So a Blonde Walks Into a Bar…

Thanks for all the well wishes this week. Yes, VERY eventful week for me, all right. Contract is signed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow morning.

But along with the e-mails from excited friends, I’ve gotten a few from friends and strangers alike (from various groups to which I belong) searching for the secret. What did I do? How did I do it? What’s the magic bullet that led to my sale?

Good damned question. I really have no idea. Well, I should say I thought I had no idea, but then I thought about it a second longer and realize it’s something I’ve known all along. Yes, I am about the share the secret to selling. How to get your book published. I should reserve the secret and charge people for it, right? Thing is, it’s not an answer you don’t already know, and it’s so simple it comes down to one word. Ready for it?

Persistence.

Yup. That’s it.

It makes me think back to about a year ago. I’d just spent the better part of two years beating my head against the wall trying to make a mystery work with three kids and a full-time job, which for me, ain’t happening. We were getting ready for the school year to start when my boss asked me one day how the writing was coming.  To answer her, I told her a joke I’d heard recently. I heard it as a blonde joke, but you can fill in anything you want.

A woman is left by her husband, penniless, with five children. She has no money, no job, and very limited resources. She figures the only way she’ll survive and keep her kids fed is if she wins the lottery. She prays and prays to God that she win the lottery, but week after week she is left disapointed.

Finally down to her last dime, she lifts her face to the sky and says, “God, I have prayed for you to let me win the lottery so I can feed my children. They are starving, have no good clothes, and we’re just about to lose our home. Why won’t you answer my prayers, Lord, and let me win the lottery?”

Down from the heavens booms God’s voice, saying, “You have to buy a ticket!”

When I told my boss this joke, I also told her that at that point, I didn’t have anything out there for anyone to publish. I hadn’t bought a ticket.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that in the end of May I took a gamble and bought a ticket, sending Let’s Dish to Samhain Publishing. They didn’t buy that first try, but wanted some revisions. So I made those revisions and sent it back. Another ticket. That one was a winner, and three days after I’d sent the editor my revisions, Let’s Dish was offered a contract. After five years of playing the lottery, I finally bought the right ticket.

Now it occurs to me that this little metaphore of mine can be taken wrong. I don’t actually mean play the lottery, but I really think you just have to keep playing the publishing game. Not that I know anything about it, because I am as clueless as the next person. But I kept writing and I kept submitting, and eventually it seemed to pay off.

Just keep swimming, as Dory would say. Keep buying those tickets. Sooner or later, it pays off.

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