How do I measure success as a writer?


This is something which has been on my mind lately, probably as a sort of hangover from all those goal-setting New Year posts.

What’s the best way to measure success as a writer?

Or do I mean as a publisher? Ooh, now that’s a different question entirely.

There are so many things you could focus on. There’s output: the number of words written in a month or year; the number of book drafts produced. But the first draft of a book is only the first step; a lot more needs to happen before it becomes a book. So you could look at how many first drafts become published books (I’m talking self-publishing here because that’s what I do; other people’s mileage may vary).

Once the book is out in the world, what do people think of it? Another metric, then, could be review ratings.

And of course, there’s money, and sales. But then, is selling 100 books for 99p each better or worse than selling 20 books for £4.99 each? It depends what your ultimate goal is.

This year, prompted by a post in an online writing group, I decided to make myself a little chart of writing and publishing goals for 2019. I won’t share the whole thing, as a) it’s personal to me, and b) I suspect if I do I’ll get lots of questions about why I chose that particular thing, and should I give away books, and hadn’t I thought of this, etc. But here is the bit which I managed to reach a couple of days ago:


550 Goodreads ratings.

This year one of my goals is to improve the visibility of my books, and I suppose of me as an author. After all, people won’t buy books they can’t find. So my Goodreads stats – number of ratings, number of books shelved, and hopefully a decent rating score – are part of that. If you want to see mine, follow the link below.

Goodreads author profile (opens in a new tab)

I’ll probably share any other goals as I achieve them. Some may be well beyond my reach – perhaps I’ll surprise myself with some of the others. We’ll see. But I figure that what gets measured gets done, and hopefully my little chart will encourage me to focus not just on making more books, but on ensuring that people can find them, and me.

How are you measuring your goals for this year?

The featured image is a picture I took at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. If you haven’t been, do go – it’s great.



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