You know you’ve made it when …

This follows on from my ‘you know you’ve made it when …’ post on my blog yesterday. First I’ll explain why I wrote it.

My publishers sent me an email with this wonderful graphic.

And I thought  Cool!, they’re going to release my trilogy in a boxed set. I’ve made the big time!

LOL, it was an E-Book Bundle. Available here. Which is not to be sneezed at but it is not a boxed set.

Then I got to wondering what constitutes making the big time? When do you know you’ve made it?

For me it used to be getting published. Just having a major publisher say yes, you can write a book that we think is good enough to publish. Then my first trilogy won a national award (in Australia) and came third in a national US award and the third book sold out.

Then my publishers closed down the line and sent the editor off somewhere else and nothing much happened in my writing career for quite a while.

I belong to a writing group called ROR and my friends have won numerous Aurealis Awards. They’ve been published across different genres. Margo has won four world fantasy awards.

But every year when we get together and do our realistic goals and our dream goals, our realistic goals are to finish our latest books and sell them, while our dream goals are always the same – to be able to quit our day jobs and live off our writing.

I don’t want or need success on the scale of George RR Martin or JK Rowling. But I would love to know that I could just concentrate on my writing, without juggling teaching and that there were readers looking forward to reading the books.

What would you have to achieve to consider you’d ‘made it’?

28 comments

  1. When I could write what I chose?
    I think it was Poul Anderson who said (and i paraphrase) that a writer’s career goes in three phases. The first is when has lots of story ideas on proposal and not enough buyers so he must write what they’ll take. The second is when he enough proposals and enough buyers. So he can write what he wants and has time to write it. And final is when he has more buyers than proposals, So he can write what he wants but he doesn’t have the time to write all the books.

    My daydream is to be able to write the books I long to write when I want to write them, and to earn enough money from them to kiss proposal and deadline chasing goodbye. I think, actually, it would make me faster and let me achieve more and a better quality. And I’d enjoy that too.

  2. Conga-rats!
    “Made it big time”, for me, would be making enough that I’d dare considering going full-time. Not that I expect that to ever happen. I’m just having fun.

    I saw a full set ofthe trilogy on the shelves at the B&N here last weekend. I must admit I misbehaved a bit — I rearranged other things on the self to turn Rolen face-out … then went and turned DST face out, too. Sadly, there was a gap ‘twixt the names “Freely” and “Friedman”, so I was unable to do the same for Dragon’s Ring. (Actually, that’s not *all* sad … since it implies they had sold some …)

  3. Each time I get close to a “made it” marker, I jump to the next one. Once it was “published”. Then it was “novel published.” And now that Impaler is eeeenching closer to dead tree as we speak, the goalposts have moved again, this time to somewhere in the region of “earning enough to drop to part-time at work” – at which point I will no doubt shift the goalposts AGAIN, to “earning enough to write full-time”…

    It probably won’t ever end. There’s always another hill to climb and another horizon to explore.

    1. This is so true, Kate. I love this description that Dave shared with us.

      ‘I think it was Poul Anderson who said (and i paraphrase) that a writer’s career goes in three phases. The first is when has lots of story ideas on proposal and not enough buyers so he must write what they’ll take. The second is when he enough proposals and enough buyers. So he can write what he wants and has time to write it. And final is when he has more buyers than proposals, So he can write what he wants but he doesn’t have the time to write all the books. ‘

      I want to be in the place where I know what I write will sell and I have the time to write the books.

  4. As a free lance journalist my criteria would seem to be a bit different, but in retrospect are the same: I want to be able to quit my day job and concentrate on the investigations _I_ want to work on, and not spend endless hours covering county commission meetings and school boards and county fairs…

    1. Thanks for commenting Patrick.
      We writers of fiction tend to forget that there are writers in other areas. I can relate to not having to cover meetings and fairs. (Although I do love fairy floss and home made jam).
      If you could follow your heart and do investigative journalism where would it take you?
      Or is this Hush Hush?

    2. And Patrick, as a freelance writer who spends most of her day churning out articles for Content Brokers… I’d love to get to the point where I was covering County Commission Meetings and school boards and county fairs!

  5. Hi Rowena,

    I’ll know I’ve made it when I can sit down to write without feeling guilty.

    1. Chris you must not feel guilty. As a parent you need to take the time to do things that are important to you. You’ll be a more complete person and a better parent for taking that time out. You will come back to your family feeling renewed.

      I feel strongly about this because as a parent of 6 children, I felt I could not take time out from my children when they were small because people would judge me. ‘Why did she have all those children if she wants to make stain glass windows?’

    2. I might have sounded like I was on a soap box just then, Sorry if I lectured you, Chris.

      It is good for a parent, who spends every moment of their day, doing the best they can for their family, to take a little time out now and then for themselves. This also ties in with – it is good for children to be bored sometimes. It drives them to find something to do and be creative.

      1. Thanks Rowena,

        I feel guilty for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s friends. But just looking at the financials it’s difficult to justify spending time writing when I can clock in hours earning REAL MONEY.

        I’ve come to head office this week in Melbourne to catch up on all the things I should’ve been doing back in Hobart over the last few months, and to – ever so gently – get my butt kicked for being a spanner in the works.

        It’s a massive juggling act. And to think that only last week I was contemplating taking on another job!

        Sheesh.

    3. Sending cyber sympathies, Chris. It is a really hard juggling act. At least with writing it isn’t like being an elite sportsman. You can keep growing and honing your skills for as long as you live.

  6. Rowena? Not too long ago, a friend who admires Tiger Woods spent some time telling me that Tiger had decided that he had hit a “plateau” in his skills — and went all the way back to basics to break out of it. This was when Tiger was “the top guy” apparently, but instead of simply settling for beating everyone else, he redid everything to get better. So at least some elite sportsmen don’t settle for simply being the best.

    1. That’s so interesting, Mike.

      As a writer I don’t think I’ll ever be ‘satisfied’ with what I write. Maybe one day, we’ll be able to download directly from our brains. Who knows …

  7. Ha! Just think about how much revision it would take — “I wish that coffee… oh, right, story. He was… who was he, again? Wait a minute, where’s the outline? Oh, that guy, the stupid on… is this thing going to download everything? Oh, drat…” which after revision becomes “He was”. If that much is left.

      1. I don’t know, Sarah. There’s this state between dreams and waking where I drive my dream-imaginings and it is as intense as a dream, but I can give it direction. That’s what I’d like to achieve.

  8. part of this is my own experience with the Dick Tatian software that I use. If I’m not careful about what I’m thinking about, or who I’m talking to, you’re likely to get bits and pieces of telephone conversations, etc. just kind of jammed in. And I’m not going to think about why dictation came out like that — I spend an inordinate amount of time editing even these little blog postings. I wish I could type. Direct downloading? I think we need the filtering. I’d be willing to give it a try, but… I’m just very suspicious. I know how much time I’ve spent learning to do dictation as opposed to typing. It’s a nice dream, though, to have a simpler way of getting words on paper.

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