Showing posts with label writing luck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing luck. Show all posts

23 March 2024

Pure Luck!

A few weeks ago, I got talking to my gal pal and colleague Sydney about the good or bad luck we writers can have during our careers, and I said, "Oooh, that would make a great topic for SleuthSayers!  Why don't you write it?"  Bless her, she did!  I really enjoyed her take and hope you do too.

Pure Luck!

by Sydney Leigh

With the recent passing of St. Patrick's Day, I've been thinking about the idea of luck.  The term 'luck of the Irish' has its roots in the late 19th century during the gold rush in America.  Several Irish miners made their fortunes and the expression was born.

But the concept of luck is not strictly for the Emerald Isle.  In fact, it seems to span across the globe, from a range of places and cultures.  There are all sorts of different objects and rituals that are believed to bring luck.

Today, one of the most obvious places it can be seen is in sports.  From community league hockey to major league baseball, there are all sorts of rituals that athletes seem to subscribe to.  Superstitions abound and can often explain seemingly inexplicable behaviour.  For example, have you ever noticed a pitcher tap his leg twice before throwing a ball, or a big hitter refusing to shave a beard or wash a uniform?  This can often be explained by the player's belief that the behaviour will result in a win.  We are talking about elite sports players who are making millions of dollars!

Within the publishing world, luck often plays a role.  Bad luck comes in waves, such as the shutting down of small presses, which leaves authors scrambling and without a home.  Agents and editors leaving the business can also be a big blow to authors.

When good luck prevails, it can be a tremendous help.  I was introduced to my dream agent at a time she was looking for something light, making me feel like I'd struck gold.  Other authors have found luck when putting themselves out there.  Desmond P. Ryan, author of A Pint of Trouble Mystery and The Mike O'Shea Series, explains his good fortune:

I keep meeting people who end up being instrumental in my career.  And, without meeting one of those people, I wouldn't have met the next.  They are THAT clearly linked, including how I met my agent and signed two book contracts back to back.

Award-winning author, Melodie Campbell, who has over 200 publications, tells us how luck can also play a role in spreading the word about your book.

In my writing career, nothing makes me smile more than this bit of luck that took place prior to Covid.  I was on the speaker circuit and agreed to do a presentation on the History of Humour (and how we write it) for a large retired teachers association in the metro Toronto area.  About 200 people were in attendance, and the talk went very well, but sales of my books were, alas, not as robust as usual.  Teachers, apparently, use libraries!   I perked up when a few days later I got a call from The Toronto Sun, asking to interview me.  Apparently, one of the attendees from the talk had a niece who worked as a reporter for The Sun, and was full of praise for my comedy.  The Toronto Sun article came out, and it was a full-page doozy.  They called me Canada's "Queen of Comedy," something I've been grateful for ever since, and not just for the quote.  To wit: a producer from Sirius XM saw the article, contacted me, and I've been on radio with them more than a few times.  It continues:  the alumni magazine at Queen's University is writing a feature article on me for the spring issue.  To this day, I marvel at the luck I had from doing a speaker event that was initially disappointing, but turned into the biggest networking experience of my life.  Needless to say, my publishers have loved all this exposure!  Moral:  don't turn down any invitations, as you never know who might be in the audience.

When luck is on your side, it can make a difference.  Is it possible to turn bad luck into good?  Hard to say.  But given persistence and a willingness to keep putting yourself in a vulnerable position will hopefully pay off eventually.  For some it comes faster and easier than others.  And with that, I wish you all good luck in the coming year.

Are there any rituals that you would like to share that bring you luck?  Or do you dismiss the idea all together?

Sydney Leigh spent several years running a seasonal business, working in the summer so she could spend cold months in cool places.  Now she writes cozies and thinks about murder.  She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and served on the board of Crime Writers of Canada from 2018-2021.  Peril in Pink, the first book in the Hudson Valley B&B Mystery Series came out in March 2024 from Crooked Lane Books.  You can find her at