“Succès d'estime: a success in terms of critical appreciation, as opposed to popularity or commercial gain” [definition courtesy of the Oxford Dictionaries].
WorldCon takes place in Chicago this weekend--the great annual gathering of authors and aficionados of science fiction and fantasy, where the Hugo Awards are handed out. My only WorldCon was in San Jose a decade ago, shortly after Wysard and Lord Brother were published, and it was fabulous. I attended as a guest professional and took part in panel discussions, critique groups, greenroom socializing and epic parties, making new acquaintances and reuniting with people I'd previously met at my first-ever such event, Norwescon. The ConJose Wiki entry gives an idea of how exciting it was. As a final flourish I celebrated my birthday in the unexpected company of a terrific bunch of kindred souls.
Thanks to Facebook, which didn't exist when ConJose took place, I can keep in touch with fellow inkslingers from those days. Since then we've moved into a time of wondrous and sometimes distressing changes. Like many others, I've been delighted to be able to give my books a new digital lease on life at Amazon and elsewhere, but faced with the ever-increasing publication inundation, the resultant pandemonian clamors for reader attention, and the recent revelations concerning some authors' extreme measures to secure fame and/or fortune, I'm seeking the quiet lately. My energies are focused on writing new books, but it's a deep pleasure to reflect that the Ryel Saga has achieved what I consider true success. What I wanted most was to create something beautiful to give the world; and that which I craved, I accomplished thanks to invaluable others who read me for the love of it and asked for nothing in return. To be accorded praise after being read with care is the greatest honor a writer can ever experience, and to have it said that I might be remembered in years to come is fame enough for a lifetime.