Are we there, yet?

success-2076812_1920It’s funny this writing game. One minute I’m on top of the world, the next I’m convinced if I wrote a note for the petty cash tin saying I owe it $5, not even the admin nazi would read it.

When I started trying to write a book the year my youngest child turned 1, (way back in 2010), my definition of success would have been as simple as getting that book published. Easy.

Funny what a few rejections do to that self-confidence and those goals. Fast forward a couple of years after slamming into closed doors, and my definition of success changed. In 2011 & 2012 success for me would have looked something like this:

  1. Final in a writing competition (or fingers crossed, win a competition)
  2. Have an agent or publisher request a full manuscript.

Things started to snowball. In 2011, a scene from His Brand Of Beautiful finalled in the RWA First Kiss Competition; and somewhere in 2012, I got the first request for a full manuscript.

After Harlequin offered me a Contract for His Brand Of Beautiful (as an e-book with digital-first publisher, Escape Publishing) and the book had been out long enough for my first royalty payment to come in, (we’re now talking midway through 2013), my definitions for success changed again.

To be successful, I now needed to:

  1. Earn enough from my royalties to actually buy my hubby lunch at the pub!
  2. Maybe win a reader award, like the Australian Romance Readers Association annual awards or an Aus Rom Today award; or final in a round of the Booktopia Australia’s Fave Author!!
  3. Have a print book published (not just electronic).

So, in Summer 2015-2016, I got my first book in print. It was Fairway To Heaven and it was part of a 3-book anthology called More Time For The Beach. For the first time I earned a four-figure royalty and was actually able to sock some of that cash away for a rainy day (plus buy hubby a nice lunch, and myself a bottle of bloody nice bubbles)!!

My definitions of success changed again. Now I needed to see:

  1. My own story in print – a Lily Malone title all to myself.

In September 2016, an e-book of mine with Escape Publishing (then called So Far Into You) was selected by Harlequin MIRA for print and given the new title of The Vineyard In The Hills. I had my first solo print book, you’d think all my dreams would have come true? I must be successful now, right?

No! The success goalposts moved again!

What is success to me now?


  1. To be known for contemporary fiction writing as well as rural romance, and specifically to get my manuscript ‘Ashes’ published.
  2. To publish at minimum, 2 books a year
  3. To support myself financially through my writing.
  4. To be a good friend, wife and mother, and good person while doing all this. (In other words, not turn into a raving psychotic author loony!)

That’s what success would mean to me right now (though I’m sure those goalposts will move). What about you?




5 thoughts on “Are we there, yet?”

  1. Shifting the definition of success just means you’re aiming higher and further—so keep looking forward, I say. As long as you celebrate attaining each goal with a glass or three of bubbly!
    Looking into my crystal champagne glass, it tells me your goal posts will continue to shift and there will be many more successes ahead for you!

  2. I love that you’re reaching your goals, Lily – and that the goal posts keep moving in such a positive direction. Looking forward to clinking champagne glasses when Ashes gets published!

  3. Setting new goals that redefine success seems like the most effective way to continue moving forward to me, Lily! Thanks for this entertaining post. 🙂

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