Things that effect your chances of winning the luck lottery in publishing

I mentioned in the previous post that one must work to create the greatest opportunities for luck to find you. I’m not sure I can overstate this enough if you’re interested in a career in writing. There are a lot of things you can do as a writer that may or may not help. More importantly though, there are things you can do that will hurt your chances. Think of it this way. Luck is a lottery with a limited number of winning numbers. Do the good things related to your writing career and you get to pick another number. Do craptastic things and the numbers get taken away. Not only are they taken away, but you have to then compensate to get back into positive territory. Get too far in the hole and no amount of productive, good actions on your part will get you out. Because folks tend to like lists and bullet points for things, I list some here. Feel free to add more in the comments section.

Gain Points:

  • Write a great story. This will get you more numbers in the luck lottery than anything else.
  • Be respectful in the public sphere. This doesn’t mean you have to be sweet and polite all the time, but express yourself with tact, even when upset by something.
  • Be kind to readers. They’re entitled to their opinions, and just because they may not express them tactfully, doesn’t mean you get to do the same. Readers are your greatest asset.
  • Have a public presence. You can’t hide in the writer’s cave all of the time. If people don’t know who you are, they will not care to buy your stories.
  • Be helpful to other writers. Other writers have knowledge you don’t. Expressing a willingness and effort to connect with them, will make them treat you similarly. Also, these writers have readers. If they say kind things about you to their readers, well…you get the idea.
  • Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. You can’t write well, either productively or efficiently if your health is poor. Learn to know when things are impinging on your well-being and be willing to step aside to take care of them.
  • Learn to handle rejection and criticism. A certain percentage of people will NOT like your writing, no matter how good it is. If you can accept the fact that people will say, “not for me” you will go a long way in this regard. Artistic endeavors of any kind are extremely subjective. You can’t get upset by the fact that some will not like your creation. Tell yourself this will happen and that it is not a reflection on you personally.
  • Write. A LOT. You will not get better if you don’t, and the fact is, you can always get better, no matter how many books you’ve written. It is quite likely you are never as good as you think you are and conversely, better than you probably believe. Yeah, I know, funny how that works.

Losing Points:

  • Ignore other’s opinions. Do this at your own peril. Sometimes, people don’t like your writing for good reasons (other times not). Don’t come across as a know-it-all.
  • Fly off the handle about…anything. Getting involved in rant fests over just about anything will get you labeled as a crazy person. Deep breaths. Step back. Be tactful.
  • Force your writing. Sometimes it’s just not there, for a number of reasons. Trust me, readers will notice.
  • Live in your basement (metaphorically speaking). Nobody will notice you or your writing if you aren’t willing to be noticed.
  • Emotional instability. Being manic or depressive in this business is a sure fire way to achieve doom. Roll with the punches. Readers like those with accepting attitudes, as do publishers, editors, and agents.
  • Doing anything sneaky to promote your writing, like posting your own reviews. Don’t do this, people find out such things.
  • Being a spambot. Shouting out to the world you have a book for sale, over and over and over again will shitcan your chances of winning the luck lottery.

Okay, that’s enough to get this started. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Have a great day everyone and happy reading/writing!



3 responses to “Things that effect your chances of winning the luck lottery in publishing

  1. Nice set of lists. Of course, numeral uno is the most important. I like Jon Konrath’s take on that matter; “Write the best story you can.”

  2. Thanks for another clever and insightful post, Jim. I’m taking notes. Looking forward to the release of Deadworld.

    • I think it’s a bit tough to tell writers not to be manic or depressive. Isn’t “manic” and/or “depressive” part of the writer’s job description?! But you don’t have to ACT manic or depressive. Shouldn’t be too hard. After all, writers are closet actors, creating dramas, acting out all the parts. Am I being nit-picky? Otherwise, a useful checklist. Thanks.