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Intelligence v. Luck

In this week’s episode of Akimbo (S3E5), Seth Godin talks about games. It’s a brilliant episode. As is usually the case, although he isn’t speaking specifically to authors, what he says is directly applicable to us. Here’s an excerpt:

What our culture has done is taught people two things at the same time. One, that you’re super special and really smart, and probably smarter than everyone else. And two, that you’re a fraud; that when it comes right down to it, lots of people are smarter than you.

So given the choice of investing in a game where you have to show you’re the smartest or investing in a game where you can rely on luck or hustle, most people want…the thrill of imagining that they’re going to win without the reality of discovering that someone is better than them.

This is exactly what’s going on with authors who have not yet turned pro. Investing in craft and developing a career slowly and methodically takes intelligence. While we’re all capable of that approach, most writers spend an awful lot of time feeling like a fraud; feeling that other writers are better than them. As a result, they rely on luck and hustle. They try to game the system by focusing on Amazon’s algorithm rather than their ability to write a book that works.

Well yes, others are better than you. Others are better than me. That’s not the point.

Professionals are never in competition with others. They only ever compete with themselves. Pros make sure that the job they do today is better than the job they did yesterday, and that has absolutely nothing to do with luck.

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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