Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl Blues

By S. L. Duncan

It’s hard not to feel the hangover from last night’s big game. Like most Americans, I tuned in to watch those fabulous commercials interrupted occasionally by some football. And man, they went dark this year, didn’t they? Revenge...war...child death. Freaking child death? REALLY? What ad exec psycho jerk came up with this one? This was, like, Nationwide’s version of some bizarre-world ice bucket challenge, in the fight to cure fun, because the energy in the room definitely cooled after that one. But I digress.
If you happened to check out some of the football, you might have noticed it was a pretty good game. And what a finish! It’s difficult to not feel the disappointment suffered by the Seahawks. To get so close, to see the fruits of all their hard work and labor nearly paid off - the trophy mere moments away from being held in their hands. And then what?  They blew it right at the end.  Stolen by an interception.

Tough break, right? Like, a tough break for the ages. LIKE EPIC TOUGH BREAK.
There seemed to be a lot of that this year, especially in publishing. I was lucky, I guess, but I had many author friends see their publisher’s doors get shuttered before their book came out. Can you imagine? All the stuff we talk about here at FTWA – the queries, the writing, the agents – all the hoops you jump through to get to that bookstore shelf, picked off at the very end. Interception on the one yard line.

If you’re setting out, seeking publication, you've probably figured out that at some point you’ll be disappointed, sometimes devastated, and often there’s nothing you could have done to prevent what happened form happening. Don't focus on that. Focus on what you can do; what is within your control. Let the fates decide the rest. 

My advice if you've taken one of this major hits is to take a play out of the Seahawk's playbook for next year. Do you think they're going to just roll over on this? They'll be back. Fighting harder. Recognizing their mistakes, and bettering themselves to get there again. They'll also take an honest look at themselves and figure out what they aren't and what they are good at. I think every writer should do this. It's how you learn to write like you and not try to write like someone else. In other words, don't try to be a passing team on the one yard line when you're outstanding at running the ball. 
Many of my friends that had the publishing bomb detonate in their face this year did the same. Do they all have new book deals? No. But I know where I'd place my money on them getting one soon.
S.L. Duncan is the author of THE REVELATION OF GABRIEL ADAM, available now, and the upcoming SALVATION OF GABRIEL ADAM, (August 2015, Medallion Press), available now for preorder. You can find him on twitter @SLDuncanBooks and occasionally blogging at


JeffO said...

I think the only play that should be taken out of the Seahawks' playbook is the slant on the 1-yard line, hah ha.

In all seriousness, it is very important to learn and move on.

Liza said...

As a Patriots fan, I can tell you that in the last ten years, the Pats lost two Superbowls on
similar, devastating last minute plays. So your point is correct. Just keep going. Success WILL come your way. And oh, gosh, I don't know why Pete Carrol called for a pass play, but boy am I glad he did!

Sophie Perinot said...

Quite right. You will drive yourself mad trying to control what you can't but--in defense of the Nationwide commercial which I appear to be the only person in America who liked--some bad things/accidents are preventable. So do your homework, make good choices etc. Because just as pretending you can control what you can't will drive you crazy, pretending it is all fate and luck can result in a dead book (or a dead child).

S. L. Duncan said...

Ha! Soph - I love that you liked that commercial. It is, to be fair, very effective. Such a Debbie Downer, though. We were all hanging around laughing and then ten seconds later everyone was like, "I need to go hug my kid!" :)

LD Masterson said...

I take it you're not a Pats fans.

I'll also defend that Nationwide commercial, which ended by directing people to an accident prevention website. Mationwide spent a ton of money to get what was, in essence, a public service announcement in front of millions of people who would have never seen it otherwise. I applaud that effort.