Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday Talk Time: (Re)Defining Succes

Pink Heart Society contributor Barbara Wallace reminds herself what success really means for her.

A year or so before I sold to Harlequin, I had an epiphany.  I realized that being a published author wasn’t the be-all end-all of my existence.  In fact, I told myself, even if I never sold a book, my life would still be a success.  After all, I had a wonderful husband, raised a terrific kid, and, I hope, left this world a slightly better place.  What’s more, I would know that I tried.  My dream my might not have come true, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Then I sold a novel  One novel became two which became sixteen, and I found myself trapped on the marketing merry go round.  Suddenly success became about the size of my royalty check and where I sat on the Amazon rankings (a position, by the way, that never seemed high enough.) 

Somewhere along the line, I lost sight of why I started writing in the first place.  I became a writer because I wanted to tell stories.  My head was full of characters and ideas I wanted to share with the world. 

I’m not going to lie to you and say I don’t want to make money with my books.  Of course I want to be a bestseller.  But, in this saturated marketing, focusing solely on sales and marketing is a sure path to Sad Panda town.  There’s no way we can all be bestsellers; it’s simply not economically possible.  However, we can all be successful writers?  How?  By writing stories we love.  

Being a storyteller is our number one priority in this business.  If we don’t tell stories – good stories – we can’t make money, and let’s face it, for stories to be truly good, they need to be told with joy.  Call me na├»ve, but I staunchly believe that cream rises to the top.  Tell a good story, and readers will find you.

What if readers don't come?  What if you write the best story in the world and no one buys a copy?  Well, at least we can be proud of the words we put on the page.   

I feel like I’ve written this column a half dozen times.  I’ll probably write it a half dozen more.  I have to, If only to remind myself not to spazz out when I see my Amazon rank trending downward.  Career goals are great.  We need them to push ourselves to the next level.  However, the truth of the matter is that if I were to pass away tomorrow (God forbid), I will have lived a successful life whether I made the USA Today list or not.  I will have that wonderful husband and great kid, I’ll still have hopefully left the world the better place, and I’ll have achieved my dream.    

When you think out it, that is a pretty good eulogy.

So write for joy.  Write with joy.  You will find success.

How do you define success?  Join the conversation in the comments below.

Barbara Wallace writes for Harlequin Romance.  You can follow her ramblings on Twitter @BarbaraTWallace.  Her latest release, Beauty and Her Billionaire Boss has received 4 star reviews from Harlequin Junkie and Romantic Times:

 In Love with the Boss

From pennies to pearls, the Rush sisters are swept off their feet by their handsome bosses!

Sisters Patience and Piper Rush might not have had much growing up but they always had each other, through good times and bad. Now, oceans apart, can they find comfort, safety and acceptance in the arms of their drop-dead-gorgeous bosses!

Available for Kindle, Nook and iReaders.  

Visit to order your copy.


  1. I needed this today. Especially this part..."Write for joy." Thanks, Barb!

  2. I swear Penny, I need this pep talk at least once a week. This industry can kill you