It all comes down to luck, right? You always hear about models who were discovered while standing in line at the bank, or while walking the mall. Musicians share a cab with a stranger who magically turns out to be A Big Name. Spec Fiction writers happen to strike up conversations with editors of spec fic anthologies. The stars align, right?
No. Negatory. I fall to my knees and scream every time that somebody says, “Oh, you’re so lucky!” to another person. What does luck have to do with it? Not much. (In fact, I wrote about my feelings on the matter in an earlier post. We make our own luck, yes?) But we can help our “luck’ along. We can be at the right place at the right time.
“Oh great,” you say, rolling your beautiful eyes. “Now we have to be psychic in order to get published?”
Well, that would help. You’d get your own TV show and then suddenly everybody would be clamoring for your first book. But what about the rest of us? What does “be at the right place at the right time” mean?
It translates into BE PREPARED. These opportunities are going to come to you, and what are you going to do with them? When the model was approached by the agent, did she demure and say, “But I’m hideous today. I don’t think I’ll come in, thanks.” How will the The Big Name know that you’re a musician if you sit side-by-side in silence? If you don’t tell that editor that you write spec fic, it’s never going to cross her mind that she should ask you to submit something to her anthology.
I’m not a brave girl. I’m actually quite reticent and I get very nervous outside of my comfort zone. But for three years running, my goal has been To Do Scary Things, and I’ve tried my best to adhere to that. When a one line pitch contest came up, I jumped onto it the second that I learned about it, literally. That’s how I met the judge who later became my agent. I joined my first forum and put myself out there. That’s how I became a member of the Shock Totem staff. I was encouraged by said staff to conduct author interviews, which terrified me more than I can say, but was a wonderful experience. Now I have there more interviews lined up with very cool, very exciting writers.
That’s where our “luck” comes from. It means seeing an opportunity and being brave enough to take it. If you’re unfamiliar with something, learn. Learn to do book reviews if somebody asks you. Always have a pitch ready. Work on your query letters. Be brave, and let yourself and your work shine. You deserve it.