This morning I woke up to a pitch-black sky and a 20% chance of thunderstorms rattling the windows and pounding the roof. Ordinarily I would have groaned, thought of everything that needed doing outside after work and dragged myself out of bed anyway. But the room was cold, the bed was warm, and the yard is mowed. All of it. Every square foot of all 4.5 acres. For the first time in more years than I can remember. So I just snuggled in and listened to the storm play itself out.
I’ve had a few long strings of bad luck — broken bones, illnesses, surgeries, family deaths. I’m that one person in 300,000 who’s allergic to a particular medication — with the very allergy that the medication was designed to prevent. When I need a medicine of any kind, my docs start scrolling through their computers because my allergy list is doing a great imitation of Pinocchio’s nose.
BUT . . . years ago I blithely sent off my second manuscript, Within Reach, to Leslie Wainger, fully expecting her to buy it — and she did. She later told me it was one of fewer than ten new authors she’d bought that year out of more than 600 submissions. If I’d known how much the odds were against me, would I have sent it anyway? Knowing the fragile little ego I had back then, maybe not. Knowing how much I wanted to see my work published, probably so.
Odds can work with you or against you. But they only determine so much. Desire counts for a lot, too. Talent. Timing. Commitment. Dedication.
And luck. When Hallmark Hall of Fame optioned Season for Miracles back in the late ’90s, I can’t count how many people told me not to get my hopes up; fewer than 5% of books optioned for movies ever actually got made. Well, someone’s book was going to get made, I figured; why not mine? And it did.
And perseverance. There’s no guarantee in the publishing biz. The publisher who offers you big bucks this year might not want anything to do with you next year. You finish one contract, the next contract’s not a sure thing. But we persevere, because they’ve gotto buy somebody’s book. Why shouldn’t it be ours??