Make Your Own Luck

The Harder I work the Luckier I getAs we ring in the New Year, like so many others, my thoughts are on plans and goals for 2015. You know that old adage…the harder I work, the luckier I get. Just recently I shared with a writing pal that more and more I believe this is an industry where we must make our own luck. There are tons of writers out there. I find the amount of books published in the span of one year overwhelming, mainly because I want to read them all! Given that, how do we get our work noticed in the industry? As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in RoseAnn 2.0 mode. Meaning, while I have a published series, I have certain goals for the next phase of my writing career. First, I’d like to find a publisher for my new Young Adult work. Second, I’m looking for a publisher for my new Contemporary Romance work. Lastly, I’m looking for an Agent, someone who can represent both genres.

The biggest challenge is always getting your work in front of the right industry professionals. So, here are some thoughts I have on how we writers can make our own luck.

Contests

Our Femmes group has had a good run when it comes to contests. There’s a lot to be gained from entering contests. With so many out there, it can be hard to determine which one is right for you. Research the final round judges. If they are on your target list then a final placement guarantees they will have read your work.

Back in October I entered my new Young Adult into a few contests. That piece placed second in both contests, however it earned two full manuscript requests. So, while I didn’t win, those contests contributed to my 2015 goals.

The Cold Query

There is much to be gained from pitching at conferences. However, don’t discount the cold query. I’ve had a bit of success going this route in the past. It can be cumbersome, so you want to make sure you’re funneling your energy in the right direction, and putting your best food forward. Here is a bit of advice on the cold query process.

  • Do your research: Don’t waste your efforts or any industry professional’s time. Make sure those you query represent and/or are looking for what you write. RWA has a list of agents and what they represent. However, I have found the contest trail once again a great resource for this. Agents and editors who volunteer their time to contests usually judge a category of interest. Also, follow industry news. I get a lot of information on my twitter feed, and from my writer friends. When I come across someone I feel a good fit, I add them to my spreadsheet which includes their bio, what they represent, their query process, and any special notes or comments, such as…did I meet them at a conference, do they represent an author I admire, etc.? I track the progress of the queries in the spreadsheet as well. It’s good to have all this information in one place so when I decide it’s time to start the process I don’t feel unprepared.
  • Write a great query letter: I realize that sounds rather obvious. There are a lot of resources on the web when it comes to writing a solid query letter. In researching agents you will find many of them have examples of what they consider good query letters on their websites. I come across blogs written by agents on writing good query letters. The thing to keep in mind about a query, similar to a pitch at a conference, is that the Agent or Editor wants you to succeed. They want you to have the story they are looking for.
  • Personalize it: The best piece of advice I can give on writing a query letter, beyond including your GMC and ending in the story summary, is to personalize each letter. Make sure an agent knows why you have selected him or her out of the vast sea. Why do you think they are the right person to represent your work and career? Always make sure to include any professional publishing credits, organizations you belong to, where you can be found on the web, and a short bio. Always thank them for their time.

Keep Writing

It sounds simple. We’ve heard it a million times, but keep writing. Just because you’ve had some requests and/or you have material out there, that does not mean it’s time to take a ciesta. Unless you’re feeling burned out. If that is the case, some time off might be exactly what you need to recharge your batteries. You never know what opportunities might present themselves down the road. When they do, you’re going to want to be ready with plenty of material.

So, what are your writing goals for 2015? How have you made your own luck? I’d love to hear your stories!

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20 Comments

  1. Great advice RoseAnn. I do believe in “making my own luck” by working harder. I wish the femmes and all our friends a great 2015!

    Reply
  2. Deepak Chopra says luck is preparedness meeting opportunity. It sounds to me like you are well prepared and have thought out your path. Here’s to the opportunity. *raising my coffee mug* Wishing you all a happy and successful 2015!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 6, 2015

      Hi Robena. Thanks for stopping by. Much success to you as well.

      Reply
  3. Great post, RoseAnn! And very good advice on the querying process. Research is one of the main keys to preparedness, but it’s a skill that takes time – as if we have time to hone more skills! It sounds like you’ve got it down though! Best of luck with everything in 2015!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 6, 2015

      Thanks, Gretchen. I figure the more doors you knock on, everyone someone is bound to answer. Best wishes to you in 2015 as well. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Great post, RoseAnn! You seem very organized and prepared for the year. I think this will be the year for you to take off!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 6, 2015

      Hi Nicci. From your lips to God’s ears. I’m enjoying the process recently. I wasn’t for a while. Here’s to a good year for all! 🙂

      Reply
      • That’s interesting, RoseAnn. I’ve been getting into promo lately. Which staggers my mind. I wonder if it’s the planets aligning well for 2015? It feels like a good year. The energy feels so positive and strong, I’ve been seeing it in writers’ blogs and newsletters, there’s a sense of excitement.

        In many ways, you are my role model, RoseAnn, so please keep posting about your journey.

        XXOO

        Nicci

      • RoseAnn DeFranco

         /  January 6, 2015

        Blushing, Nicci. Thanks so much for your friendship. I love the community of writers. We are all part of one another’s journeys.

  5. Great post, RoseAnn and Happy New Year to all our followers! I’m going to be sharing more about my 2015 writing goals in next week’s post but I will say you have a lot on your plate and a very aggressive outlook for 2015. And I think you’re positioned well to achieve it! Best of luck, my friend!!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 6, 2015

      Hi, Maria. I can’t wait to read about your goals. Thanks for the positive mojo. 🙂

      Reply
  6. JB Schroeder

     /  January 6, 2015

    So funny, RoseAnn, that I never heard (exactly) this old adage! Silly me! So true. My goal for 2015, of course, is to get my books up for sale, as professional as can be, the indie way. Which is way bigger than it sounds as I need a website, editing, formatting, and oh-so-muhc-to-learn. I won’t be slacking off writing new stuff either. It’s overwhelming, so I just keep thinking, okay, one foot in front of the other. Huge luck to you to go along with your goals!!!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 6, 2015

      You have a LOT on your plate, my friend. I will be watching your progress closely, and cheering you on. You are a trail blazer for many of us who have thoughts of taking the Indie path but are too afraid to try. Wishing you luck as well. You’re organized and capable. You can do it! 🙂

      Reply
  7. You are so right. There’s no such thing as luck! Great post, RA.

    Reply
  8. Spot on, but typing (my fingers to the bone) with my shoulder to the wheel and my nose to the grindstone, I may need to take up yoga next…

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 8, 2015

      You and me both! Keep working at it. There’s a four leaf clover at the end of that manuscript! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  January 11, 2015

    I always felt that I made things happen for myself. Not sure if that’s making my own luck, but I do believe that if you put yourself out there, and you do it in a positive and caring manner, the good karma comes back at you. Sometimes, I just need to give myself a kick in the butt (or get one of you gals to do it for me)!

    Thanks for the reminder, RoseAnn!

    Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  January 12, 2015

      Hi Jaye. As a child I was very shy, afraid to put myself out there for fear of being rejected. At the time one of my parents told me I couldn’t wait for life to happen, I had to get out there and make it happen for myself. I started auditioning for shows then and it became a turning point in my life. Love the reminder of Law of Attraction here. Thank you!

      Reply

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