What do we as writers want to be our ultimate gain from our endeavours, is it critical acclaim or commercial success? I think this is a question all writers must answer at some point.
Is it better to held aloft by your peers and have them praise your prose or verse than have a runaway hit on your hands? For me the answer is quite a simple one, the latter, and not for the obvious reason of monetary gain. To have your bank balance boosted by sales of a book that sells well is not something I will ever complain about but it also means that people are reading your work and enjoying it. I can remember a writer once saying that they didn’t mind what they did with his books, whether it was to prop up the coffee table or read them he was not in the slightest bit bothered, as long as you bought them. To some extent I agree and I think most other writers are only fooling themselves if they think otherwise but I would get much more satisfaction if I knew people enjoyed what I did. I often say in tweets or dedications that I hope readers have as much fun reading my books as I do writing them and that remains as true today as it was when I first started writing.
I think of myself as an entertainer of sorts, I hope my stories entertain you the readers, I would like to think that you enjoy the ride and if you want to know more, what happens next with my characters then I believe I’ve done my work well.
Would I like to have a book that won awards? Of course I would and I’d be lying if I said otherwise but it is far more important to me to be liked by my readers. Winning an award is no guarantee of success but undoubtedly it will open doors. There is no denying that as there is no denying the fact that many writers who won prestigious awards had that one success and nothing further. If I want to be remembered by any group of readers then I must extend my reach far and wide and aim at a wide audience. That is my aim, my goal and I hope you come with me.