Let’s Hear It For Luck – Or Lack Thereof

Hands writing on old typewriter over wooden table background

Facebook decided to send me a “Memory” today, all the way from 2014. Here’s what I posted on this date, two years ago:

I have a pretty loyal group of readers who follow my blog and from my fanfic sites. I picked a handful who always post good, meaty, thoughtful reviews and asked them to beta-read my YA novel. I just sent it out to them on Thursday, and today I found this in my in-box:

“Just a quick note to let you know I just finished the book. It was INCREDIBLE! I really, truly LOVED this story! I can’t wait to find out what else you have in store for these characters. I feel like I know them and I feel like I’m invested in their story. Thanks for not writing a book about monsters/vampires/werewolves/fairies/etc. or another version of survival in a dystopian society. It seems like that’s all there is out there these days for the YA genre. When you get this book published (when, not if), I will tell every single person I know that they have to read it! I’ll promote the crap out of it by word of mouth. You’ve done a beautiful job and you have a great talent. I look forward to seeing your work on bookshelves!”

She also gave me some great, in-depth feedback on the characters and told me how blindsided she was by some of the plot twists – which is just what I wanted to hear. Now if only an editor would agree! Still waiting….and waiting….. Keep your fingers crossed!

Of course, that particular bought of waiting never came to fruition, so I entered my book in the Swoon Reads YA Novel Contest, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.

And here I am, guys. Here I am. Two years later, I have not just a book deal, but a two book deal, an agent, and a book that will be in bookstores on February 7, 2017.

A well-meaning friend asked me if I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have a dream come true. The answer to that question is No.

No, I don’t feel that way. And not because this doesn’t feel wonderful. I assure you, it does.

But this wasn’t luck. I wrote a novel. Then I cut, reworked, revised and wrote it again. Then I had trusted beta readers rip it apart and I wrote it again. Then I went to a pitch conference, and decided to rewrite again. Then I saw the contest information for Swoon and I reread, edited, cut and rewrote once more before submitting.

After all of that, and some solid reviews and reader feedback, they chose me.

They didn’t do that by flipping a coin, or sticking all the manuscripts on a dartboard and firing off a shot or two. They read, they reread, they discussed them around a table, they drank a lot of coffee, and they narrowed down their choices. They’re in business. They wouldn’t have chosen my book if they didn’t consider it a solid option for sales potential.

And then they worked with me and I rewrote again. And again. And a little bit more after that.

It’s in the can now, but it wasn’t luck that got this thing to press. It was a lot of hard work – theirs and mine, and one big dream.

If you’ve got the dream, get to work. Or keep on working. Work it until somebody says “Yes, you’re right! This is a good book!”

And then bask in all of that as Facebook reminds you just how far you’ve come.

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