Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm a Loser Baby

I was lucky enough to win a copy of ‘Across the Universe’ by Beth Revis from the Operation Awesome contest last week and I have to say I’m SO stoked! 

You see, I’m not one of those people who usually wins at games of chance.  I never buy scratch tickets.  Because when I do, well… I never win. 

Or I win the exact amount I paid for the ticket back. 

Yeah.  Big woopdidoo.

No. In our family my husband definitely has the ‘winner’s touch’.    I’ve seen him walk into a casino, pull one slot machine lever, win 200 euros and then walk right back out.  He’s found fifty dollar bills while walking down the street.  Won 500 euros off a single scratch ticket.   He’s just got that magic touch.

I, however, do not.

That’s not to say I’m unlucky.  I’ve had luck in life, love, and everything that’s important.   But do I aspire to one day hit it big with the lottery and live out my life as a millionaire? 

Hells to the No.

People are constantly telling me ‘ you can’t win if you don’t play!’

And I respond- ‘Yeah, but I can’t lose either.’  I mean, really what it comes down to is- every time you buy a ticket and lose, you’re losing money!  And to be honest, I just know I’m not meant to win the frickin lottery. 

So when people compare breaking into the publishing business to winning the lottery, I can’t help but feel a little hopeless.  I can understand the analogy, really-  For every publishing house, there are hundreds of agents trying to kick the door in for their clients.  For every agent there are thousands of first time authors with a manuscript trying to get out of the slush pile. To make it from the bottom of the slush all the way to a book deal is pretty miraculous now a’days.  Yes, it has to do with talent.  But it also has to do with luck-  To write the right thing at the right time and get it into the right hands.

To be honest, when you’re looking at the situation from my standpoint, the whole thing looks pretty dire.  Luck doesn’t work for me that way, unfortunately.  Never has.    SO the only thing I can really rely on is my love of the craft, and persistence in what I do. 

The biggest difference is that when it comes to writing, I can’t lose.

 It’s something I love to do.  It’s at once a therapy, a form of entertainment, and that feeling of creating- of being productive that every human being needs.  Every time I write, I gain something. 

So basically, I’m playing a winning game no matter what. 

And I like those odds.

*CQG*

How about you?  Are you one of those ‘lucky’ people or are you a ‘loser’ like me?   How do you feel about the publishing business being compared to the lottery?

39 comments:

Vicki Rocho said...

I am most definitely one of those lucky people. I'm hoping the luck carries over into the publishing world once I finish my MS, but we'll see.

Organic Meatbag said...

I am the loseriest of losers, as you can tell by me making up words like "loseriest"... I mean seriously, you could flip a two-headed coin and I'll call tails and subsequently lose...I'm that much of a loser... misery loves company...

Angela Felsted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela Felsted said...

I don't play the lottery either. The odds just don't work for me. And thank goodness writing is therapeutic and is something I love so I don't have to base my entire success on whether or not I'm ever a published author.

Sarah said...

I think comparing breaking into the publishing industry to winning the lottery is not a good analogy, so I hope you don't let it get you down! Of course there's an element of luck, like with most things in life. BUT, in truth, the odds aren't equal across all people who play, not like with the lottery. Writing/publishing is far more merit based. Having said that, your attitude and purpose for writing do make it a guaranteed winning proposition!

Gina said...

Lady Luck pretty much laughs in my face. The most I've ever won on a scratchoff was $25.00, although I did win almost $300 on a slot machine... 7 years ago. It hasn't happened again since, though I did have something supposedly "rare" happen to me TWICE, and it wasn't a good thing. Bad luck is in my genes!

Lindsay said...

I don't play the lottery either.
The one thing I do think I'm lucky with is having a wonderful support group of CPs and the blogging community. That way I can keep learning and improve my odds for my writing. :)

Yay on you winning the Atu book :)

Summer Frey said...

I'm a big fat loser (so why don't you kill me?) My family has terrible luck, and not just in games of chance. Unfortunate timing, natural disasters--you name it.

I'm just going to choose not to look at the publishing industry as a battle of luck, and rather as a battle of talent + persistence = payoff. Otherwise, I'm screwed.

Angelina Rain said...

I’m pretty lucky when it comes to winning in games, but I’m somewhat a looser in life. Things rarely ever go my way.

Laura Pauling said...

I don't think it's quite as bad a lottery system. Though it feels it sometimes. Just being professional and researching your agents will your query a real look at. And then, it does take time to learn our craft and apply it the way we should. Luck or hard work? Not sure.

Anne said...

Hey, I've been trying to win across the universe without any luck. You've already got one up on me. :)

Justine Dell said...

I'm totally a loser. Bummer.

I don't think publishing is like the lottery, because random people win the lottery and talented people get published ... but it's close. The odds are the same. Worse, maybe. And since I'm a loser ... I'm screwed! LoL

~JD

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Some days I think the publishing industry is a lottery game. Only a few people can win and there are a tons of talented writers and great stories that never end up being published.

Some days I'm lucky, other days not so much. :D

Old Kitty said...

Awwww you're a winner!!!! Yes you are!!!

I think luck alongside timing plays a huge role in getting published - they're not the only things needed but they sure help!

Take care
x

Solvang Sherrie said...

My husband says I'm lucky. I guess I am a bit. But more than anything, I'm prepared and I try to jump on the good opportunities that come my way. It may look lucky, but there's more to it than that.

Congrats on winning ATU. SUCH A GOOD BOOK!!!

Áine Tierney said...

I always feel a twinge of annoyance when people compare getting published to being like winning the lottery - I think it just makes it seem so, so, hopeless. I like the positive message in this post, if we don't think like that we should give up already.

Candyland said...

You pretty much nailed it for me. I don't ever feel "lucky," so sometimes I don't even try.

Jen Daiker said...

I'm with you baby. I'm a loser! And I figure that's okay because there will be that one time it does pay off. I'll save money while the other loses. Not so bad.

I will say though, in pertaining to the writing world, luck doesn't come without a lot of hard work. That isn't true with all types of luck but in this industry it is just as much about hard work as it is luck. So keep that chin up and work it out!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I won $77 the first time I bought a ticket...since then: zip, zero, nada, zilch. So I guess my winning streak is over. :\ Got room in the Loser Baby Club?

Janet Johnson said...

I don't gamble, but I'm actually pretty lucky. But I'm with you . . . I write because I enjoy it and though I want to get published, I'll still be writing even if I never do. So I guess I win no matter what. :)

Maria McKenzie said...

Well said!

Talei said...

I can safely say number of times I've bought a lottery ticket is still in single digits. LOL. Though I've been very lucky with book contests recently. ;) Now, winning a publishing contract - that would indeed be.. the bees knees.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love you positive attitude!

I tend to win a fair amount of author contests. But when the prize is money, I never win. That's ok, I'll take free books! :)

Kindros said...

Not very lucky here, but persistence and some under-handed tactics bring victories my way. Sometimes you have to push and claw your way to the top. :)

New follower.

mshatch said...

oh, I have a much better chance of being published than ever winning the lottery.

Kelly said...

I remember when I was a teen never wanting my parents to win the lottery because I liked my life and didn't want it to change.
Even now I wouldn't want to win millions. Okay, I'd take a million, but that's it. :)
Even though this business is competitive, each writer can create her own luck by practice, education, and reading and writing more and more. So, you're good!

Ricky Bush said...

One of my favorite bluesmen sang..."You can't lose what you never had". He had a point, I think.

Hart Johnson said...

yeah, the statistician in me knows the additive odds of winning improve overall odds, and because the only cost is a little time... and frankly, once you have the query right... it is only the time of researching and personalizing the agents... I'm with you... persistence will pay.

My daughter has that lucky touch--does well in situations that theoretically are truly random... but this writerly thing is NOT random exactly. The more opportunities you create for yourself, the higher the odds something will stick.

Joy Tamsin David said...

Even when I win I'm a loser! I once won a $50 Amazon gift card from a blog contest and then the blogger never sent it. :(

Then there were two books I won in December from blogs that I haven't gotten either.

My motto is, unless it actually arrives in the mail, I haven't won it.

Colene Murphy said...

Sing it woman! Love it. I'm not a very lucky(lottery/winning wise) person either. And I hate hearing how it's like winning the lottery because all I think about is all the money I have lost in my life playing/scratching/gambling. So I just pretend it's more like being discovered. Oh wait! Talent is ALWAYS discovered, especially now a days. If you got it, you eventually get it! Maybe that is disgustingly optimistic though?

Dawn said...

Honestly, my luck - if I'm going to get any - comes in waves. But I love the lottery analogy! And the book you won rocks. Xo

Carolyn V. said...

I'm so not lucky! Which just means I have to work harder. =)

WritingNut said...

Ahha.. my mom always tells me that.. "you can't win if you don't play". :D

And you're right... you can't lose either, but I don't think that getting published should be left up to luck or chance... it's about the talent.. and you've definitely got it :)

Melissa said...

I love this. And I too love the odds of writing. We aren't losing, and that's the beauty of it.

Christopher said...

I won a free t-shirt at a bar once. That's the extent of my luck. My advice? Beat them over the head with greatness. Make them submit to your words. If you think what you're doing is perfect, chances it are it is. They'll have to listen.

Tamara Narayan said...

I think it's a fair analogy in terms of odds. I've been lucky in my past attempts at getting the career I've wanted, but getting published is in a whole 'nother ballpark. I'm trying to focus on what I can do--i.e. write a better book, keep querying, enter contests-- instead of the rejections. Finding that agent or publishing company that says "yes" is like finding a needle in one monster of a haystack.

Enjoy your prize book. It sounds wonderful.

Lisa Potts said...

I guess I'm pretty lucky when it comes to games of chance, but the analogy still depresses me if I think about it too hard.

Like you, I write because I love it. I've been doing it for a long while even though I've never found an agent and I assume that will continue even if I never do.

I've been paid for my flash fiction, and that's a wonderful feeling; better than I would have thought. Not for the payment (which was piddly), but because other people got to read my work. People I'd never met before and wasn't related to. : )

LTM said...

lately, I've been seeming to fall somewhere in the middle. But! you're right about writing. That we can control. And I can't wait to read ATU... it looks/sounds amazing~ :o) <3

Diana said...

I am an unlucky person too. I'm hoping that some hard work and talent will pay off one day, but I agree with your blog. We are very lucky to do what we do, published or not.

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