Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family)
Saturday night, my hubby and I played Spades with a few friends. For those of you who are not familiar, here are the basics. Spades is a card game where you bid how many books (books always consist of four cards each) you have in your hand before you start playing the game. Usually when you play with a partner, the number of books you bid depends on how many books each of you feel you can contribute to the bid. You usually play with four people and only 13 books can be made. In a deck of 52 cards, the cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest. (A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2) Spades have the most power. They can cut a diamond, club, or heart (and sometimes even themselves). The order of the spades as far as their strength is Big Joker, Little Joker, Deuce (meaning two) of Diamonds, Deuce of Spades, Ace of Spades, King of Spades, Queen, Jack, 10 through 3 of spades. There is more to the game, but you get the point J
Anyway, my hubby and I bid 8 books between us and won those books. For that entire game, any books we bid, we won. All in all, we kicked their butts LOL. Our luck however did not last. When the next game came around we got our butts kicked! The winning and losing went back and forth. Thrust and Parry. Thrust and Parry. I’m sure you have figured out how spirited this game can be. My hubby and I won 2 games and our competitors won 2 games. We played one more game and won, thereby breaking the tie. We had a great time.
During the game, a thought crossed my mind. When you are trying to publish a book, and you receive that coveted phone call. Did you get the call because your work appeared on a publisher’s or agent’s desk just at the right time? Or was your work so exceptional that they could not help but reach out to you? Was it luck that got you that call or skill?
I’ve read a number of author’s testimonies where they’ve said things like:
“My book came across the publisher’s desk at a time when my particular choice of genre was starting to become very popular.”
“The literary agent told me that my book was well written but unfortunately, they could not find the right market to publish it in.”
“I was surprised by my rejection letter. The agent actually took the time to tell me that although she could not represent me at this time, I should continue to push forward; that I just might find an agent that’s a good fit!”
These days’ publishers and literary agents are so demanding that I really believe its 95% skill and 5% luck that get you published. There is a certain level of presentation that they expect to see and it all begins with the query letter. Depending on the genre you are pursuing, your query letter should not only summarize your book in the shortest, most interesting way possible, but it should also flow in a way that will leave them chomping at the bit, ready to read more.
But sometimes, even the query letter is not enough. The publisher or agent may ask for the first 3 chapters of your work and decide that something is missing. Perhaps the characters need more work or the location of your story is unclear or you were foolish enough not to have your work professionally edited. Writer ‘A’ and ‘B’ both have a good chance of being published, but writer ‘B’ just didn’t dot that ‘I’ or cross that ‘T’.
Issues with publishing can even become a problem after you receive representation. Perhaps your literary agent or publisher is no longer a good fit. The momentum that you both started at the beginning has dwindled. You no longer share the same interest in your book. Your agent or publisher has not marketed your book to your liking and now you are back where you started, trying to find someone new without burning bridges.
Regardless, publishing as you well know can be a stressful, time consuming, rewarding experience. And whether you are considered due to the luck of the draw or a talent that cannot be denied, getting your foot through that hypothetical or literal ‘door’ is a blessing indeed.
Continued luck fam! LOL!
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment. J