Folklore, History & the Study of Myth

The Writings of Gary R. Varner


A Measure of Success

Posted by Gary R. Varner on October 26, 2007 at 2:14 PM

A Measure of Success


Writers, except for those few who have hit a market with a good product at a good time, are similar to the starving artist who works tirelessly at his craft. Working tirelessly but reaping little or no financial rewards. Those few lucky souls, mostly authors of popular novels, become icons for the rest of us desiring to have their works read and, hopefully purchased by an appreciative audience.


But success can, and should, be measured in other ways. There are thousands of excellent books out there, and millions more not even written as yet, that should be read?that deserve to be read. And perhaps that is the true measure of success. I am not immune to these desires of success either. I have written 14 books, which I knew would only fit in a niche market. How many people, I asked myself, are interested enough in folklore and mythology and the traditions of ancient societies to actually search out my titles and to plop down their hard earned cash for them? I am rarely able to buy my own works from my major publisher even with the author discount! In an effort to gain control over my own work and to set a fairer price I have begun to produce books under my own imprint. But I have digressed. What about ?success??


After some mental torment and feeling as if it would be easier to simply stop writing, I came to the realization that, in fact, I am successful. My works are read around the world in a variety of cultures by a variety of people. My articles on Authors Den have been copied and republished on the internet, in a huge variety of venues, including mainstream and educational as well as ?alternative? sites. In addition, my articles have been read by individuals working at the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Oxford University, and dozens of other universities and school districts.  Individuals around the world are also readers, from Croatia to London, and from South Africa to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Barbados, Sweden and Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the Russian Federation, France, Gibraltar, Israel and Greece. My books sell well to libraries, both university and public. My books can be found at Harvard, Cornell, the Princeton Theological Seminary, the UC system, University of Pittsburgh, University of Ottawa, the University of Otago in New Zealand and such institutions as the Smithsonian, as well as 477 other libraries around the world. I have had articles appear in scholarly journals such as the Living Spring Journal in England and Magister Botanicus in Germany. Are these measures of success even though my royalties are rarely enough to buy a nice dinner? Yes!


A writer writes to be read. While a bit of financial success would always be welcome, the fact is I have done what I set out to do. I am read and my writings have contributed to discussion and further research. So in those times of doubt I can at least say that my work has been validated and that it is, at last, worthwhile.        

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