Mar 26, 2009

How to Calculate Your Luck

Here's a query tip for you. We all know that there are many extenuating factors that impact our search for representation and publication, and at the end of the day, one of those biggest factors is luck.

Now, this begs the question: How do you know if you are lucky (or unlucky, as it may be)?

Here are several equations to calculate the luck factor in getting published. They use the following variables:

N= Good Luck
X= Bad Luck
D= Dumb Luck
Q= Query
A= Agent Preferences
P= Publishing Industry Demands
C= Contract

So therefore, if Q=(A*P) then N should result, yielding C.

However, if Q+P is not equal to A, then X. Also, if Q+A=C but is not equal to P, then X.

Of course there may be variations on this logic, such as if Q<(A*P) but the result is C, then D, pure and simple.

So you see, it's all very straightforward. N to all of you!



Deborah said...

That's really funny.

Windy said...

Too funny! :D

Abby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abby said...

Oh, yeah. That wasn't confusing at all.

Thanks for maintaining this site, so we can all get that much closer to that C and then N.

Alex said...

Te he.

MJ said...

Very Cleaver and amusing, if not flat out depressing

Rick Daley said...

I posted a shorter version of this on a friend's blog, and I thought it was fitting.

I try not to pontificate on this blog, because it's about your queries, not about me, but in this case I couldn't resist!

Here are additional writing formulas I came up with a while back:

Good Writing + Good Story = Published Book, Bestseller

Bad Writing + Good Story = Publishable Book, chance at mainstream success because most people can't spot bad writing

Good Writing + Bad Story = Publishable Book, modest success because most people can't spot good writing, but everyone knows when the story blows

Bad Writing + Bad Story = Waste of paper and/or time.

T. Anne said...

I like the new math. Two negatives still equal a positive, right?

X + X = N

Rick Daley said...

T. Anne,

While X+X=N is true, it still falls to reason that N*0=0, so N without other variables such as A, C, and P, N by itself is likely to remain that way.

Of course, I may be wrong in the sense that (N+A+P+C)*0 still equals 0. But hey, I'm a writer, not a mathematician. That why all of my formulas consist primarily of letters and not numbers. Except for the zero, but I think zero is not a number, but rather the absence of all numbers, so that may still work out in my favor ;-)

Mira said...

This is funny, Rick. :-)

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, that really clears things up for me. *wipes brow*

I'll be published in no time. ;)

Sarah Garrigues said...

Very clever and quite thought provoking if taken seriously.

One variable you forgot to add was:
H=Hard Work

By H, I mean researching A and P, writing quality MS and Q, selectively sending Q to appropriate agents, 'following the rules,' etc.

So I would amend your formulas to read:

If Q=(A*P)+H then N should result, yielding C.

But if Q=(A*P)-H, then X (or perhaps D+C if and only if the stars align in your favor or you are a celebrity).

Rick Daley said...


Your analytical skills are astounding, I accept your addition to my theory with the highest regard.

In retrospect, it does seem silly of me to fail to include the variable MS, although if you run the initial calculation, and then run it a second time (if warranted) and replace Q with MS, the formula should still yield accurate results.

The H factor can be diminished exponentially by the D factor. You did touch on this in your closing statement regarding celebrities, etc.

Sarah Garrigues said...

One thing I failed to mention was that H includes not just writing a quality Q/MS, but REWRITING/PERFECTING said Q/MS (preferably with the help of a peer critique group).

See my shout-out to TPQS in my post on the painful value of critiques at:

Anette J Kres said...

Haha... I loved this!