"Luck, timing, and who you know."

So I've thought about a lot. I've researched it. I've tested the market.

And the conclusion I've come to is: Write for myself.

This doesn't preclude any number of things happening, but it does put the emphasis on the one thing I can control.

When I first started writing I was told getting published was a matter of "luck, timing, and who you know." I didn't want to believe this. I wanted to believe it was a meritocracy. And my initial success seemed to warrant that faith--though, in hindsight, there was a lot of timing involved. (Tower Books was actively seeking Sword & Sorcery.)

Here these many years later, I've come to the conclusion that it comes down to "luck, timing, and who you know." Yes, you need to have merit. But that's only the start of it.

LUCK: Luck for me was reading a tweet about how Books of the Dead was looking at unsolicited manuscripts. (Meritocracy was hanging in there until the editor found a book he liked.)

Luck was hearing out of the blue from a major publisher telling me how much he liked "Led to the Slaughter." Which led to a sale (ghostwritten, but well-paying),which led to the opportunity to try to sell a book under my own name. An opportunity that is frayed but not quite gone.

TIMING: Timing was coming in at the end of the "Golden Age" of indy publishing, when the editor was most enthused. The same thing was true of Ragnarok and Cohesion--both were at their most optimistic. Timing was having the latter two publishers collapse at more or less the same time, bringing it to the attention of other publishers and being able to sell all my books to new venues.

Timing is being an opportunist. Seeing possibilities when they present themselves. I'm very good at this.

WHO YOU KNOW: Having a book with BOTD helped me sell to Ragnarok which helped me sell to Cohesion which helped me sell to my new publishers.

On the other hand, I've always been lousy at gaining allies and mentors. Which is probably why I ended up owning my own business. (Meritocracy at its best.) So trying to do it on my own is pretty tough.

Another part of meritocracy is being able to promote one's books. This takes promotional skill and aggressiveness and I have neither of those things.

So getting published is a mix of all these things and it's complicated. I haven't even talked about traits like persistence and diligence and being prolific.

Luck would be coming up with a Killer Elevator Pitch and following it through with a really well-written book. Timing would be coming out when that idea has the most appeal. Who you know would be getting it in the hands of someone who can do you the most good.

Pretty tall order.

Like I've said. I've thought about it. Ignorance is bliss, and I wish I had some of that. But for me, I'm most comfortable if I can figure out where I stand. I feel like I've got a pretty good feel for it.

But...if I'm writing a book, none of that fucking matters. The only thing that matters is the book itself. This is under my control. This and only this.