Monday, July 20, 2009

80% of Life is Showing Up

My wife and I use this all of the time when we talk to students taking our classes about the correlation between passing and attendance. 80% of life is simply showing up. Attendance is crucial.


This weekend, along with reading submissions, working on proposals and having the opening weekend of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (by the way, a totally great show) I was at a swim meet with my kids. It was at this meet we started talking about that 80% rule. You see, my daughter, who is 7 years old swam for the first time the 200 Individual Medley. For those non-swimmers, this is 4 lengths of a 50 meter pool (Olympic Size), swimming one of each stroke. She did it. She swam it and it was legal. She had no disqualifications for illegal strokes, turns or touches. Now enter in the 80% factor…


Because she was there and swam it,

And because she swam it legally,

And because they divide it up by timed divisions,

She walked away with a 3rd place ribbon.


End result? She is overly excited and can’t wait to do it again.


But Scott? What does this have to do with publishing?


There are a ton of great authors out there that have gotten published and their careers have taken off because they simply showed up to the game. They attended a conference. They pitched that first story. They talked to someone sitting at the lunch table.


I was fortunate to work with a great author who had this happen to her. She sat at a conference and picked up a conversation with a very nice woman. The author had no idea she was speaking to Sue Grimshaw of Borders Books. Sue casually asked what she wrote and what her story was about. Sue loved the idea and said that she would love to read the manuscript if the writer was willing to send it. Now remember, Sue doesn’t work for a company that writes the books, she sells them but still, she wanted to read it. The author sent the book and a year later received an email from Sue. First of all, Sue apologized for taking so long to read it, and asked if she could send this to an editor friend to read it. Sue believed the book should sell. The editor did like it. We did sell it and now this author is at a major publishing house.


So, before you start saying you aren’t ready, or your “too new at this game” think again. Sure you may be new, but so was this other author.



Scott C. Eagan


P.S. Don’t feel now that I am contradicting my earlier comment about not rushing things. I still don’t want you to submit material to anyone if it is not ready. I am simply saying to take advantage of those great opportunities.




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