When I first started writing my first novel, Sins of Greed, I took a short break after I finished Part One, or the first 10 chapters, in order for me to focus on sending out a sample and synopsis of the book to a myriad of different literary agents in the U.S. This was in the hopes of them accepting my composition as a piece they’d like to represent and hopefully land me a publishing deal with a big publishing house who would pay me to finish the book and get my novel to have a successful launch.
Lol. It sounds pretty naive when I look back at it - but I truly thought I could do it at the time.
A million no’s later, I lost quite a bit of self confidence and motivation to finish my book, or to even continue my writing career. I felt that I could write a good book, sure, but I also felt that many others could too. People with better connections than me, or people with marketing backgrounds, or people with rich bank accounts who could afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to fund a good marketing team who would do the work for you. I managed to drudge myself through the completion of my novel, but as a result of this loss in confidence the quality of my writing in those first few chapters back was abysmal and required lots of touch up and editing. I put off the HOW I’m going to get it published and focused on the HOW I’m going to complete my novel. And when I did, I decided to do the only thing I could; I uploaded my book on to Amazon’s KDP, effectively becoming another of the millions of struggling and alone indie authors out there.
Fast forward to several months later; no, I’m not rich. Not even close. I haven’t even broken even on my initial investment to publish the book, on book cover design and formatting services, for example. But I have a second one about to come out. And for this one, I’ve kind of figured it all out a bit more. I’ve paid a fraction of the cost, compared to my first novel, on book cover design and formatting services, and it still looks professional and great. I wrote and published it much quicker, too; AND I’m now on more retailers than just Amazon, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and many more. I just released Sins of Greed on audio, too. I’ve got a newsletter, albeit a small one, for fans of mine who liked me and my content enough to sign up. I have a website. I run ads - poorly performing ads, but ads nonetheless. Ads that I could not have made and run just six short months ago.
Am I a New York Times Bestseller? LOL no. Am I selling books like J.K. Rowling and Nora Roberts? LOL no. Am I making money on my career as an author yet? LOL no.
But am I better than I was last year? Yes. Am I more knowledgeable than I was last year? Yes. Do I have more of this crazy goal of mine figured out than I did when I published my first novel? Yes.
And I couldn’t have learned all I did, no matter how small it may seem, if I had been said yes to by one of those millions of literary agents, or if I had gotten a publishing deal by a rich publishing house ran by guys and girls in their cushioned cubicles calling all the shots on MY career, with MY books, ruining MY vision. Doing it all for me, removing my right to think, act, and figure it out, my ability to grow and progress.
And who knows, if it takes a third book, or a fourth, or a twentieth to finally hit the sweet spot, then so be it.
Sometimes, blessings come in disguises.
Don’t believe me? Here’s another example.
A few years back I had a desk job at a sales firm - one of my co-workers who I was pretty good friends with was an orthodox Jew and had a family member living in Malaysia for work. They were an Israeli family with many family members in Tel Aviv and were planning a relatively large get together. My co-worker had just booked his connecting flight from Miami to Tel Aviv, with a layover in Dubai. His family member that was living in Malaysia was a cousin he grew up with in Israel and the two of them were very excited to see each other again after so many years. Imagine their frustration when his cousin in Malaysia could not get a flight from Kuala Lampur in time to get to Tel Aviv to be able to see my co-worker, as well as the majority of the rest of their family. The only flight he could find was a flight leaving on a Saturday, March 8th, 2014. For those who don’t know much about the Jewish religion, orthodox Jews celebrate a Sabbath day every Saturday - it is a day where they are strictly forbidden to do many things that are necessary in the modern day and age. They aren’t allowed to use electricity, to get in or operate cars, elevators, use or turn on light switches, watch TV, operate a stove. It’s a day meant to be cherished the way all days were cherished in the ancient world; with family, at rest, relaxing and shut off from the terrors of the outside world. So, with the only flight able to get my co-worker’s cousin in Malaysia to Tel Aviv in time leaving on the Sabbath, and he being an orthodox Jew, he of course opted to skip out on that flight and miss the family’s reunion all together. I remember vividly my co-worker showing me e-mails between the two of them, and e-mails his cousin in Malaysia had with his travel agent where they discussed possible avenues around the flight on Sabbath situation.
My co-worker was very distraught, as was his cousin in Malaysia, when, at the end of the day, they realized they wouldn’t be able to see each other again.
That flight on March 8th, 2014, leaving from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and flying to Beijing, China, which was meant to be a connecting flight for my co-workers cousin, was Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. This plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean, prompting the costliest search in aviation history and one of the most profound modern mysteries, aviation or otherwise. No-one knows where the plane ended up - it still has not been found to this day. Small pieces of the aircraft have been discovered over the years, by nationally funded search groups and private search parties alike, but the bulk of the aircraft has been lost to time. It vanished, completely and utterly.
My co-workers cousin would have been on that flight had he decided to disobey one of his religion’s most sacred traditions, in order to get home to see his family.
The moral of this story is an overused one, cliche in all ways - everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, blessings come in disguises. Whether you want to believe in God, or in fate, or in whatever it is that tickles your fancy… something is making things happen in all of our lives, and sometimes it’s simply beyond us to go against it. Next time that you feel that you’re unlucky, or that something didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, try to have enough mental clarity to practice understanding and patience. Some day, maybe in a couple years, you’ll see that it was for a reason.