I measure success in two equally important ways: the faith a publisher has in me, and the readers’ response.
Before you can have the second you need to have the first. If a publisher believes that the stories I tell deserve to be known, that is what makes it possible for me to bring my books to the attention of readers. To put it facetiously, my first measure of success is the fact that my books didn’t go into the slush pile.
Without a good publisher who understands your needs and desires as a writer, all you have is manuscripts that may never see the light of day, worthy as they may be. It’s a wonderful thing to know that a publisher has enough faith in you to devote time, care and money to the stories you tell, and few things feel better than a beautifully produced book you can hold in your hands, keep on a shelf and show off with pride.
The other measure of success are the readers’ reviews. I have garnered a respectable constellation of little gold stars, and I won’t deny that counting them is very rewarding.