"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
According to all professional writer’s organizations a professional is one who has sold at pro rates.
It’s the only definition that counts really.
Creative pursuits operate on a different standard than things like carpentry.
The reason for this is the narrowness of the markets.
Most professional artists and authors have day jobs because art and writing do not pay well unless you are in the top ten percent. And of that top ten percent of professional creative people, only ten percent of that ten percent make an outstanding living at it.
The real compensation is in the validation of our talents. Fans.
The nickels and dimes do help.