I don’t believe in luck, good or bad. People told me when I started publishing (note: not when I started writing. Writing and publishing are two very different creatures) that it was all about luck. Finding the right person on the right day who was looking for exactly what you were trying to sell. Like winning the lottery. Sheer dumb luck.
But that’s not exactly true. It’s more about MATH.
Yes, I said it, the word most of us creative types shrink in fear of. Math. Math will make you successful, or not. and here’s how.
Let’s say you wrote a book. A good book, nay a GREAT book. You decide that you want the *fame and fortune of being a published author. So you draft a query letter and send your manuscript off like kids on Halloween, door to door begging for sweets.
If you send that query to one agent, your chances of getting published are about zero. Sorry, them’s the facts. Zero. Zip. Nada. It could be the best book EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVER and the math is still against you. If you send that same query to ten agents, your odds go up. One hundred agents later, and the odds grow. Now add a few small press publishers into that mix. The odds double, triple, quadruple. Because now, you are playing the numbers game. Say you throw a water balloon onto a low traffic street. Odds are, you won’t hit anything. But keep tossing those little bundles of fun and you are bound to hit something eventually. So don’t be afraid or ashamed of high numbers. High numbers are good. They mean your changes of winning are good too.
This is where perseverance comes into play. What are your odds of winning the lottery if you never buy a ticket? Zilch. Same thing applies to this. The more you play, the better your chances of winning big. The difference is, the lottery won’t write you a letter telling you that you are an untalented loser (and yes, some rejections can be or at least feel that harsh.) Perseverance is what allows you to brush off the thorns of NO and keep running, striving to reach that elusive YES.
Well, perseverance and chocolate.
So what is luck? It’s a way to justify success or failure as somehow beyond your control. Have you ever picked up a book and thought, this is just awful! How did this book get published with (insert big publisher here) and I can’t even get looked at?!? Well, they must have gotten lucky, right? Or on the flip side of that, you can tell yourself that string of rejections isn’t because your book needs work, it’s just bad luck.
With everything in life, you are what you make yourself. You are as successful as you make yourself. You think only writers with an ‘in’ in the industry can get published? Then create an ‘in’ for yourself. Be resourceful. Be stubborn. Be creative. Don’t think you can do it? Then you can’t. You have to grab life by the tender bits and take what you want. Yes, it may be hard. Yes, it may take a long time. But it will happen if you make it happen. So *go kick a leprechaun off a balcony and take control of your own destiny. Your luck will be whatever you make it.
*Rich and famous author may be a figment of your imagination
*I do not condone leprechaun violence, except in SyFy channel movies.