1. I signed with an agent in 2009, and my debut YA novel sold pretty quickly. Possession came out in June, 2011. I only sold one book. My agent sold the sequel in early 2011 and Surrender came out in June 2012.
2. My publisher wouldn't buy the third book in an obvious trilogy until Surrender came out and they could see how it was doing. I think this is an extremely common practice in the industry, as I've heard of it happening to other authors. But it terrified me. What if they didn't buy the third book? What would I do then? Surrender was open-ended, as most middle books in a trilogy are.
3. They ended up buying the third book in July 2012, and Abandon came out in June 2013.
4. My agent and I submitted two more books to my publisher, and they passed on both. We went wide with Elevated, and while it came close at several publishers, ultimately it did not sell.
5. I parted ways with my agent in September 2013. She's lovely, and I still recommend her to other authors. The partnership just wasn't working for me.
6. I self-published Elevated, my futuristic fantasy series, and another novel-in-verse, Something About Love in 2014.
6. I signed with a new agent in November 2013, with a time travel novel. We submitted it widely in the spring of 2014, came close, no sale.
7. This agent didn't like anything else I had in the pipeline, and we parted ways in December 2014. Since last year, I've been moving away from a YA-centric career, focusing on writing clean, contemporary romance.
8. I'm querying again, and while some authors have said it's easier the second or third time around, I'm not finding that to be the case. I still send dozens of queries. I still get lots of requests -- and many rejections.
It's hard for me to feel like a success. I have 10 titles out, and have years of experience in the social media realm. But I still feel like I'm failing.
These feelings make no sense. After all, I just received a large royalty check from the sales of Possession. So my books from 4 years ago are still selling, and I'm still earning money from them -- which means I've earned out my advance. All of that should point to "success."
Then why don't I feel successful?
I'm not sure, but I think it's because I don't have agents or editors snapping up the books I'm writing now. I don't have title after title coming out from the same publisher. There are a myriad of factors that have contributed to this, but this blog post would become a novella if I went into all of them.
Maybe I need to redefine what makes me as an author a success? Maybe I need to re-evaluate what makes a book successful? I don't know, because I don't know what those parameters are. What makes an author successful? A book, or a series?
Maybe you can help me with this.
How do you define success for yourself as an author? For your books?
No matter what, I've learned that even after you've been published, there's no yellow brick road that takes you directly to a land of wonder. I'm still wandering in unknown paths, writing books I love, and hoping there's someone out there who will love them too. I know this isn't the case for every author, but I think more of us are on this path than we know about. We feel alone, unsuccessful, but really, there's a lot of authors in the same situation.