"I've been really lucky," I told her. "I've gotten some amazing reviews, and a lot of enthusiasm from booksellers, and my first book was nominated for contemporary romance of the year by RT Book Reviews."
She frowned. "That doesn't sound like luck. That sounds like hard work."
It wasn't the first time I realized my realtor is a whole lot smarter than me.
When new writers ask me the secret to getting published, I give the slightly jaded response you'll hear from many authors who've been at this game awhile – getting published has little to do with talent, and everything to do with perseverance and luck.
I say it because I've seen a lot of amazing writers give up too soon when rejections piled up and confidence fell. I've also seen mediocre writers get published because they hung in there fighting like a moose with a mousetrap on his testicles long after the other kids packed up their toys and went home.
I do believe perseverance and luck are the cornerstones of every successful author's career, but my realtor was right about the hard work. She also got me thinking about how luck is often a matter of perspective.
Monday morning, I drove six hours to Boise, Idaho for a talk I was hired to give at the library. My visit coincided with the arrival of a freak storm that sent the city into a tizzy. News reports predicted 60-mile-an-hour winds and falling power lines. I had visions of cattle caught in wind-gusts and splattered across the hood of my rental car.
Not surprisingly, people weren't eager to leave the safety of their homes to hear a romance author tell penis jokes. Though the library staff arranged a large, lovely auditorium and several special events to accompany my talk, my audience consisted of six people. One may have been physically dragged there by event organizers, and one was a longtime friend who lives in Boise and offered to chauffeur me around.
The library staff was bummed, and I felt bad for all the hard work and advertising they put into it. Though I enjoyed chatting intimately with my small audience, it was by far the smallest turnout I've had at an author event. At the end of it, we shook our fists at the storm, cursing the fallen limbs and fear-mongering weathermen.
|The big hunks of tree that could have|
made a mess of my pal's truck.
After my friend dropped me at my bed and breakfast, he returned home to discover a massive tree limb fell right where he always parks his truck. Had he not been shuttling a directionally-challenged author from wine bar to brewery, he most assuredly would have gotten a smushed vehicle and a delightful afternoon of arguing with insurance companies.
Good luck? Hard to say.
In the end, it's probably a matter of perspective. We can find good luck and bad luck in just about any scenario, depending on how hard we look. And freak storms aside, it's important to remember the degree to which we work like dogs to make our own luck.
What's your most memorable good luck/bad luck encounter? Please share!
I need to check my rental car agreement for the policy on hoof-dents in the hood.