Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Are You A Successful, Unpublished Author?

successful unpublished writer Does it seem like the title of this post has a mistake in it?

Do “Successful” and “Unpublished” go together??

What is “Success” for a writer???

From another perspective, is a writer successful if they are consistently writing—honing their craft—expressing their creativity—perfecting their art—but, not publishing?

Try this conversation on for size:


Jane:  “So, you’re a writer, are you, Sarah?  Where are you published?”

Sarah:  “Actually, I’m glad you asked.  You see, I’ve chosen not to publish my work as yet.”

Jane:  “Oh.  Okay.  Well, why is that?”

Sarah:  “I don’t want to just publish anything.  I want to really hone my craft.  I’m serious, you see, like Van Gogh.  Did you know that he only sold three paintings in his lifetime?  But think how he’s affected the world.”

Jane:  “Wow, I didn’t know that!  But I guess it makes good sense.  So, what are you working on at the moment?”


That chat between Jane and Sarah, from grub street daily, is just one example of how a successful writer who has yet to publish can reshape the conversation about what they’re up to :-)

The article over on grub street is Pep Talk: Ways to Announce That You’re a Successful, Unpublished Writer (And Have The World Agree).

I encourage you to go read the whole article, especially if you’re a hard-working writer who has not yet published.

Actually, even if you are published, you’ll benefit from reading it, if only to share it with fellow writers who haven’t yet published.

One more excerpt I’ll share from the article is a list of LIES:

1. You’re only a successful writer if you’re published by paying markets, such as the magazines that you can buy in Barnes & Noble.

2. You’re only a successful writer if you’ve published a book-length work with a big publishing house.

3. It is hard to write a book, but if it is good, you’ll easily get it published and earn money from the royalties.

4. If you don’t publish a book, you can’t write very well and you’re certainly not a professional.

5. If you’re not earning large amounts of money, you’re not successful in terms of your career.

6. If you self-publish, it means you aren’t talented and/or professional.

You might also want to check out their other site Grub :-)

[EDIT]Please read the first Comment on this post by “Once”………
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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4 responses to “Are You A Successful, Unpublished Author?

  1. Once June 17, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Frankly, having experienced writing now for years without publishing, the sheer joy it brings, and the utter lack of disappointment, loss of valuable writing and personal time, and of course, dealing with the governors and government of publishing in general, I can imagine no “published” writer with greater joy at what he does. I had the same joy in teaching once I attained a seniority and tenure great enough to secure both my job and my position within the school to which I could dedicate my life. Writing at present is as great an “up” in each day as teaching was. I have been fortunate to do both.


  2. Elizabeth N Thompson (@Mermaid_Tale) June 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    If Success is “achieving favorable or desired outcome”? Yes. :) Still pleased with myself as a writer even if only two people ever read my words, on account of I don’t want money or fame. haha
    Wonderful post!



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