Sunday, January 19, 2014

Great Expectations

This starts as a story of a writer who put out a tonne of stuff in several genres in a short period of time and didn't achieve immediate success, so, she decided to pack it in and give up on her dream.

Here are the highlights:
  • 7 books released in 2 years
    • 3 self-published, 4 with a "publisher" of some kind, and 1 book owing
  • After 2-3 years she figured she would be successful. 
    • She is not so she is quitting. Not just quitting, but pulling her stuff off Amazon and buying back the rights to the books she no longer owns
  • Meanwhile, her spectacularly thrown hissy fit Facebook post was just littered with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. 

Returning to her page several days after she thew in the towel I see that some of her friends have talked her out of it and she's going to plow through. Good for her(?) Honestly, I'm not sure what to think. It seems like I've done more research for this blog post than she did in deciding to become a writer.

Image courtesy thaikrit at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

I took a look at her website and as far as I can tell this is a simple case of mismanaged expectations. Like the kids on American Idol who have been told by their parents that they're the next Kelly Clarkson, this author had J.K. Rowling expectations when five out of six books in her portfolio are: two children's picture books, two cook books, and a book of poems.

Now, I'm not sure what her definition of "success" is, but from what I've seen on her Facebook wall, it looks like recognition is pretty high up on the list. If that's the case, then I might suggest that poetry, children's picture books, and cookbooks might not be the quickest road to success. Certainly it's possible, but: poetry world is a niche market at best, and finicky as hell; children's picture books are the most saturated genre on the planet; and unless you're actually a trained in the culinary arts or are Susanne Somers it's going to be a long, slow road to success.

How a writer defines success is entirely up to them. How anyone defines success is entirely up to them. Personally, I've set modest goals with the intent of making them bigger and better as I move ahead with achieving each one. My expectations are set modestly and I have a good grasp on the reality of the situation. I understand that my goals may be just a little bit out of reach, but that's okay. I can't think of a single successful person (by any measure) that didn't push themselves a little further. I understand that if I keep doing what I'm doing then I'm going to keep getting what I get.

Most importantly, I understand it's going to take a bit of luck.

Image courtesy Michal Marcol at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Just to be clear, when I speak of luck this is the equation I have in mind:

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity 1

Also, 
  • You only get out what you put in
  • You  reap what you sow
  • You get what you deserve
  • Karma's a bitch

Okay, maybe that last one's a bit off topic but you get the idea (plus I love that particular expression). Someone mentioned to me the other day that they found me "inspiring". Even though I was truly flattered, I had to laugh because it just so happens that I'm the laziest person in the world. I'm an excellent example of how one can achieve success but only if you allow it to take four times longer than it should.

That being said, I have more than a few successes to speak of (a couple in writing even!), and I know exactly how much time and effort I've put into achieving each one. You want to know something? If you do the research, constantly keep your eyes scanning for opportunity, and make your way to Carnegie Hall (practice, practice, practice) you'll be successful. It's that simple.

Image created and owned by David Samuel

But wait! You say you scribbled a few things down and didn't achieve J.K. Rowling level success on the first try? Well then, you've got two choices: pack it in or keep trying, and if you choose the latter you had better not do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Not only will you continue to get what you get but you'll start to look a little crazy in the process.

~ Andrew


2 comments:

  1. LOL! :D -- that writer you're referring to reminds me of people I've encountered who seem to think of themselves as so wonderful that if they don't succeed on the first try it must be somebody else's fault. :-)

    On the math equation: I prefer the formula -->
    desire + talent + timely opportunity = success
    There's no such thing as luck. :P

    Oh, and on that last note, the horseshoes are supposed to be pointing up. Otherwise, all the luck runs out. :-) :P LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't find a picture on the site I use with horseshoes the other way up! Not sure if the license allows me to flip it or not either. Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks even more for commenting :)

      Delete

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