By What Measure Success for Self-Publishers?
by Stella Atrium
first book of my fantasy series titled SUFFERSTONE received a couple
5-star reader reviews on GoodReads (reported on Amazon). Since I blog
about female characters in science fiction, I was gratified that one
reader (thanks, Frank Hicks) identified with the lead male character Brian Miller.
So, I had brief and troubling feelings of success. I immediately wondered what was next, so vain.
Heller said in an interview with Playboy (many years back) that he
delivered Catch-22 to the publishers in 1961 and received a $2,000
advance (today’s equivalent is $20,000), then went back to adjunct
teaching with few expectations.
Catch-22 went viral by
word-of-mouth and was made into a movie. Over the decades, Heller was
a cult personality and hippies wore khaki jackets with Yossarian
emblazoned on the breast pocket. The term catch-22 became a concept in
the American mythos for frustration with a system stacked against the
I would call that success.
So… there’s a
lag time for the creative stage, the publishing stage, the famous
stage, and the American classic stage. The writer must measure what
stage she’s currently experiencing and how long is the wait.
Andy Warhol once told Jean-Michel Basquiat that the audience for his street art wasn’t born yet.
famously said, “I don't listen to what art critics say. I don't know
anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” (Brainy Quotes) Of
course, once he received some money for his work, he killed himself
with drugs. The starving artist stance has some benefits.
back to the writer. The creative stage counts. Many writers once they
start with promotions have the urge to push aside today’s work and
return to the solitary gestures of creation. Delicious.
I suppose the best approach is to tolerate each spike within each stage with patience, and manage expectations.
critic for Time magazine Robert Hughes in 2002 wrote a classic review
titled "Goya’s Women" about an exhibition of paintings by Goya. As you
know, as a young man, Francisco Goya was a portrait painter for the
Spanish court in the 1780s. Later he was an impressionist who captured
the horrors of war in his country. Goya lived into his eighties and
continued to paint and draw until his death in1828.
Hughes pushes aside Goya’s long history with the leaders of Europe and
focuses on the many images of women that Goya painted over the decades,
and the artistic quality in those images. The ART remains after the
See Robert Hughes famous TIME article here.