What is your definition of a successful author? Is it one who has millions and millions of followers on social media? Is it one who has millions upon millions of dollars in their bank account? Is it one who is frequently in the media spotlight? Granted, some or all of those things combined can equate to a successful author, but I tend to see beyond that. In my personal opinion, authors who have accomplished some or all of those things should be commended because they have worked hard to get to where they are at. There are even some popular authors out there now who are doing exceptionally well despite some agencies not believing in them or their work.
To me, a successful author is one who can touch hearts, open minds and generate a discussion whether it be in big or small numbers. I know that there are some authors who may feel like they are not successful because they are not in the media spotlight, have a huge bank account or have not made it onto a best-sellers list. As a debut author, I can truthfully say that I did not write my first novel to become rich or famous. I wrote my first novel because I have always enjoyed writing stories, and I wanted to see if I had it in me to write a compelling story that will touch the minds and hearts of my readers. It has been a little over a week since my debut novel was published, and I have garnered a few positive reviews.
Whether you are a published author backed by a literary agent or a self-published author like myself, if you sold a book or books, and it inspired a reader or readers in some way then you are a successful author. You may not have ranked highly on the sellers list or made it into the media spotlight, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that someone was inspired by the art of your storytelling and that your hard work and effort did not go to waste.