"OMG! Kenzie's here!"
"Is your next book out yet? Please say yes...."
(Tackle hugs) "Kenzeeeeeeeee!"
"Dear Kenzie, I just finished reading your latest work and it ROCKS! You've intrigued me with one of your minor characters though; could you make (him/her) the subject of your next one?"
"Ms Michaels has written a well-penned, steamy romance which will leave you unable to put it down. This is one author I will definitely put on my 'auto-buy' list!"
"Can I have your autograph Ms Michaels?"
"You've written how many books? WOW!"
The above are varying degrees of what I term success. I walk into an informal gathering and have many people greet me. I show up at a chat and am affectionately cyber-hugged. I get a favorable review. Fan mail. Or I'm pressed for an interview.
I also feel successful when I finish edits without wanting to strangle my editor (or my family, LOL!). Or I finish a wip and celebrate with a glass of wine.
I guess I will really count it as successful as long as I am happy doing what I'm doing, meeting new people, and making a little bit of money while doing it.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to make six figures...but until that time, I'm a success every time I get an acceptance letter, not a rejection.