Monday, August 8, 2011

Defining Book Success

Quick Glittering Ashes update: It's now available for sale at (click location title for links)
Apple's iBooks (so you can get it on your iPad or iPod)

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post :)

Hey, everyone. Today, I want to write about success. On Friday, I wrote a review of Divergent (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth, which I consider to be a huge success in the YA world.
It has:

A huge readership (every YA book blog I've seen)

295 amount of reviews on Amazon (226 of which are 5 star)

Everyone says GREAT things about it (me included)

Movie rights have been sold--not a guaranteed marker of greatness, but darn close to it for me (because how awesome is that?).

I'd say there's a lot of reasons to think that the Divergent (Divergent Trilogy) is an extremely successful book.

To me, success is about people liking your book and being passionate about it once they read it and having a large readership because people want to pass that magic on. The movie rights being sold is amazing, but having tons of people read it and like it will always be the most important factor of success, in my book.

What about you? What do you think constitutes success in the reading world? Can you name a showstopper book of success? I'm thinking Twilight [Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)] (love it or hate it) and The Hunger Games (awesome). Let me know below.

Now, to leave you with a song to write by, "Imma Star" by Jeremih, where he explains success in a different arena :) 


  1. Success, hmm. Breaking at least even on production costs and/or getting that one email or review where the reader is digging the book so hard that they're seeing facets and shades that even you didn't see while writing. Push comes to shove, I'll even take the latter over the former.

    (None of means that I won't squeak and bounce over movie rights, of course!)

  2. Mari Stroud: I agree. The latter would be the bee's knees. (and ditto) lol

  3. Percy Jackson comes to mind, but that had amazing reasons for success. I can only hope to be half the writer someone like Rick Riordian is!

  4. Jen: you know, I haven't read that yet. I know it's crazily popular though

  5. Success to me comes in little spurts - it's not all or nothing. It's having the nerve to even attempt getting my writing there in the first place. It's getting a positive review from someone in the target audience. Making money, at some point, would be nice, but that's not my main objective. I really think "success" is subjective.

  6. I totally agree! Success is readership, a fan base, people who love your book. Let's be honest, a movie doesn't necessarily make a book successful. Case in point? Eragon. I hated that movie so much that I pretty much can't stomach the idea of suffering through the book. I hear it's really well written, enjoyable, etc. but the movie killed it for me.

  7. I think a solid fan base is success. The other stuff is great too, but not as necessary.

  8. Those are all good points of a book's success! If lots of people love it and recommend it, I'd say it's sucessful! And making a movie of it doesn't hurt, either. ;)

  9. Ooh, I nearly forgot - congrats on getting your ebook available in so many different places! :)

  10. To me success is one person reading a book and being touched by it in some way. (Yes money and fans and fame would be nice, but it is not why I write.)

    Based on that definition - Lloyd Alexanders Prydain chronicles are successful to me. Why? Because I read them and learned an important life lesson. Namely: It is not where you come from but what you do with your life that matters.

    If I can do this for one person with one book - I will consider myself to be a successful writer.

  11. Ah, I love Divergent. It's easy to see why it's been so successful. Veronica is pretty dang great, too.

    It's hard to know what will make a book successful, though. Or difficult to define success sometimes. I think a book like Divergent could have gotten half the number of reviews, but still been considered successful. I suppose it all depends where you set the bar...

  12. I think a book is a success if it gets written. All the other things are big bonuses. :D

  13. Kris Yankee: It's totally subjective, so I had to write a post to see how everyone else defines success. Thanks for your input :)

    Giles Hash: That's totally happened to me before. I completely base the movie or the book by which one I saw/read 1st. Not fair, but true.

    Lydia K.: True, I would love the other perks though :)

    Taylor Lynn: A movie never hurts lol :) And ty! Smashwords got it to be everywhere. I completely appreciate that.

    Krista: I agree. I would love to hear a person say they love it. It would make it even more worth while, and I'd feel pretty successful.

    Carolina Valdez Miller: It totally depends, like Kris said, success is subjective, but I'd just like to be successful in any way :) Wish me luck <3

    Nisa: Very true. Getting to the end feels amazing :)

  14. Wow! Well, success is such a tricky thing to measure because it means different things to different people. So I'm going to be vague and say it depends on the goal of the author!

  15. Lisa Gail Green: that might be the best way to answer :)

  16. I agree with your definition of success, but there are also other factors. Personally, if I can touch at least one person with my book, no matter who they are or what they take from it, I consider it a success. In that definition, I'm not even agented and I'm already successful :)

  17. Tiffany Garner: good points, and congrats on your success :)

  18. Hi Kelley! You have av ery cool blog here. I love reading and writing, but not arithmetic. I think this aversion to math is my DNA. :)

    I will ave to check out the Divergent Trilogy when I have some time, it sounds brilliant.

    You have certainly picked an interesting topic. There are so many books out there that I consider successful, but only because they've touched people and altered their way of thinking for the better. 10,000 Lovers by Edeet Ravel comes to mind. I don't anyone who has not read this who has not changed their way of looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Thank you so much for following. I look forward to your future visits. :)

  19. Hey Kelley! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. Thanks also for becoming a follower. We are now each other's #88's :-)

    Haven't read Divergent yet, but it is a book I want to own (which is why I haven't read it yet. Still too expensive :-( ) But it is very high on my TBR list.

    My favorite series is still The Mortal Instruments and they are making that series into movies as well. They will be epic. For me. :-)

  20. Congrats on the book, Kelley! :)
    I'm with you and Melissa on hating arithmetic and anything maths related :)

  21. "Divergent" is on my list to read. I have high hopes for it.

  22. It's an awesome cookbook! Thanks! I'm glad you like my blog!

  23. For me it's a book that lives up to its hype. Nothing worse than getting a book that everyone's talking about (before it comes out) and being sorely disappointed. Not so for Divergent (for me anyway). :D

  24. This is on my TBR list. The book is just far too large to get too!!

    I love the hype. The Hunger Games sold me after SO MANY people talked about it. Or when a friend is writing a brilliant story (The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - SO GOOD!!!) or the up and coming talk of the town SHATTER ME by Tahereh (you'll want this BOOK!)

  25. hahahaha hilarious video

    Which faction were you on Divergent?

  26. I agree that book success can be measured not only by sales but PASSION for a novel. When people are passionate (hello...TWILIGHT? HARRY POTTER?) then that is worth its weight in gold. Great post!

  27. So here I am as promised *grin*

    Firstly, congratulations on getting your own book 'out into the world'! I think it's a very confident step, well done.

    Secondly, especially at my (very early) stage of my writing journey I'd definitely agree with Nisa (above): "I think a book is a success if it gets written. All the other things are big bonuses."

    I'd probably also agree with many of the other comments that getting good feedback from readers and one day maybe making even a small amount of money would be success to me (ideally enough money to be equivalent to a part-time job wage - even if I was working on writing for many more hours per week).

    Thanks again for being my first commenter!

  28. I haven't read this book but it's on my list! I'm really glad that teen books are hitting the movies now. It's a good sign for children writers.

  29. Melissa Bradley: we must have similar DNA then :) Thanks for stopping in and for saying nice things about my blog

    Melanie: I got my copy from the library. Hardback costs are killer, so I get that lol. I have to read the Mortal Instrument series. I own it, just haven't gotten to it yet. Too many library due dates, I suppose. #88 for the win :)

    DEZMOND: thanks for stopping by. Math is the root of most of my evils. lol

    Donna K. Weaver: Hope you like it. It has actions and tattoos and quiet but strong boys---I was sold :)

    Romi: it sounded neat. Thanks for stopping by!

    Stina Lindenblatt: Oh, I know. I had it sitting there for a while, afraid to be disappointed. But I liked it

    Jen Daiker: I love when the hype matches the quality. I've heard great things about those titles, especially Shatter Me.

    Sophia Chang: Great question. I want to be Dauntless because, hello, it looks amazing, but in real life, I'd be Erudite. I figured this out yesterday because I literally keep my iPod on me at all times at the house because I'm constantly googling things. I'm info addicted. Which are you? I should post on this and ask everyone... Thanks!

    Alleged Author: Totally! Camp-outs for releases. Clubs. Halloween themed costumes because they NEED to be your character? Amazing success.

    Michelle: Glad you stopped in, and thank you! Finishing the book is huge, no matter what state the book is in. We definitely have similar success views :)

    Christina Farley: SO amazing, right? I would have flipped if I had all these options when I was 13. I would have had marks on my nose from burying my head in too many books, but at least I can read all the amazing options we have now :)