Yesterday, Michael offered some really sound advice on how to deal with potentially difficult situations that arise in the publishing process, and I wanted to follow that up with a link to something of a companion piece over at Pimp My Novel. Eric outlines what you can’t control as the sales force tries to make magic happen for your book and then finishes with a sobering but important fact: “Everything from having your partial MS passed on to the agent by his/her assistant to the final sales call to winning all kinds of fancy literary awards will inherently contain an element of randomness or luck, and it’s up to you to make the best of it, regardless of the circumstance.” That last part is key to a satisfying publishing experience. Some things will be affected by chance, but that doesn’t mean you should just passively leave your entire career in the hands of fate! For everything that lines up perfectly, capitalize on opportunity and don’t bank on chance. Lucky enough to have some author signings in an era where that’s less and less the case, don’t forget to tweet about it, make a Facebook invite, and email your address book. When things seem to be going wrong—and inevitably something will—do what you can to fix them and do everything you can in other areas to minimize their impact. Pretend you’re in AA and memorize the serenity prayer—and talk to your agent when you need help with the “wisdom to know the difference” part.
And if you’re still wondering how to make the best of it, run don’t walk to the previous post Eric links to in his entry: What You Can Do: Twelve Easy Steps. His hypothetical timeline may well be much shorter than what you’ll experience—except in the parts where the work is on your desk and you’ll be praying to every god anyone has ever believed in for more hours in the day—but it outlines clearly just how proactive you can and should be. You can’t force luck to go your way, so make sure you don’t forget to do all the things within your power.