Last week, I ambled through the living room while DH was watching a TV program about “luck” and I saw just enough to start me thinking about the luck factor in publishing. Like that infamous “rotting rhino under the rug” this seems to be something that writers and publishers know exist, but they don’t like to admit it. Is that because admitting that publishing involves a certain amount of luck is like admitting it’s not really within anyone’s control? Forgive me, that snorting sound you hear is me trying to stifle my gaffaws.
Allow me to illucidate:
I just wrote a vampire, girl-detective time-travel romance (not really this is just an example). Unfortunately every major publisher in NYC has just come out with a time-traveling, girl-detective vampire book and NOBODY is buying them. BAD LUCK!
My time-traveling girl-detective is really a BOY and a werewolf. The agent/editor is UBER EXCITED over my fresh new idea! GOOD LUCK! (In more ways than one, but this is just a silly example.)
My wonderfully written, delightfully fresh and innovative novel features a hero who happens to have the same first name as the agent/editor’s ex-husband. (Do NOT laugh! I actually had an agent tell me that she rejected a book because the hero had the same name as her ex! Of course, I’m sure she didn’t tell the poor, unsuspecting author this tidbit.) BAD LUCK! Sad but true!
Okay, I don’t honestly know if it would be GOOD LUCK! if your hero had the same name as the agent/editor’s latest crush. But I suppose it couldn’t hurt.
The editor has just made an offer for a book and has now filled all her slots for the next three years. Or the agent has just accepted her 77th client, a NYTimes best-selling author whose agent was hit by a bus and was therefore, “between agents”. BAD LUCK! Especially for that former agent.
The editor just had an author MISS a deadline, or become unable to fulfill his/her contract. (resisting the urge to repeat the hit-by-the-bus scenario) And lo and behold! My manuscript is on the top of the heap on his/her desk and is JUST WHAT S/HE WANTS, or at least close enough. AMAZING LUCK! And hey! It HAS happened! Just not to me or anyone I know.
The agent just went to lunch with an editor who says, “If only someone had a wonderfully written time-traveling werewolf story.” Then the agent returns to his/her office and my proposal is on the top of the heap on his/her desk. Maybe not quite as AMAZING LUCK as the case above, but CLOSE ENOUGH!
Okay, maybe these examples are a bit extreme. But there is a luck factor involved with publication. And while some of it is within the writer’s control (Probably NOT a good idea to mail your proposal right before the holidays or right after a major writing conference like RWA National.), plenty of it is NOT (rampaging buses, ex’s names and all)!
Hmmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to delete that chain email I got the other day.
But it's NOT TOO LATE for YOU! There's still time for you to post a comment and win! Check out yesterday's post.