02 November 2014

How author Kristen Strassel defines success as a writer

Over the last few years, I've self-published three books under pseudonym and have had some of my short stories, a poem and a creative nonfiction piece published under my own name. Not bad. But I don't feel successful as a writer. Which has led me to ask: How does one define success as a writer?

Obviously there's no one right answer to this question; it depends on the writer, why they write and what their goals are. For today's guest, Kristen Strassel, "[s]uccess is a moving target." By the end of the year, Kristen will have published seven books, with more on the way next year. This on top of a demanding day job. What drives her and when will it be enough? Read on to find out.

How do you define success as a writer?
This is a great question, and it’s not easy to answer. Every writer is going to have a different answer. For me, right now, it’s to have people reading and enjoying my books.

But that wasn’t always the answer. As I worked on the first book, it was to just get it done. I’d tried so many times to write a complete book and failed about a quarter of the way through. After that, it was to get it out in the world. Writing the book the fun part. It’s after you finish the first draft that the rules kick in. Revisions and editing. Traditional or Indie? I’ve become a very strong advocate of independent publishing. It was the right path for me.

Writing and publishing are harder yet more rewarding than I ever imagined. It’s important to celebrate the little victories.

How do you know when you're successful? It is something achieved and done with, or does it have to be maintained?
Success is a moving target. You can’t climb a mountain and just sit there. First, you’ll starve to death, and second, you’ll get really bored.

The path to publication was a series of goals. I have seven books available now. Holy crap. They all mean something different to me. My journey took twists and turns I never expected. I also never want to get bored, and I want to tell a lot of different stories. In addition to my vampire series, I’ve introduced a new adult contemporary series, and I am rolling out a series of shifter novellas. It’s fun, and it’s always something new. If I’m bored, readers will be, too.

And how do your newest books fit into your vision for your career path as a writer?
I’ve had a busy fall. One book from each series has released or will release in the next couple weeks. Secondhand Heart, my NA contemporary romance, released October 7. Lion and the Doe, my first shifter novella, released October 26. And a new vampire book, Silent Night, is coming November 18. That’s something for almost everyone. But yet, they’re very much all my books. I think that’s a mark of success too, that you can start reading on any page and know who wrote that book. I want to continue all of these series, and maybe something new. I got an idea today while I was driving. I need to figure out how to type faster.

Kristen would love to connect with you via her website, Facebook, Twitter, or her blog. Her books are available on Amazon, and the first three books in The Night Songs Collection are available on Audible. All her books are available for Kindle Unlimited.

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