How to Get Lucky

. . . yeah, not like that. Minds out of the gutter, people. The February posts are over.

I mean how to get lucky in publishing, though I think this advice applies to all of life.

The way to get lucky is two-fold. Wait, and keep working. This works two ways. If you don’t keep working, you never move forward, and if you never move forward, nothing happens. You don’t write the next book, you don’t think of the next story, you don’t connect with the next reader. It’s a great accomplishment to do any of those things, but sitting on them and waiting for accolades is the kiss of death. Once it’s finished, move forward. Find the next thing. NB: This will also keep you from losing your mind during the submissions/editing/promotion process. Luck doesn’t come to you. You go get it, by constantly moving forward.

The other part of being lucky is waiting. Now, here you should know that I am the Ultimate Silver Linings Girl. I firmly believe that even the most horrible of “luck” and even the worst events can eventually take you to a place of good luck. Say your dream agent rejects you. Heartbreaking, right? Except maybe you find an agent who’s new and hungry, and fights to the death for you. You get a great book deal out of it, when Dream Agent might have been too busy to give you much attention. That bad luck, with a little patience, proves itself to be good luck after all.

Say you write a book and your agent says it’s too late, the trend has passed, and she can’t sell it. This happened to me. From that painful lesson, I learned that my agent and I need to be on the same page, literally, about my projects. I’ve gotta write it, but SHE’S gotta sell it. Now, I check with her before I dive into a novel. I just did this, and she saved me from wasting 6 months writing a book that, after speaking with her, I understand would be terribly difficult to sell. I’m not upset in the least, because I hadn’t invested anything in the story yet. I just flitted off to another idea that we can BOTH get excited about. It’s so lucky that I didn’t waste time on that idea . . . but I got “lucky” because I knew what to do.

Luck really is experience plus vision plus opportunity plus persistence. And yeah, it’s hard to get all of those things to line up perfectly, which is why we call it luck. You can’t guarantee that it will happen. But you can work to give luck the best shot possible, and then wait to see how to turn what happens into a positive. How to MAKE it lucky. Persistence. Silver linings. That’s how I do it, at least.

Best of luck!

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6 thoughts on “How to Get Lucky

  1. I did split ways with an agent because we weren’t in sync, so I hear you. I should take your advice and write a contemporary NA series. My agent has been telling me for months that’s selling.

  2. Great point about the continual need to keep working. As Kristine Kathryn Rusch says, “Write, publish, repeat.”

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