If you’re an author in any capacity, you’ve undoubtedly dreamed about the Big Deal…it may even be what set you on your authorly path in the first place: the idea that your work could bring you a multi-book contract with a ginormous publisher who pays you umpteen bajillion dollars to do that one thing you love to do more than anything in the whole world: tell your stories! That’s what most of us would call an unmitigated success.
But the true story behind the Big Deal is that it happens far less often than people realize. In fact, Medium Deals happen far less often than people realize, too. And there are probably an even greater amount of Small Deals and Tiny Deals and Deals So Minute You Need an Instrument of Extreme Viewing In Order to Even See Them.
Don't get me wrong. They're all wonderful things.
But if you defined the Big Deal as the epitome of success, then what happens when the Big Deal becomes the One That Got Away…or the One That Didn’t Even Come Knocking In the First Place?
Fear not, dear authors! There's still success a-plenty to be had.
You’ll just need to redefine it.
Let’s say you’ve just begun this endeavor we call Writing a Novel, and that you’re end goal is to have the ever-elusive Big Deal when all is said and done. There are a lot of steps between here and there, if indeed there is even a there to be reached. How disappointing would it be for you to realize there are successes at every stop and around every corner, and if you only stop to recognize them, you’ll find out that you can be successful at authorhood at least once a week, if not every day?
Did imagine a new premise or invent a snappy character without really meaning to? Or did you finish your outline, or at least move it ahead a few paces?
BAM – SUCCESS! You’re now one outline closer to a finished novel!
Did you add word count to your work in progress, even if by only a sentence or two? Or did you rearrange a few paragraphs until they danced exactly as you wanted them to?
BOOM – SUCCESS! You now have less to do to get that wonder work into its finest form and out into the world!
Did you finish a first draft? Finish a FINAL draft?
FINISH A FULLY-EDITED MANUSCRIPT?
BIFF! BANG! KERPLOOIE!
And let’s not forget the authors who’ve chosen the self-publishing route, who believed whole-heartedly that the only thing keeping them from having the next blockbusting best-seller was the fact that it simply hadn’t been uploaded to Amazon yet…only to find that it's the beginning of the How to Be a Published Author! game board, rather than the end.
Did you sell even a single copy, be it paperback or electronic?
Did you see a new review pop up, even something less-than-five star?
Did you add to your Twitter following, connect with a reader on Facebook, or have a little stack of books at a signing in your local library or indie bookseller?
I don’t even have enough sound effects for all of that brilliant success right there!
Self-publishing may seem easy, but it’s a lot of hard work, daily dedication, and continuous uphill climbing. And to be quite realistic, neither the self-publishing nor the traditional path may never lead to the Big Deal we all would love to see shining over the next horizon, or over the horizon that lies beyond that. But you’ve either written a story that you love with all of your heart, or you’re hard at work on one, or you’ve published a book that the whole world has access to now. And the work of getting it shown and known may be just starting up, but as far as I’m concerned, coming to The End is a finish line worthy of festivity!
So why not redefine success from Obtaining the Big Deal Someday to something a little closer to Celebrating All the Little-Big Deals Everyday? Maybe you’ll find you’ve been succeeding all along and you just didn't realize it...but you will now.
And THAT will make every wonderful step on the path feel like a pretty darn Big Deal.