Sometimes I think it’s useful for early career writers to see the things that might happen to your brain later. I just got an email from my editor that Shades of Milk and Honey is going into its 7th printing.
Between all the US editions so far, we’ve netted 23,793 copies. That’s not counting the UK or foreign language editions.
Now… to me, that seems like a staggering amount of people to have read my book. But, to put that in perspective: Wise Man’s Fear sold more in the first week. At the same time, other writers will look at my 23k and be jealous because they haven’t sold as many copies. This is the tricky thing about being an author. You are constantly measuring yourself against other writers, which isn’t useful. Books are very, very different beasts and you can rarely do direct comparisons.
So on the one hand, I’m looking at seventh edition and feeling like OMG! I’m a real writer now, and also knowing exactly how that stacks up compared to a NY Times best seller.
The point of all of this is that, as you go forward you have to define your own sense of success.
For me? Seven printings is a very nice place to be.
But so was selling a single book.
And so was selling a single story.
And so was just finishing a story.
Those success points are going to change over time, and they should. That’s how you level up as a writer. It’s why imposter syndrome happens, because you attain success and immediately set another goal. When you stop having imposter syndrome. When you stop thinking of ways in which you can improve, that’s when you need to worry.
Meanwhile, enjoy the highs of attaining a goal and then set the next one.