We’ve all heard about the stars who turned down roles that turned out to become cultural icons. For instance, at least six actors turned down the part of Neo in The Matrix.
Perhaps those who turned down roles might say, “Wow, that could have been me! I missed a great opportunity!”
Maybe. Or maybe not.
Why? Because those films wouldn’t have been the same with the other actors. Perhaps the actor who ultimately played the role helped make the part iconic. Not that the others weren’t amazing; they would have just brought something different to the screen.
What Am I Missing?
As an author, you may feel you missed a great prospect at some point. I’d venture that if you don’t feel this way about one event or another in your life, you either are pretty young, haven’t been writing long, or both.
Just because [insert famous author’s name here] is a success at [insert dream publisher’s name here] doesn’t mean that if you and your book occupied that same position, you would have seen identical results. You may actually have been more successful, or you may have been far less successful. Books from incredible authors don’t always sell well, even when released and promoted by the most sought-after publishers.
If Only My Book Is Turned into a Movie!
Back to our movie example, if our book can be made into a movie, we can turn in economy air tickets for a seat on a Lear jet. But even when populated by big stars, not every film succeeds. To wit: See the list of “Ten of the Biggest Movie Flops of All Time.” And not every book turned into a film is a success. See the list of “Nine Great Books Made Into Movies That Flopped.”
Regardless of what business you’re in, chemistry has much to do with success. While we all want to see if our chemistry works, not every opportunity is the right opportunity. I’m not pretending this is easy, but try not to be envious of an author who is where you want to be. Instead, know that breaks will come your way when the time is right. Keep working, and keep writing!