Dave standing in for Amanda -It's not your lucky day is it? Ah well you'll just have to take the best out of it that you can. Let's face it, there is an element of luck in this business. But then, there is in fishing too. And that's the carp part of the diem, because we all bitch about our luck (when fishing too) BUT in spite of that a lot of us trot off for another go. And you know, while the bloke who writes greats books/stories and keeps trying doesn't always succeed. But the one who parks that great story under the bed in a shoebox will NEVER succeed. And yes, it's a lottery (but if you do it right, the odds are closer to the school funderaiser lottery than the Euro-millions) but if you don't have a ticket, you can't win. And if you take lots of tickets (they're not free - they cost you time, commitment, hope, courage - none of which are low value coins but will never earn you tuppence in satisfaction or return if you won't spend them) and fill the forms properly and enter every lottery going, well, you might win big. You're more likely to imitate my fishing (which means if you're very sensitive about bad smells, or critics whose comments smell that way... maybe take up stamp collecting) and never catch any vast whale-fish but reliably bring some pan-fish home. A bit on the small side, bony, but edible. And there is always the chance of the bigger one. Because this really is a profession where being in the right place at the right time can make you... you need to be in possible right places (authors forums, cons, competitions) and when opportunity knocks, don't be a fool like I was (my publisher asked me if I wanted to co-author with a big name. He wouldn't say who. I was cagey because there are a couple I really don't like much. The opportunity passed. It was Dave Weber, and I would have been very happy to do it). Now, because caution is not exactly my first or even my middle name, there have been chances I've taken since that just didn't pan out. And a few that have. The 'fish' are not inspirationally large, but I've loved catching them. And damn me if I won't go and throw another line. The place I see as worth being in is Electronic publishing. See you all there.