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Fortune favors the bold. An old idiom, ancient even, but nonetheless true. The past couple of weeks I found myself growing more and more annoyed with comments by wishful writers on the blogs of authors who have earned some measure of success about how lucky said authors are. As if publication and sales were random acts of kindness bestowed by the universe. Gah. Really?

What successful writers have that those who watch from the wings don’t is grit – sheer gumption, as my grandmother would have said. They have work ethic, a willingness to bear criticism and learn from it, to face rejection and come back for more, and most of all, the guts to take chances and ask for what they want.

Luck? Sure. There’s some of that – convergence of circumstances, random opportunity, being in the right place at the right time. But if you don’t have the grit to stay in the game, luck will never find you.

Though I wouldn’t yet list myself among the ranks of successful authors, I am published. How this happened for me is a perfect example of how grit matters. A year after my agent and I had abandoned hope of a publishing deal, the opportunity arrived as if it had been waiting to reveal itself all along. If you’re interested in the story of how I got here, read this post , or this one.

Hard work and stick-to-it-ed-ness has its pay-offs. This past weekend I had the opportunity to sneak into an event being hosted by my publisher for one of their other imprints (living in the same town as the headquarters has its perks). Amazon Publishing hosted a retreat / conference for the authors of Thomas & Mercer,  the mystery/thriller group.  Part of the event included a series of panel discussions for an open audience, which I was invited to attend. Wow.  I came away with a big ol’ bag of swag, new author friends, and a ton of great advice. But most of all, I came away with a renewed sense of gratitude. For my publisher, and for the people who encouraged me to hang in there when things got tough. Persist Until You Prevail.

I started to write a lengthy post about the event, but mystery author Christine Kling said it better than I ever could. I invite you to read the article on her blog “Write on the Water”, aptly entitled Gratitude.

Author Christine Kling – Write on the Water

Another important kernel of wisdom I heard on that day came from author Rachel Abbott, who repeatedly attested to the value of a marketing plan. I’ve been saying this for-ev-ah, and was so pleased to hear Rachel talk about how it helped her build sales for her books. So that’s my tip this Marketing Monday – make a plan. For some suggestions on how to do that, read my post Three Marketing Strategies Every Career Writer Can (& Should) Use.