Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Luck of the Draw
Of course, first and foremost talent and professionalism play the biggest part in getting your work published. For the most part, if you're book is terrible it doesn't matter who you know, where you've been, or the mood of the intern reading through a slush pile, you're not going to get your big break.
That being said, if you've written the best book that has ever been written, have followed the publisher's guidelines to the T, crafted an amazing cover letter, and happen to be the second cousin once removed of the head of the mail department at Putnam...that doesn't guarantee publication either.
There really is a bit of luck needed to break in. So many factors come in to play with being published it's hard to pinpoint what you need to 'make it.' For me, an amazing editor at a newer publisher discovered my blog and when I submitted my book to said publisher she asked for it. And it was a rough, rough MS. But she believed in me as a person and saw the potential in my work. She was willing to work with me to craft my skill. She accepted my book and has been my editor for years. I've learned so much from her. My books get less and less 'rough' with every submission because she has taught me the tools I need to have to write clean the first time though.
This was complete and total luck. Sure, I like to think Sweet Dreams was a good book and that played a big part in getting a publisher. But if my editor hadn't known me from Eve, hadn't stumbled over my blog, I don't know that she would have been as willing to walk me through the editing chasm to get the MS where it needed to be.
Don't ever, ever give up though. Luck can strike at any moment. If you have the talent, the drive, the story and the nerve to keep going, it can happen for you. Just focus on telling the story you want to tell and when you're ready submit, submit, submit. You're bound to find that stroke of luck out there somewhere.