Making It In the Writing World

This past March, I celebrated the second anniversary of my first book being published. It’s not the first thing I had published, but it was my first full-length book and the ‘big deal’ that kicked off my career as a published writer. Of course, I use the word career in the literal sense, because I’m by no means making a living off it, which is an entirely different thing.

In those two-plus years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned things I never thought about before I got published. I’m still learning, trust me. I don’t think there’s an end to this education, no matter how many books you publish or how long you’ve been around–that’s largely because the industry is always changing. Not even the biggest, most bestselling authors you’ve ever heard of can just sit back and dust their hands off because they’ve learned everything there is to know.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the things I’ve learned, give you some advice, and no matter where you are on your publishing journey, maybe you can take some wisdom from it.

Here’s some of the things I’ve done/learned since I’ve gotten published:

DIVERSIFY

My Siren Song series is published with Kensington Books’ Lyrical line, which is by far my biggest publisher, but it’s not my only publisher. Kensington isn’t one of the Big Five (which used to be the Big Six), but it’s the largest and oldest independent publishing house in the US and definitely considered a prestigious New York publishing house. I make more money off my books published with them than all my other publishers combined. This is, of course, because they are a big publishing house and therefore their publicity and promotion efforts are huge, they have a vast reader base built in, and they have high visibility. I should want to publish all my stuff with them, right?

Except, I decided early in my career that I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. I’m also published with five other, smaller publishing houses. Those being Tirgearr, Muse It UP, Siren-Bookstrand, House of Erotica, and most recently, Evernight Publishing. There’s three key reasons why I would diversify like this:

One is that it keeps my options open. If I write something and one publishing house rejects it, I have other publishers I can send it to. Also, I might want to write something that doesn’t fit in a certain publisher’s catalog. That’s all right. I have other options. Also, once you’re an in-house author it’s much easier to get other works accepted by them.

Two is that it increases my luck. I wrote a post about the role of luck in author success a few weeks ago, in which I discussed ways to get ‘closer’ to luck. One of those ways is to get yourself into as many circles as you can so luck has a higher chance of finding you. Being involved with different publishing houses expands my chances of running into the right person or big break that I need. Maybe I’ll catch the eye of a huge reviewer who likes to read things from one particular publishing house, or I’ll come across an industry professional who can promote my career. It’s always good to try to meet and mingle with as many opportunities as you can.

Three is for the simple fact that I want to test the waters. Not all publishing houses are created equal. Some have a huge base of readers who might love your book, some are very involved in your promotion and some aren’t, and they all treat you a little differently, give you different levels of editing and creative and practical support, and have a unique brand that appeals to different audiences. Myself, I want to try as many flavors as I can at the buffet and then decide which ones I like best. If a publisher doesn’t work out for me, I simply won’t submit anything to them in the future.

LEARN TO PLAY THE GAME

Make no doubt about it, at the end of the day, publishing is a business. That means if you want to be part of the publishing world, you have to treat it like a business. Be professional, follow the rules, and always put your best face forward. You might not agree with the processes you run into, but they’re in place for a reason and bucking the system won’t get you far.

I’m constantly dismayed at new writers who think they’re going to ignore guidelines, do want they want, and still be so awesome and special they get a publishing contract. I blame this on the fact that in all industries, we tend to focus on the ‘trail blazers’ and people who ‘didn’t follow the rules’ and still became successful. The thing is, once again, these people ran into some luck. They also aren’t telling you about all the times their deviant behavior didn’t work out for them or set them back. Also, even ‘innovators’ followed the rules to a certain extent, they just found new, unique, and more creative ways to do things that made sense.

There is a game you have to play in publishing, and that’s figuring out where and when you can jump in the mix and have it work out for you. I can’t fully explain it, but after you’ve done it for a while you’ll start to recognize it and you’ll develop a knack for it. You’ll start to see opportunities and know how to do the backflips and cartwheels that will land you in the right spot. You’ll figure out how to work things to your advantage, where you have the best shot at succeeding, and the right things to say to get the appropriate attention.

But remember, it’s still a business, and you need to be a business person.

NETWORKING

No writer is an island, and you don’t want to get stranded on one, either. You have to make connections in the publishing world, even if only superficial and strictly business. This opens up doors you didn’t have the keys to previously.

Let’s be clear on this, though: you need to have realistic expectations about networking. Telling a publisher “I’m friends will Big Time Author,” will never get you a publishing contract on its own. Even if Big Time Author gives you a glowing recommendation, that’s not an automatic in. Publishers will judge your work based on the merits of your writing alone, and decide if they want you on their team. Even if JK Rowling descends from Heaven with your manuscript clutched to her breast and delivers it directly into the publisher’s hands, this will still not get you a publishing contract if your writing isn’t up to snuff.

However, Big Time Author might give you a guest spot on their blog, or a shoutout in their newsletter, or recommend your books to their readers. That’s something.

There ARE people who can help you get published though, people who have actually had their hands on your manuscript–an editor you worked with before, an agent who found your work appealing but couldn’t represent you for various reasons. These are the sort of people you want to get a rapport with too. Networking is part of playing the game.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned in the past two-ish years. There’s a lot more, of course. Maybe this advice will be helpful to you. Have you learned some things you’d like to share?

Prizes!

Just a heads up: The Romance Reviews’ Sizzling Summer Reads party starts today! There’s SO many prizes to win this month, including books and gift cards.

Today on the very first day, my book Black Mountain Magic is featured and I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. So stop on by and play some games and win some prizes!

Hearthstone Alpha by A.C. Melody

Today I’m hosting A.C. Melody and her paranormal erotic romance, Hearthstone Alpha. A.C. is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


All Reyna Daniels wants is to secure her return home to Minneapolis. The last thing she needs is to find her world completely inundated by the magnetizing, hostile Corbyn Bruschard and his group of male-model friends.

Corbyn’s not ashamed at being everywhere, since it’s his territory, and he’s certainly not going to apologize for trying to keep Reyna safe. Especially when she’s his mate.

With all signs pointing to an old enemy’s return, Reyna’s going to have to suck it up and face her ancient Norse heritage fast. That doesn’t mean she has to accept being mated to an Alpha who threatens all of her hard-earned independence.


EXCERPT:

His silvery eyes roamed her freely now, rather than trying to penetrate into her bones.

“Won’t that leave Serena and Justin alone?”

“No,” he answered, leveling her with a stubborn stare. “You’re not going to win this argument, Reyna. There is no way in hell we’re leaving anything to chance, not with those who matter most to us. Now, get over here.”

Reyna scoffed. As if!

“Please,” he added gently.

It took Reyna about ten seconds to reluctantly scoot across the bench seat, still leaving a good arms length between them, because it appeared he wasn’t going anywhere until she did. If he thought she was done with her side of their little compromising barter, though, he was in for a big surprise! She inhaled sharply, when Corbyn hooked his arm around her waist, lifted her, and set her down across his lap. Her feet faced the passenger door, her back cradled in the crook of his left arm still clutching the steering wheel.

Desire unraveled in her veins, starting in her toes and working all of the way up to the roots of her hair. Every inch of her was once again hyper-aware of every inch of him, and she fought hard to keep her composure intact.

“Do you really think distance keeps you safe, falleg?” he asked softly, brushing her ponytail out from between the back of her head and his shoulder.

Fawk…what? “Did you just call me fugly?” she snapped.

“Not even close,” he replied. “Answer the question, Reyna. I’m onto your evasion tactics.”

Well, aren’t we clever?


BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072JK5M8V/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hearthstone-alpha-ac-melody/1126488989


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.C. Melody lives in Washington State, is the proud mom of two amazing sons – okay, so they’re typical boys and always keep her on her toes! Stemming from a family of artists and musicians, she thrives in all things creative and would call a day without her MP3 player and coffee a day of reckoning. When she’s not writing, reading, drawing or cheering on the sidelines at football games, A.C. Also enjoys gardening, which has honed her ability to dodge raindrops into an enviable skill.

A.C. Melody loves interacting with her fans and fellow authors. She can be reached at a_c_melody@outlook.com or on any of the following media sites:

Twitter: @AuthorACMelody
Facebook: A.C. Melody
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9835277.A_C_Melody
Blog: https://acmelodyblog.wordpress.com/
about.me: https://about.me/a.c.melody

 

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

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Memorial Day

Today here in the U.S. it’s Memorial Day, a day that we memorialize those who have lost their lives serving in our armed forces. It’s also the unofficial-official first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. A lot of people have the day off–sadly, I do not!–so if you’re grilling, swimming, or just chilling, have a great day! And if you’ve lost a loved one in the service of our country, may you find comfort and may they rest in peace.

Cat Loaf 101

Today I’m taking a break from talking about writing to share a very important topic: the cat loaf.

My cat loafs a lot. By that I don’t mean she loafs around (though she does that too), but that she is a master of the time-honored cat skill of loafing, wherein the feline tucks their appendages underneath them while lying down, so they look like a loaf of bread.

Buttery, flaky goodness.

If your cat needs lessons on loafing, my cat Francis is here to provide some tips**:

  1. A fat butt makes a better loaf. Eat lots and get chubby. No one likes a flat loaf. If your human won’t feed you enough, yowl and meow all through the night, it will change their mind and get them to do your bidding.
  2. Remember to tuck the tail, too. Loaves of bread don’t have tails!
  3. Glower condescendingly at your human. Taking more damn pictures of you to put on the internet.
  4. Get creative. Loafing doesn’t have to happen in just one place. Try the floor, the couch, the bed, your human’s face, etc… Bonus points if you loaf on an uneven or precarious surface and make your human frown and worry.
  5. Keep your ears perked and stay alert. People like to sneak up on delicious baked goods. Don’t become a sandwich.
  6. If anyone tries to pet you while you’re loafing, act highly offended. It takes a lot of concentration to make a proper loaf and you don’t need distractions.

(**If you think her face looks weird in this picture, it’s because she’s had a dilated left pupil since birth. She closes her eye in direct light to protect it.)

Get loafing! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Fetishizing The Process

I haunt a few writer’s groups/forums online. Most of them are populated with people around my own skill/experience level, that is, people who have been in the writing game for a while and have a few things published. One of them, however, seems to be largely populated by newer writers–ones who are just starting out, or who haven’t been published yet or haven’t been at it very long. The contrast between these two types of groups is glaring.

I once saw someone coin a brilliant phrase which has stuck with me for years, though I can’t for the life of me remember where I read it. The phrase is “fetishizing the process.” This means focusing on the superficial aspects of something rather than the technical skills involved. I’m talking about wanting a picture for your Instagram of your neatly-organized desk, as you sit behind it with your scholarly glasses on, gazing out the window at a serene landscape, a bookshelf behind you (full of other people’s books), or the person who takes pictures of their expensive Macbook in a coffee shop or on the beach with an open (empty) Word document on the screen. That’s all well and good, and you might do this from time to time, but it actually has nothing to do with writing. It doesn’t matter what you write with, if it’s a paper notebook, an electronic tablet, or a laptop with some complex writing software, you can write anywhere and on anything and still be a writer.

Look how organized and perfect he is! I bet he’s writing 2,000 words right now!

We never see pictures of writers hunched over their laptops, hair wild, in their pajamas, with a quickly-cooling cup of coffee next to them; or with a pet in their lap as they write, or screeching children dancing around them. No pictures of a writer tucked in a corner, desperately trying to escape these things in order to get a few words down. No action shots of a writer trying to find a clean spot on their desk to jot a few notes while they type. And unless you live next to the beach or in some exotic vacation-type spot, most writers will tell you those are awful places to try to write, because you’re distracted by the scenery and the knowledge you could be out there having fun instead of writing.

Here’s a few things I’ve noticed new writers tend to ask on the less-experienced forum. If you’re a new writer, take heed, this may ease your anxieties a bit:

  • How many words do I need to write a day to be a writer? Stephen King says he writes 2,000 words a day! Should I write that many? Is 1,000 okay? What if I write a lot more? Or less? Here’s the truth: some days you might write a lot, and some days you might write absolutely zilch. You’re still a writer. There’s no magic number. Writers just write and set their own goals.
  • How many books about writing should I read? Should I read Stephen King’s On Writing? Is that a prerequisite? What are the best books about writing? While it’s all well and good to learn about your craft and take the advice of others, don’t procrastinate on your actual writing by reading about writing. It’s easy to get caught up in learning instead of doing. By all means, read and learn things, but again, writers write. By the way, I love Stephen King and I’ve been writing for years, and I’ve never read On Writing.
  • How soon after my first book is published can I quit my day job? Can I buy my dream house after a year? Hahahahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  • Do I really need to be good at spelling and grammar? You might think I’m joking, but I’m stunned at how many new writers don’t put a lot of weight on having a strong grasp of grammar and spelling. True enough, if you’re a brilliant writer otherwise an agent or editor might overlook it, but almost probably not. Some agents and editors won’t even read past the first page of something that’s riddled with errors, even if your pitch is amazing. Yes, you have to have a firm grasp of, if not VERY good grammar and spelling skills. Agents and editors don’t have time to teach you.
  • Should I get a Macbook? Yes. No writer has ever been published without the aid of computer that costs at least a thousand dollars. Sorry.

The truth is, writing isn’t always pretty. It’s easy to get caught up in having everything ‘perfect’ when you begin writing, but it’s not necessary. You don’t need a stack of books about writing, or Scrivener, or the exact right kind of coffee. Say it with me, kids–print it out and stick it on the wall, tattoo it on your forehead:

WRITERS WRITE.

A Stranger She Can Trust by Regan Black

Today I’m hosting Regan Black and her romantic suspense, A Stranger She Can Trust. Regan is giving away a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! Regan is also here today to talk to us about the characters in her story!

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card

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REGAN BLACK’S CHARACTERS IN A STRANGER SHE CAN TRUST

Thanks for hosting me today, Megan, and helping me celebrate the release of A Stranger She Can Trust. I’m excited to share a few more details about the lead characters in this story.

These two characters challenged me by expressing several of their own issues and opinions along the way, but ultimately, they became two of my favorite people – I mean, characters. (I can tell the difference between fiction and real life, I just don’t always want to).

Carson Lane is a paramedic with the Philadelphia Fire Department. He is currently recuperating from a dreadful loss – his partner on the ambulance rig was murdered during a call several months ago. She was his best friend as well as his co-worker and though he tried, he couldn’t save her as they had saved so many other people.

Although the experts claim Carson is physically able to return to work, he’s afraid of committing to another partner. He’s not sure he can survive getting attached to someone new and discovering again that he can’t save in a critical moment when they need him most. So Carson has been filling in as a sub on the paramedic teams around the city and spending the balance of his free time working in the kitchen of the Escape Club.

Melissa Baxter is relatively new to Philly. In fact she relocated only a year ago when she landed her dream job as a conservator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As the daughter of two acclaimed archeologists, she is a serious antiquities and history buff and on a rising track within her field.

Unfortunately, Melissa doesn’t know who she is or why she’s at the Escape Club when she first meets Carson, her memories locked away due to traumatic amnesia.

One of the most intriguing parts of writing this story was the way these two characters learned to trust themselves and each other. They both have so much to overcome in regards to loss and grief, yet they both recognize something in the other that makes taking a chance on friendship and eventually on love worth the risk.

Live the adventure!
Regan


Outside a busy Philadelphia nightclub, a woman stumbles from her taxi. Beaten and bruised, she is an amnesiac who must rely on a handsome stranger to help her uncover her identity. Carson Lane—a paramedic with his own dark history—can’t help but bring this beautiful, vulnerable woman under his wing. As they begin unraveling who she really is, he realizes falling in love could be the biggest risk of all.


EXCERPT:

“Carson!”

He wheeled around to find Grant Sullivan, owner of the Escape Club, leaning into the kitchen doorway. “Sir?”

“I need a word.” He tipped his head toward his office. “Come on back.”

“Sure thing.” Carson untied the apron and left it on a hook by the kitchen door, then followed Grant down the hall. The man’s stocky build and easygoing outlook belied his quickness and boundless energy. At his boss’s gesture, he eased into one of the two chairs facing the desk. The office was quiet, only the dull throb of the band’s bass carrying through the floors.

“How did things go today?” Grant’s brown eyes were bright with anticipation. “On your PFD shift, I mean.”

“Smooth and normal shift,” Carson replied, hoping his relief at the easy question wasn’t too obvious.

Grant nodded, his thick salt-and-pepper eyebrows dipping low with his frown. “And the knee is holding up?”

“Yes.” Carson forced a smile. “Feeling stronger every day.” It was a small fib. The bullet had passed through his thigh, just above his knee, causing all kinds of damage to muscles and connective tissue along the way. He’d resumed walking three weeks after the surgery, but the pain had leveled out around week eight. Contrary to the physical therapy consensus, the motions never got easier.

“I got a call from Evelyn today. She’d like to get you back on the schedule full-time.”

“She said as much to me,” Carson admitted.

“So, why do you keep hanging around here?”


BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Trust-Escape-Club-Heroes-ebook/dp/B01LX03GF1
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-stranger-she-can-trust-regan-black/1124690528


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Regan Black, a USA Today bestselling author, writes award-winning, action-packed romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels featuring daring heroines and sexy heroes. Raised in the Midwest and California, she and her family, along with their adopted greyhound and two arrogant cats, reside in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the rich blend of legend, romance, and history fuels her imagination.

Website: http://www.ReganBlack.com
Newsletter: http://www.ReganBlack.com/perks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganBlack
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganBlack.fans
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/reganbauthor/

 

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Writing Every Day

During the April A to Z Challenge, a commenter on my blog introduced me to 750 Words. I mentioned this briefly at the end of my Z post, but I wanted to talk about it a little more. I’ve been doing 750 Words since shortly after I was introduced to it, and it’s actually been a great tool in keeping me productive.

The site is pretty simple: you create a bare bones account and try to write at least 750 words every day. Your writing is entirely private and no one can ever see it. You CAN choose to make your profile public, which shows some of your stats and insights into your writing (you choose what is shown) but no one can read what you actually wrote. The site is free for 30 days and then $5 a month to use after. Having the paid version gives you access to a few things. I found out during my free trial period you can’t write more than 10,000 words in a day unless you’re a paid member. As a paid member you can also make public posts kinda like blog posts, that are meant to be encouraging to others.

There’s lots of various accomplishments that earn you badges. Things like writing 3, 5, 10, 30, etc. days in a row, not being distracted during your writing, finishing your words in under 15 minutes 10 days in a row, writing 50,000 words in a month (the NaNo badge), and completing a one-month challenge where you write every day of that month, just to name a few. You may not be terribly motivated by the idea of silly badges, but hey, I freakin’ love badges and I’m trying to collect them all!

However, the main point, and benefit, of the site is that it gets you writing. I’ve found since I started writing every day like this, I feel a lot more creative, and I’m writing easier, if that makes sense. It also takes away the angst that plagues me every day I don’t put my nose to the grindstone and churn some words out. Amazingly, my stats tell me that (at the time of writing this blog post) in my 26 days on 750 Words I’ve written 46,953 words so far! A good portion of that has been for a book I’m working on, which is now almost done because of this. But some days I didn’t feel like working on it and couldn’t get up the gumption, so I just used my 750 words for personal stuff, like a diary. Still, it kept my fingers on the keyboard.

I recommend this site if you’re looking for a productivity and motivational tool. My profile is here (only visible if you have an account). I think paid members can follow other people, but I haven’t followed anyone yet so I’m not sure how it works.

Hope to see you there!

Stuff I’m Up To Right Now

A few updates in my writing world today. I come to share some happy news and a sale with you!

First of all, I had a novella picked up by Evernight Publishing! I haven’t worked with Evernight before, but dang do they have some lovely covers. Also, they were awesome through the whole process. I originally submitted the work as a short story to a submission call for an upcoming anthology. However, the editor asked me if I would revise the work to make it longer and more detailed and submit it to their Romance on the Go line. I did, and they’ve decided to publish it! It’s called Star-Crossed, it’s a paranormal romance, and it will (tentatively) be released in July. Watch this space for more details!

Black Mountain Magic got a four-star review at Night Owl Reviews! Remember that post I made on Monday about luck? Well, this is a fine example. Night Owl Reviews is a huge and well-respected romance review site. Black Mountain Magic is one of my self-published works, so I’m able to directly access my sales figures. My book getting a highly-visible favorable review on a well-known review site, coupled with the fact I just HAPPENED to have the book on sale for 99 cents at the time of the review (which I didn’t know was coming) translated to a few days of high sales figures on Amazon, enough I almost got into the bestseller category. See how luck works like that? Since then, sales have tapered off, despite the fact I subsequently bought a reduced-price ad spot on their site after the review. It’s a roll of the dice.

So, speaking of that, both Black Mountain Magic and White Witch Magic are on sale for 99 cents right now at all retailers! Get ’em cheap! And remember, if you buy ANY of my books, I would be happy to autograph them for you.

Do you have any good news to share today?

The Role of Luck In Author Success

This post might be a little hard to swallow for some. I know when I read up on this subject it opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn’t thought about before.

Very recently, I stumbled upon an online discussion where the participants were talking about the role that luck plays in success. Quickly, someone pointed out a logical fallacy called Survivorship Bias. In a nutshell, humans tend to vastly underestimate the role that chance and luck plays in their individual success. We tend to focus on the ones who ‘made it’ and forget about the thousands upon thousands who didn’t. Probably because it’s much more heartening and positive to look at the few survivors instead of the scores who sank below the waves.

This happens, in part, because all our favorite celebrities, authors, and public figures like to tell us that hard work, talent, and dedication can get us to the top. If we just strive and struggle and sacrifice enough, we can be just like them. ANYONE can be President, after all! While I absolutely do believe successful people put a lot of time and effort in, it’s also easy to debunk this myth by looking around us at the people we know. For every bestselling author rolling in money and movie deals, how many authors do you know who have fought just as hard, worked just as diligently, and haven’t even gotten a book deal? Maybe you’re even one of them. How many millions of authors in history gave just as much blood, sweat, and tears to their art and never got anywhere near success?

The problem is, there’s no surefire recipe for making it. You can’t be assured to get to the top, or even to a comfortable place, if you give THIS amount of effort, or have THAT much talent. This is true of any profession, not just writing. For every celebrity chef, there’s hundreds of chefs who work just as hard, toil just as much, and are just as creative but will never have their names known. For every platinum-selling rock band who plays arenas, there are bands who sound just as good and work just as hard who will never get beyond playing their local bars. Why?

Because, most successful people will talk about their hard work and effort (and again, I do believe they give those things), but only rarely mention how some big-time author happened to read their book and give it a recommendation, or it got picked up by a well-known book critic who made the public aware of them, or they just HAPPENED to write about something that was becoming hugely popular around the time their book was released and they rode the lucky wave of zeitgeist. When a celebrity tells you “if you just work a little harder you can be me,” it’s like a lottery winner saying “if you just sell your house and use the money to buy Powerball tickets, you can be like me.” What about all the lottery winners who won because they only bought one ticket? And what if you sell your house and none of those tickets win?

This all sounds very depressing, doesn’t it? The thing about luck is that it can strike anyone, but the odds of it striking you are small. However, there is a positive side, at least the way I look at it.

Hard work, knowledge, dedication, and talent DO matter, even with the wild card of luck thrown in there. Why? Because those things shrink the betting pool and give you better odds. Those things get you into networks you didn’t have available before, they give you access to people and places you wouldn’t have otherwise, and they increase your chances of running into just the right person or situation at just the right moment that will catapult you into success. Your lucky break is out there somewhere, and work, know-how, and honing your talent will put you closer to its vicinity. The reason humans hate the idea of outcomes hanging on luck is because it’s not something we can control and we hate to feel like we’re out of control. But, you can control how close you get to luck, at least. Will someone out there blindly stumble into luck without putting in any hard work first? Of course they will, and it’s going to make you furious and frustrated. But hey, it could be you someday, too. That’s the hope in luck, at least. And that’s what people really mean when they say “make your own luck.” It actually means work hard and try to throw yourself in luck’s way.

I hope you get lucky. Or at least, you work hard enough to have a brush with luck. Here’s some (un)inspiring words from Bo Burnham to get you through. (And yes, I did steal my lottery analogy from him–sorry, Bo! Just trying to get lucky!)