What is Success?

This is not the answer to a JEOPARDY question. Well, wait, maybe it is.

Just before the Holidays 2014, I found out I’d made my fifth short story sale of the year. “GRET” a short story that takes place in the fantasy world of my work in progress “TRUTH SEER” sold to Ragnarok Publications BLACKLIST ANTHOLOGY, which is the companion anthology to the greatly-anticipated BLACKGUARDS.  BLACKGUARDS’ table of contents reads like a who’s who of many of the best writers in the fantasy field. Because the BLACKGUARDS Kickstarter campaign surpassed every stretch goal set for it and became a Kickstarter staff pick, Ragnarok editors Joe Martin and Tim Marquitz rewarded their backers with an additional anthology. Thus the BLACKLIST ANTHOLOGY was born.  260 hopeful authors and writers submitted to Ragnarok’s open call. Thirteen stories were selected. Two for BLACKGUARDS and eleven for THE BLACKLIST.

Here’s where the JEOPARDY part comes in.

My short story GRET was written because I really wanted to get into BLACKGUARDS. I admire Ragnarok, an amazing up-and-coming publisher, I like writing fantasy fiction and more specifically Grimdark Fantasy. Mostly I wanted to be a part of what looks to be a stunning line-up of authors. But, as in all open submission, I was taking a risk (thank goodness not in front of a huge TV audience). That risk was I might not make the cut. I could have been one of those other 247 open subs.

Would I still have been successful even so? Of course! Are those who get invited to appear on JEOPARDY a success even if they don’t win? Of course! Competition or no, it takes brains to be on JEOPARDY. Nobody gets on there without a ton of smarts. If you are making sales as a writer at all, it means you’ve been invited to the show.

Success is writing a story in a limited time and finishing it and then going on to write the next and the next. Success is sending out those stories. Success is accepting passes as well as sales because both these things are about progress, about learning the market and learning the writer’s craft.

I have sold stories this year. I have also had passes, some decent ones and others crusty and one non-response. I’ve continued to put down words. I’ve forced my butt into my chair, through death, through anguish, through fear and through just plain deadlines. This was my success in 2014: that I kept going, that I took responsibility for my own career and that I re-submitted stories others had passed on.

I would love to hear about your successes last year. What were they and what kept you going?

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