Talent + Persistence + Luck = Success

I think the title speaks for itself: success in publishing comes from talent, persistence, and luck. It’s important to note you can only control the first two of these things – but sometimes we get lucky. This past week-and-change was lucky for me, but also indicative of my persistence… and, one hopes, my talent.

Before you read on, please click here to vote for me. More on this in a second.


On February 28th pure luck struck when, out of 1300 rumored entries, my pitch for The Goddess Candidate was randomly drawn as one of the 25 pitches to receive feedback from @TheBookDoctors on their live webcast of Pitchapalooza (you can see them read and critique my pitch starting at 1:31:37 of the video here). And the news was good: these professionals had basically only one line of advice for improvement. According to them, “It’s just a really professional pitch.”

In addition, I’m now in their “fan favorite” running for a $250 book consultation. Please consider voting for me here (clicking my name will let you read my pitch, too). I’m in a close second place, and that part comes from good friends and good efforts, not just luck!


A few days after Pitchapalooza, the Pitch Madness draft went live on Twitter. There were over 1300 entries, and only 60 could go on to get mentored for the agent round. This was my second year entering, this time with The Goddess Candidate rather than with The Tower With No Walls. When the 60 picks went live and I wasn’t one of them, I left the house for some consolation wine.

When I got back, I found out that the #PitchMadness feed had posted a secret bonus round – and I was one of the ten picks.

That’s right: I have a week of mentoring and editing to get through, and then I’m going to go before a panel of agents and see if any of them want my work. My book’s first page and 35-word pitch was just good enough to sneak into the contest. After eight rounds of edits on Tower, it looks like my talents might have blossomed in Goddess.

Pitch Madness is an incredible surprise and opportunity, and I only hope I’m up to the task!


While the above events could count doubly as persistence – I can’t even count how many contests I’ve entered before this, not to mention the eight rounds of edits I suffered for the as-yet-unsuccessful Tower – I wanted to go into persistence in its other avenues. While contests and editing take persistence, they are also things we can do at home. They are convenient to us. But to actually leave your house and do something that expresses your belief in your future as an author is another kind of persistence altogether.

In the spirit of this belief, I attended the Chicago Writer’s Conference two years back, and I’m also attending the Michigan Writer’s Workshop this year, on March 25th. Then last week, I received an email at midnight requesting car rides to and from the airport for conference presenters. Agents, editors, industry professionals… they were all stranded at an airport only 25 minutes away from my house. 

I volunteered on the spot and nabbed three rides total with at least three presenters, once of which was the one fantasy agent I didn’t sign up to pitch to, because she got added late. Trust me, that thirty bucks in gas is going to pay for itself a hundredfold, if for nothing else than putting my face to a name in in their minds.

But without persistence, without believing in my future, I would have never spent hundreds of much-needed dollars on something so “frivolous” as a conference.


So there you have it: a week-and-a-half filled with small successes, all because of talent, persistence, and luck. It’s always important to remember you can’t control the luck part – the timing, the subjectivity, the random chance – but stay aware that persistence and talent can lead somewhere too. Keep moving forward on your goals, and keep honing your skills. That way, when Luck makes her move, you’ll be best prepared to make your dreams happen.

Note: Again, I repeat, I’m now in the “fan favorite” running of Pitchapalooza for a $250 book consultation. Please consider voting for me here to help me succeed (or passing the link on to others, if you’re so inclined). Thank you for reading!

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