Beating the odds

I posted the other day about the traits that successful writers need in order to get published and in it I talked about persistence and beating the odds e.g. keep sending submissions off and sooner or later you will get a yes.

With that in mind I was interested to see where I am in terms of the odds. I looked at the amount of time that I have been writing and trying to get published in a focused and serious way. Broadly speaking this is a year and a half when I was in my early twenties and the last two and a half years, so four years. I tracked back:-

– The amount of competitions I’ve entered – 18

– The amount of submissions I have sent to publishers/magazine/agents – 11

= Total of 29

– Of those how many I have placed in competitions/been asked for rewrites/had partials requested/ had full MS’s requested/not had straight rejections – 10

– Waiting to hear – 2

So I have an approximate hit rate of 34 % so far. Okay, so it’s not a substantial mathematical percentage and if someone told me they wanted to pay me 34% of my salary or that my house only held 34% of its anticipated value I’d fall off my chair. BUT in the context of the writing industry which is fiercely competitive and where you hear tales of much-loved multi-published authors papering downstairs cloakrooms with rejection slips, I can live with it!

I must admit that it was interesting to look at it my stats in this way. It was helpful to assess how or what I did differently for those submissions/entries that did well versus those that didn’t so that I can evaluate the information and think about how to take those learning points forward for future use. The main headlines concering my ‘successes’ were: Awareness of market, targeted submissions, awareness of likes/dislikes of editor/judge, time spent writing and revising, fortunate timing!

What are your stats? What do they tell you? What have you learnt that you can use next time?

A note with regard to how fiercely competitive the industry is, and the tales of the death of chick lit (or whatever you want to call it) that abound or the talk of the increasing difficulty for author’s to get deals or agents (a trend which is changing with the growing popularity of self publishing and e-books). What I am actually hearing from within writers associations and via contacts is that actually there are very many tales of success. So what are you waiting for? Just go for it.

Happy writing, Nikki.

p.s. my entry in the Novelicious Undiscovered competition is posted today, please check it out and leave a comment if you get the chance, thank you!


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