I find gold and silver badges on the cover of books with the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Printz, Newberry Award, and a plethora of others. Whether I ever get to where these writers are, they have always felt like my people, and just reading and studying and learning what I can from them is enough to make me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile, to make me happy.
Then there are the successful, New York Times bestselling books that I pick up, flip through and think, I write better than this and this got published. Not only that, but it's hugely successful. I won't give any names (*cough* E.L. James *cough*), but you...inspire me.
Barnes and Nobles feels like an exclusive club, but rather than nobody wanting you there, every author-member is showing you how many different ways there are to get in. You can pick the writers you admire, follow them, don't follow the ones you don't want to, and blend it all in to your own unique way of getting into the club. It's like they're all saying "Look how amazing this is, and if you work hard enough you can get here too. You can."
That's a happy thought to live with.