The myth of getting ‘lucky’

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.

Nope. Wrong.

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.

Extracted_cover_120
Welcome to the war.
The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.
The Hollows are a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their …only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.
Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.
When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.
Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.
* * * *
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11 thoughts on “The myth of getting ‘lucky’

  1. I think there is such a thing as right place, right time, but I don’t consider that luck, I consider that life. What you say here, Sherry, is one hundred percent true. You may be that person that happens on a deal first query out, but that is so rare as to be as much of a myth as “luck” and “rich and famous author”. The key is that if you are not that one in a kabillion-trillion person, to keep on keeping on. The real success stories are those who don’t take no for an answer, and don’t compromise their principals just to get published.

  2. Great post Sherry!!! I do still kind of believe in luck playing a role, but what I like about the MATH idea is that it puts some of the luck back in our hands!! ie- Luck can’t happen unless we put ourselves in the right place at the right time. That’s why I always liked to have work out all the time. They can’t buy it if I don’t have a project on an editor’s desk, right? Great reminder…

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