March 5, 2014 by Renee
Today I’m going to be a little philosophical. Don’t panic. The universe is still intact. Sometimes I like to be all spiritual and shit, but it passes quickly and life will return to normal when I’m done.
So, success in publishing requires three things:
- Good Karma
Oh now you’re all pissed, right? I lured you in here with promises of secrets and then I hand you a line of bullshit. But wait, I’m totally serious. I was just going to talk about my series of novels (For the Love of Gods), and how things like fate and luck are major themes, as is Karma. Why? Because I’m fascinated by all of it. The possibility of forces greater than ourselves is intriguing. But blaming these forces for all your bad days, or giving them credit when good things happen baffles me.
And that’s when the brilliant Lauren Stone suggested I write about how these three things are the key to publishing success. So here we are.
When bad things happen, we talk a lot about our bad luck, or we curse Karma and wonder what we did in a past life to deserve these shitty happenings. Maybe some of us know exactly what we did. And then when good things happen, we’re all like “Oh my God, it was Fate.” I’ve done it too, but I know my choices and my reactions to people and events are what bring good and bad into my life.
But Renee, you say, that’s Karma. You’re right, Karma is based on actions and requires you put goodness out into the world to receive goodness in return. And luck is random and elusive, and it can happen to even the shittiest soul. Fate, on the other hand, is predetermined by a greater force. It’s inevitable. Nothing you can do about it.
Fate is an excuse. It is changeable, and while I believe we all have a predetermined road we must travel in life, this road forks in many directions. Whether we walk straight to the end, or take a detour down one of these side roads is up to us. A major factor in your destiny is what you put out into the world will come back to you. Good or bad, it all changes your Fate.
So, how does this all relate to publishing success?
You have inside you a need or a passion for writing. Let’s call that Fate. You have a creative mind that urges you to write down what’s rolling around in there. Whether you choose to accept this fate or not is up to you. Let’s say you have. Wonderful.
Maybe you meet a few writer friends, or someone tells you about a writing group or publisher looking for what you’ve got. Okay, so your new friends help you navigate the publishing waters initially. As you grow as a writer, and time passes, maybe these friends become the core of your support system or your network. You can’t imagine how you would’ve managed this roller coaster without them. That, my friend, is luck. It’s not Fate, because these people travel different paths, and could’ve made any number of choices that would’ve led them to different people. It’s luck (as in a random series of events and decisions) that you all chose the paths that led you to each other. Luck brought them to you, but you determine how you benefit from their presence.
Let’s say you cultivate these friendships. You’re there for them, they’re there for you. It’s all happy and wonderful and all that good shit. As you’re doing this, you also work hard to learn what you need to know to write well, instead of just vomiting a pile of crap onto the page. You persevere despite rejections and momentary lapses into hopeless desperation. Then one day, you either sign with a publisher (if this is your goal) or you publish something yourself.
And it sells. And readers like it. And you start getting the feels for the whole process and everyone in it. You know the ride isn’t going to stay high like that, but the morsels of success keep you going because it’s so amazing when it happens, you’re determined to see a repeat performance. So you write another book and another. It doesn’t get easier, but you’re seeing results. That’s Karma. You’ve worked hard, and you’ve helped others, and now Karma is saying, “Shit, girl, you deserve some rewards.” *sprinkles magic reward dust*
In other words; Your success in publishing is all up to YOU.