Let’s call him ‘Artist One.’
We were chatting a while back about what I considered the success of someone we’ll call ‘Artist Two.’
“Artist Two’s work is amazing,” I said. “Artist Two is winning loads of awards,” I said. “Artist Two has tens of thousands of followers on social media,” I said.
Artist One narrowed his eyes. “Yes, but Artist Two drives a beaten up Holden.”
Artist One was driven by money and flashy status symbols.
Artist Two was content following his heart with a splash of praise from his peers.
I was with Artist Two.
As my books continue to sell and the next one hits the printers, I find it difficult to answer the inevitable question: “So, how’s it all going?”
Numbers-wise I guess I’d be considered a reasonable commercial success by Australian standards, but that definitely doesn’t translate to truckloads of cash for me. (I’ve heard $10K is the average annual wage of an Aussie author – pretty grim).
I could tell you the books had gone into their third reprint within weeks of hitting the shelves, but what does that actually mean? What if a print-run only consisted of 100 books? (It’s more than that, but you catch my drift).
I might also point you towards some of the awesome reviews my books have been getting far and wide – although, of course, the review that stands out in my mind is the negative one from another children’s author (who just so happened to get most of the plot detail in her summary completely wrong).
Or I could just feed you the line I’ve been giving everyone: “The books are going well… just not well enough to quit my day job.”
And that’s the truth.
But so is this: The feeling I get from seeing a queue of kids waiting for my book at a festival, the feeling I get from reading letters that say my books are the senders’ favourite of all time, the feeling I get when I see a photo of a child dressed up as one of my characters, the feeling I get when a parent says ‘thank you, so much’…
That stuff is immeasurable, but in my books, it’s success.
PS – I drive a beaten up Subaru.