Writing is a lot like gambling, more specifically -- poker. Writers pile up words in neat stacks. We click them and move them around. They are our currency into the game of publishing. When the game commences, we reluctantly place our beloved word chip “ante” onto the game board. The dealer/agent/editor keeps the game in motion. One difference being he has a vested interest in the outcome of the game.
The first deal sets the wheels in motion. Your cards dictate how much you are willing to risk. If you have a good agent, he will give approval or indicate that you “check” or “fold.” His experience in invaluable but in the end you are the only one to play the hand you’re dealt.
Your hand is a secret from the other players. You may hold a flush, straight, full house, or nothing at all. This would be the time to don a “poker face’ and steel yourself against the capers of the other players. Set yourself a limit on how many chips you will risk on promotional items such as posters, bookmarks, and announcement cards. Set a budget for marketing materials, publicists and agent fees, travel expenses, and incidentals. Those chips go in the proverbial “pot” as the stakes rise with each hand. Prepare for surprise moves from the other players.
Gambling requires nerves of steel accompanied by gutsy plays. It is not for the faint-hearted but I am learning that those qualities are also useful in the game of publishing. It takes a blend of talent and wit, charm and risk-taking, and perhaps the most important ingredient – compromise.
Watch for the “tells.” Be patient for the river card. Study your competition. Use your wild cards and when the chips are down, take a deep breath and say “All In.”
*This article idea was inspired by author Daisha Korth and her blog.
~~Sheila S. Hudson
Sheila's work appears in Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Patchwork Path, From the Heart, Vols. 1 & 2, plus numerous periodicals including Costumer Magazine. She established Bright Ideas to bring hope and inspiration through the written word. Sheila has also served as president of Southeastern Writers Association.