Defining Success

My peaceful spot. Everything I know about life, I learned from Winnie the Pooh

Trying to find a bit of peace for myself.

I sent book 2 to my beta readers a few weeks back. I heard quickly from one, who loved the book, and nothing from the others. I’ve decided to move ahead, on faith. Want to get this one out, and move to Hard as Roxx.

Getting people’s attention has been a challenge. I’m not referring to my beta readers; just having people take the time has been great. But as an Indie publisher, what I see is that most of the people I interact with on social media are sellers, not buyers.

The buyers are still safely tucked away in book clubs.

So I’ve given myself permission to no longer need attention. Truthfully, I don’t need feedback. I tend to be painfully honest with myself when it comes to work. Books 1 and 2 are good. They are not great, but good. The half-dozen reviews I’ve gotten have averaged around 4.2 out of 5 for Discovery. I’d give it 3.5 – 4.0 stars. I’m okay with that. I’ve never read a great 1st book. So, I’m not getting lots of raves, nor tons of attention.

My goal is not to sell a million books, or retire from Lockheed Martin as a novelist. I have simpler writing goals. Friends have questioned me, and most think I can’t articulate my goals. In truth, I can, I just chose not to. Dreams, I believe, should remain secret, until realized. However, I’ve decided to walk on faith, and declare mine realized … later.

Besides, I now have others who read my blogs, and some are looking for a bit of hope to take for themselves. So, with them in mind, here are my writing goals.

Goal 1. Create memorable characters – people you have never met, but feel you know. I want to be able to develop three-dimensional main characters that will stay with you once the book has ended. That requires more depth that modern writing’s frenetic pacing allows.

Implication: I need to write in-depth books, with robust pacing. Stieg Larsson has shown readers will deal with in-depth. So there is hope.

Goal 2. Be unique. I daresay none of my books will remind you of another book you read. I am a heterosexual male who writes stories that appeal to women more than men. I write emotional scenes with detachment, so that you can own your reactions and not be burdened with my mine. I write logical sequences with enthusiasm in hopes that you feel the characters’ thoughts, hear their voices, taste the world as they do. I am tired of reading fiction from men who seem to think feeling is solely a woman’s right.

Goal 3. One day write 3 brilliant books. Just 3. Emprise is the 1st book that comes close to where I want to be.

Implication: My writing must be art. It should, in places, steal your breath. You should want to weep and cry, and rage. It should be unfair, and too mean, and perfect. Three o’clock should pass you by, lights on, book in hand, engrossed. And, when the book has ended, you should mourn having lost the experience of reading it.

It is nigh unto impossible to write such a work. And so, it must be done. Because if I cannot, if I never plumb those depths, or pull out the deep joys and tender agonies life has left me, what will have been their meaning? Surely life’s sole purpose is to leave footprints.

What you don’t see in the list above are monetary goals. I don’t have any. Frankly, I don’t need any money from writing. I want to connect to readers so that I learn to write what they wish to read. Money follows customer satisfaction. It neither precedes nor runs concurrent with it.

Life is a love story, if you pay attention.

So I will publish Awakening, though imperfect it may be. I know it is fun, and silly, and enough of an escape that it will find its audience. It is, after all, a love story. Who doesn’t like love stories?

In the meantime, I will continue to work. Brilliant is a steep slope to climb. But lord, is the view glorious.

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12 Replies to “Defining Success”

  1. I’m an avid bowler who also works in a bowling alley and I just read an article in a bowling magazine that is perfectly in line with what you said. In the article, the person who wrote it said that you should specifically set performance goals rather than outcome goals. For example, “I want to hit my mark every frame this game” is a performance goal, whereas “I want to shoot a 250” is an outcome goal.

    The fact that you have outlined specific performance goals rather than outcome goals leads me to believe that you’ll hit all of them in the future (and you’ll probably be able to hit a few outcome goals as a result of that as well).

    Best of luck with your writing in the future.

    1. Adam, thanks for the comment. I don’t honestly think I even thought of them as performance goals, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense.

      I really appreciate the encouragement, and the well-wishes.

  2. What a great attitude – especially regarding monetary rewards and it not being a requirement. I think having your audience in the forefront breaks the process.

    I am also curious about the term Beta-Reader. I was an editor for 9 years and have never heard this – sounds like a job I would love 🙂

    When I was an editorial assistant for a literary journal I used to read about 50 short stories a week, grade them, and then pass them onto the editor. Brutal job – but was exposed to some amazing writers.

    I went to your web site, but still can’t find where to buy some of your stuff – do you have any finished products?

    1. I use the term beta reader as borrowed from software development (the industry I worked in for years). The beta is the person who reviews the (supposedly) final product prior to release. The idea is that after editing, you have a group of actual customers review the work to see how it works for them. You often get a very different set of assumptions.

      My 1st book is available in ebook and paperback form.

      Ebook – http://www.amazon.com/The-Stream-Discovery-ebook/dp/B005NL83I2

      Paperback – Lulu – http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-stream-discovery/18886133?productTrackingContext=author_spotlight_188620508_

      Paperback – Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Stream-Mr-Bill-Jones-Jr/dp/0615594883/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

  3. Hi Bill, found you on my dear readytochange’s blog. Between her and Beverly, and Littlebangtheory, I have mustered the courage to begin my personal blog. My hope it to get comfy in the personal and launch the business in a different arena. I enjoyed your writing… I also appreciate your spirit! Blessings!

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