How do you know if you're any good as a writer?
This is something I've touched on before (see Eckhart Tolle link, below).
It's worth offering more guidance on it.
Test 1: People in the business
First and foremost you need to get, at some stage, interest from commissioning editors or agents.
If your friends are telling you your work is brilliant, but editors are turning you down, your friends are probably wrong.
That doesn't mean to say that every editor you pitch has to like your work. J K Rowling famously hawked her first Harry Potter novel around 14 agents before one of them accepted it. Many other authors have had similar experiences.
When you pitch your stuff to editors, you'll likely get a lot of rejections - the point is that you have to get some sort of approval, somewhere along the line, from people in the publishing business. If you don't, your writing probably sucks.
The converse may well be true: that is, if your work is generating interest in the publishing world, but your friends are telling you it's crap (I've known it happen) your friends are probably over-enthusiastic in their criticism.
Test 2: Reviews
If you self-publish, you won't have to worry about acceptance by the publishing world. The litmus test in that case is reviews by people who don't know you and have no reason to sing your praises,and no axe to grind either. If you get a decent amount of positive feedback from strangers, you can take that as an indication that your work has merit.
Test 3: Sales
If, irrespective of satisfying either of the above tests, you sell a ton of books, then you don't have to worry about what anyone says. Your work is good. Even if it isn't.
End of lecture!
Eckhart Tolle, my pain body and me
The writer as accountant
Blogging as a writer
Pretentious horseshit that happens to be true #1
Books should be fun
My books page
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