How Does A Writer Know They're Successful?

This post, by Tiffany Cole, originally appeared as a guest post on The Innocent Flower.

I’m excited to have Tiffany Cole here on my blog today! I’ve known Tiffany for a few years now. She has constantly impressed me with her passion for learning and improving, which shows in the post she is sharing here today. 

Thank you, Tiffany, for coming here today! The message you’re sharing is truly important and well-said.

How Does a Writer Know They’re Successful?

I admire many things about Michelle Davidson Argyle, but what I admire most is her honesty. Her blog posts, especially the ones where she talks about her struggle with success, really helped me out. You see, I spent many years of my life so obsessed with seeking success that it blinded me. When I looked at myself, I only saw my failures. When I looked at others, I only saw their achievements. I associated success with happiness. It didn’t matter how much I did or what I did. Nothing was ever enough; I felt like I could never reach all the ‘indicators’ of writerly success. 

I first became a fan of Michelle when I discovered/assumed she had all the general indicators of success – publication, popularity, and money – I wanted with all my heart. I stuck around because, in spite of her reaching those indicators, she made her struggle with feeling successful clear. 

Through Michelle and other life events, I finally learned how a writer knows they’re successful, but first I want to discuss why general answers should not be the answer to that question.


For a long time, I saw getting published, preferably by a traditional publisher, as the solution to all my problems, as the be-all end-all of my journey as a writer. I know for certain that there are many other aspiring authors who see traditional publishing as the diamond-encrusted gates. 

Then there are authors who have pretty much decided that all publishers are big company conspirators and self-publishing is the only intelligent way to go.

First, being at the extremes like that isn’t necessarily good. It’s perfectly fine to prefer one method of publication over the other, but many authors I admire – Michelle Davidson Argyle included – have dabbled in and found both self-publishing and traditional publishing beneficial. You can find more info about both options of publishing at Michelle Argyle’s ‘Writer Love’ page.

Regardless of whether you’re a big supporter of traditional publishing or self-publishing, I’m here to tell you now that neither methods of publication are the end of your journey, nor will they define your success as a writer. They can’t be end of your journey. 

Traditional publishing today is not what it once was. Even if you get published by a bigger house, you’re not likely to receive a very big royalty check, meaning you’ll most likely have to publish many other books or do other work on the side. Even more, promotion will mostly be in your hands. It’s up to you to keep your audience/fans engaged before, during, and after the publication process. 


Read the rest of the post on The Innocent Flower.