastar in the writing world.

Naturally, the author was taken aback. Which brings me to the title of this post A Book Goes Home. A few weeks ago I visited Trinidad and Tobago, my homeland and I took a few copies of my debut book Coming Out of Egypt. I wanted to do something I should have done years ago when the book was first published — donate them to the San Fernando Carnegie Library which is featured in the book.

I was surprised to see all the changes that had taken place over the years. The building I visited used to be the only lending library in San Fernando and it was stocked wall to wall with books. It has now been transformed into a reference library and the lending library has been moved to another location.

But what shocked me was the response I received from the assistant librarian when I introduced myself. He said, “Oh, we know you, and we know your book.”

I said, “You do?”

He said, “Yes, we know this book.”

I didn’t press him, but his reception — feigned or not — made me smile. He invited me to wait so I could meet the head librarian who was out on lunch. When I told him I was in a bit of a hurry, he wrote her name and number on a paper and gave it to me so I could call her. Later, when I spoke to her on the phone, she sounded just as happy to meet me as her coworker had.

So, is that success? I would say, yes. Are the 5-star reviews on my sales page a measure of success? Yes. When someone meets me and says how much she enjoyed my book, that to my mind is success. I know that many writers, yours truly included, struggle to sell books. On any given day, someone is giving a course or a webinar on how to sell more books so we could one day qualify for the world’s definition of success. But for many that definition remains an elusive dream.

Someone said, “Sir, there will always be a man more handsome than you; lady, there will always be a woman more beautiful than you. Stop comparing yourself to others.”

I leave you with this quote borrowed from the writer’s blog: The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry soufflé. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it. — Julia Child

What is your idea of success? Leave a comment in the box below

Angela writes contemporary Christian women’s fiction. She is the author of four novels and one Christian non-fiction book and has written for devotionals and anthologies such as Chicken Soup For the Soul and Guidepost.

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