Measuring Success as a New Author

Please welcome my very dear friend,

Sara L. Foust

Headshot Sara L Foust

As a new author, I must sheepishly admit I had big dreams. Even though I’d heard in conferences over and over, writing and earning an income that can be considered a full-time career is rare in this industry these days, I chose to hope, with fingers and toes crossed, I might be one of those “special” ones. My first novel was going to go straight to number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list and I would launch my career nationwide. Everyone would love my books. I would be able to provide for my family with my writing within the first few years. Oh, yeah, big dreams.

I completed my first manuscript in late 2015 and started sending out queries. It really didn’t take me long to tuck that manuscript in a drawer and pretend like it didn’t exist. My second manuscript was better. I worked hard, read everything I could about the craft of writing, and applied that new knowledge to improving my writing. It was published in November 2017 and I now have three published novels and one self-published novella.


I’m still not making anything you could exactly call an income, but I have learned to measure my success in other ways.  I was recently emailed from my website contact form and invited to come speak at a library about an hour from my home. Friends have sent me pictures of them reading the books, finding them in my local library just down the road, and passing them to friends and family of theirs. I met a bookstore event planner at a local event and she invited me to come for a book signing in May at the store in Sevierville. I have “met” hundreds of new people online who want to engage and talk to me and expressed interest in my writing. And most of all, I have learned so much. Each of these small victories adds up to success in my book (hehehe). I’m not going to stop writing or slow down just because I’m not seeing the big money roll in. This is my passion and I am proud of the things God has allowed me to do so far. Money would be helpful for my family’s finances, but it isn’t why I write.

I recently told my best friend and writing pal that we have to learn to measure our success in different terms than the “big guys,” you know, those little-known writers like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King. We have to be willing to look at every new contact with someone where they express interest in our work, or every new email signup, or every new review as a success. Writing may not yet be paying my bills, but the value this career has added to my self-esteem, my enjoyment of life, and my feeling of fulfilling my God-called role is worth so much more!

Are you a new author out there? Or maybe you are one who has been around the block a few times but still feel you haven’t “made it.” Let’s start thinking about success in this industry differently, together. How do you measure success?

Get your copy of Sara’s book: Rarity Mountain!

No job. Little faith. A paralyzing secret and a life-changing survival show.

rarity mountain

Author: Sara L. Foust Title: Rarity Mountain: Journey to Faith ISBN-10: 1945094737 ISBN-13: 978-1945094736


Headshot Sara L Foust

Author Bio:

Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author and homeschooling mother of five who writes surrounded by the beauty of East Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of the Love, Hope, and Faith Series, which includes Callum’s Compass (2017), Camp Hope (2018), and Rarity Mountain (March 2019).  She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and a novella, Of Walls (November 2018). Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit



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7 thoughts on “Measuring Success as a New Author

  1. This is so true!!!!
    We all need dreams, but I think many of us are dealt w/a dose of realty when we start writing.
    So cool receiving invitations from local libraries and friends reading your books!

    Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara, I relate to everything you wrote in this post. The friends I’ve made, the invites, the reader emails, etc. may not pay the bills, but they are worth so much more than I can put a dollar amount on. And the best thing is…I didn’t expect this. I cherish the relationships that have blessed my life the passed two years…and the lady hosting this blog is at the very top of my list of blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ladies, my cup runneth over with your sweet comments and I give a hearty AMEN. I never knew writing meant I’d make amazing and wonderful friends like you all. That’s worth more than any amount of fame or fortune.


  3. I really needed to read your post today, Sara! A certain someone in my life was unhappy with my first meagre royalty cheque, never mind that it only was for three weeks of the last quarter of the year! It cut me to the quick because that person was measuring it against what was spent in marketing dollars against ROI. Well, three weeks is nothing in God’s timing or in real world timing either. I have no idea how well this book will do eventually but I DO know that the intangibles of my friendships and having readers tell me how much the love story meant to them means a lot to me right now. We don’t write for a huge segment of the publishing world. We aren’t going to make the “big bucks” unless we strike the market at the right time with a hit like the “Left Behind” series that takes off. Thank you for sharing your honest story because many of us need to know we’re not alone and we always, always need to remember “why” we write in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Such a good point about God’s timing–and we must remember His plan for each of us is different, but I know He has a way for our books to reach the readers who need them. Thanks for commenting, and keep doing what you’re doing with your eye on those intangible prizes, Laurie.

      Liked by 1 person

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