Success Is Relative – Just Write

I'm thrilled to welcome S. K. McClafferty, a veteran author with fifteen books and counting, in mass market and digital, to the blog today.

You may know S. K. as Selina MacPherson or Sue McKay. She writes Romantic Suspense, Romantic Comedy, and Historical Romance. She's smart, witty, and, most importantly, knows a thing or two about surviving the writing business. Read and heed her words of wisdom.

Books To Grab

Here are two of her books for you to start with.

Love-Match.Com, a Jenna’s Cove Romance that's laugh out loud funny!

Bliss: An Anthology of Novellas by 5 talented authors. Five stories of enduring love in one great house on Albemarle Sound.

Don't Tell A Soul, a gritty suspense story that's part of the Dark Water Series.

Success Is Relative So Just Write
by S. K. McClafferty

Success is relative. 6 years ago, my life imploded, and everything went away. 36-year-marriage, home, publisher-editor-relationship tanked and dissolved into nothing, and I lost my mom. I started over at the bottom.

Sixteen months ago, while working a minimum wage job in retail, I started republishing my considerable backlist. I have 15 or so items for sale currently on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc. with more coming out. That means full-length single titles and boxed sets. Because my writing is keeping the lights on, and food on my table, without my having to work a normal job, I consider it successful – even though it in no way compares to what some writers are making. And while I applaud the writers making tons of sales every day, it is not my reality as yet.

Going Digital

Having said that, my expectations after 25 years in the publishing industry, are down to earth. They always told us back in the day, that "Every overnight success takes ten years." I am building. In the first year, ebook sales were miniscule. Some months, there were none. In January of this year, I saw my numbers jump into triple digits, and stay there, and this has been a much better year for me. I don' t– at this point – advertise. Can't afford it. I am a recovering anti-social-network personality, so I just started forcing myself to talk on Twitter and FB, though I have 8 followers. *LOL* Word of mouth alone is driving my sales.

I put out a book a year ago that hasn't done anything yet. It's a quirky romantic comedy. So, I wrote the second in that series because I like the concept. This one is hilarious (my 2 reviews say so, *g*) and it makes ME laugh. At some point this will probably start to sell. But, to be honest, it doesn't concern me. I am concentrating on the next step, creating the physical book for that series for local signings, and I have started another book for one of my other series.

Hard Lessons Learned

As a writer who has come back more times than I wanted to, in an industry that chews people up, I try to keep my head down and just write. Writing brings surprises, and it is the only part of this process that we can really control. The business side of writing is unpredictable. There is no cookie-cutter approach to lasting success, and what works for one person, or one project, may not work for another. It’s tempting, when you see the methods that other writers are using, to try and emulate their efforts. Yet pouring money you can't afford to spend into something with the hope it will perform, is like spending your whole paycheck on lottery tickets. It just creates stress.

Be Smart

I’m not saying I don’t do anything to advance my career, but I have to be smart about it. I do what I can feel good about doing, and I write something else. And I don’t spend much time feeling badly about not measuring up to what’s-her-face who sold ten million books last year. I’m not her, and she’s not me. She has assistants, and a publicist, and her hubby’s a banker. But my writing is keeping the lights on, and I’m not hungry…. I can afford ink for my printer, and my newest project really excites me. It’s a good thing. Success is relative.

Takeaway Truth

As soon as I settle into my new blog after August 1, I'll post a review of one of Sue's books.

I notice that Sue did not give her Facebook and Twitter addresses so I will post them in comments. You'll want to Follow this amazing author. Heck! Make that amazing woman! Grab one of her books today. You won't be disappointed.


  1. Twitter: S. K. McClafferty @macdoesrosston


  2. What a great article! Perspective can be so enlightening--if you think you're a success, you ARE a success. Thank you for the day brightener!

  3. Cynthia Wicklund ... Hey, Cindy! Thanks for visiting. I love Sue's article. Makes us remember that we're indie publishers because of the opportunity inherent in controlling our own work. That's a great deal of success in my book.

  4. I admire Sue for coming back from us a heap of devastating blows. You are a survivor, Sue, and an inspiration for those facing similar situations. My advice is forget that it takes 10 years to be successful. That was then, this is now, and everything is moving faster all the time. Embrace it now because you already are successful and becoming more so everyday.

  5. Gemma Juliana ... Well put, Gemma. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Down-to-earth inspiration. I like that. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Sue. I feel like I'm starting from scratch since my publisher won't let go of my 29 published books. But I just pubbed my 4th book in a new series and I had fun writing it. That's gotta count for something.


  7. Success is what we make it to be.

    I've seen flashes-in-the-pan authors who have had a book or two hit the top and stay there only to fall into oblivion and never hear from them again. I've seen rock-solid, known authors complain sales have fallen to nothing. This is a volatile business. Survival takes stamina.

    But the best single piece of advice I ever got was go out and make friends on the web. Okay, I don't have 150 million twitter and FB followers. But those who I have - most of them I actually know.

    Life is good!

  8. Inspiring post! Thank you both for some uplifting thoughts to start the day.

  9. It seems like ups and downs are the nature of this business. These are scary times and no one is bullet proof. Great article and I wish her the best!

  10. Debra said ... "and I had fun writing it. That's gotta count for something."

    That counts for more than non-writers can imagine. Congrats!

  11. E. Ayers said... "This is a volatile business. Survival takes stamina."

    Yep. This isn't a business for sissies.

  12. Donna and Gerry, thanks for dropping by.

    Gerry, you're right. The constant in this business is the ups and downs.

  13. Excellent post! Very inspiring on many levels. I'm about to share it on Twitter and FB. looks hilarious, so I downloaded it to read.

  14. I found this post via KE Saxon and I loved it. I put it on my Facebook page as well because it is inspiring, especially to single writers like me, who are working a full-time job and there is no rich husband to bankroll my writing. I went to Amazon and bought Don't Tell A Soul. Sounds like my kind of story. I have a friend who also loves romantic suspense with a Louisiana setting. Sent her the link to the book.

  15. K.E. Saxon ... Thanks for visiting and for sharing the link so others can read Sue's story.

  16. Patricia Preston ... Thanks so much for visting and for sharing the link. Most of all thanks for buying one of Sue's books.

    I don't know anyone who has a rich husband to bankroll their writing although I've heard stories of some of the big names that did. *LOL* I think we all end up paying our dues -- one way or the other -- whether that's with our writing career or our personal lives. Nothing is ever easy.

  17. I just learned of Sue and her books, even though she lives very near to where I do. I read "As Night Falls" and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading more of her works. Such talent...too bad more people in this area don't know about her, but I am passing the word!

  18. Hello, Janie. I'm glad you're reading Sue's books and will tell others about them. She's a wonderful author.