One of the most challenging–but most helpful–things a writer can do before getting into the book business is deciding what success looks like to them.

–Carly Watters on the first question to ask.

I gotta be honest; this was one of the first questions my husband asked me when I told him I’d written a book and had nearly signed with an agent (yes, I waited that long, yes, I’m a terrible wife). I didn’t know how to answer at the time and it terrified me.

In some respects, I still don’t know how to answer it or, more rightly, the answer shifts around depending on the time of day/phase of the moon/what I’ve just eaten/et cetera. But I’ve got more ideas than I used to. And it’s definitely a question that needs, at minimum, a list of potential answers, if not one definitive one.

And, once you’ve done that question, there’s something even scarier lurking behind it:

Defining failure.