Here's a couple of interesting facts:
Isaac Asimov's first four books were published by a pulp paperback author mill. The Foundation Trilogy and I. Robot. He didn't make a dime off those until many years later when Doubleday picked them up.
Even though he is considered a legend in writing, it wasn't until he had written over 200 books that he hit the bestsellers lists.
In other words his first forty years of writing is what Traditional Publishers would call a failure, or at best a mid-lister.
This isn't a rant about the book industry. You can look at nearly every industry and find “failures” like that. In comedy movies, Kevin Smith's movies have grossed a little over $200 million. Armageddon grossed $500 million. I consider Armageddon a comedy because of the quote, “Tragedy plus time equals Comedy”, Armageddon is nearly two and half hours long.
Asimov, Smith, and thousands of others aren't huge successes by traditional standards. But their work will live on long past the “successful” people in their industry.
The thing that Asimov and Smith have in common is they were passionate about their work. Asimov loved writing. If he never made it to the bestsellers list I doubt he would have cared. Kevin Smith might never hold the title of highest opening weekend, but he will still make movies.
So to all those out there that want to success by some random standard, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. Here is the standard for success, passion plus work. If you are passionate about something and willing to work at it the results is a success that no one can take away from you.”
By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE