The first book I ever wrote got published. What luck, right? Wrong. It wasn’t fate, it wasn’t good karma, and it wasn’t luck. Luck had very little, if anything, to do with my success. You know what did? Research, commitment and hard work. Anyone that tells you anything different is flat out foolin’ ya.
When I wrote my first book, Frozen Heart, I didn’t vomit out the first thing that came to mind and expect that to be a best seller – I did research. I read everything I could get my hands on about writing, I learned how to write a query letter and how not to write a query letter, I learned the fine details of genres and sub-genres, and even took classes on self-editing so my book (the one I’d yet to write) would be polished and ready. I looked up agents and publishers, learned who was looking for what books and utilized the amazing social media resources out there to find out from peers and professionals the do’s and don’ts of the industry.
Once I actually sat down to write the book, that’s where the commitment came in. Sure, there where nights I was tired. In fact, I recall one night when I fell asleep between each sentence I wrote, but I had a word count commitment and I was going to reach it! There were days I had to pass up a lunch invitation or watching my favorite show on television. Okay, to be perfectly honest I didn’t watch television for the entire three months I was writing, but you get the picture. I had to commit to getting that book written, because the only way a book gets written is with your butt in that chair and your fingers at that keyboard. I had to commit myself to my project. That was the only way it was going to get done.
And then came the hard work. You see, the initial stages of writing a book are fun. It’s all imagination and free thinking, you’re flying through scenes and dialog feeling great. The hard work isn’t in the writing, it’s in the editing. Ask any writer and they’ll tell you, the Devil’s loin cloth is made of the heartstrings of those who have killed their darlings and left them on the proverbial editing floor. I spent months pouring over every page and fine tuning what was there into something even better.
So, when the time came to submit my book to publishers, I was ready, I was prepared, I was fully equipped with everything except the expectation of a publishing contract, meaning I was completely blindsided by the offers I received. You see, for all of my preparation I still thought luck played a big part in success. But luck is for Leprechauns and the lazy, and I’m neither.