Return to site

Defining Success: A Study of Three Authors

An interview in Indie Author Magazine

· QandA,author interview

This month, I was interviewed for and featured in Indie Author Magazine! You can read the article, Defining Success by Jacqueline Harmon, with a 7-day free trial. Jac  interviewed me, Irish author Caimh (pronounced “Cweeve”) McDonnell, and 2019's Kindle Storyteller of the Year Ian W. Sainsbury about what it means to be truly successful. We've had wildly different journeys, and a variety of goals to consider ourselves "successful," but we do all have one thing in common: it's not what we expected. And that's ok.

For me, I graduated with my degree in English literature and envisioned being a celebrated, award-winning literary author. Ian wanted to have the financial flexibility to indulge his imagination. Caimh wrote for TV, but hoped to get a publishing contract with a major publishing house.

So how has it changed?

[Caimh's] current fiscal goal is to buy a house with a long garden, so long that a ball he throws for his dogs won’t reach the end. 

Paul wishes he’d known what he knows now—that success doesn’t come from writing what your university lecturers advise you to write. It comes from writing what you love. In his case, that’s not literary fiction; it’s crime and murder mysteries. Success was and is about choosing his own path.

Ian says that, while he remains wary of the concept, success is always about finishing the book he’s currently working on and reading more.


Success doesn’t have to be fame or wealth; it’s fine to have smaller goals that can be met over a shorter space of time. Set yourself a goal and allocate a reward for achieving that goal. It’s clear that success comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. What does yours look like?