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Imagine this…

Your best friend (that you’d trust with your life) calls you on your cell phone. He invites you to meet him at a coffee shop to share some big news. You agree to meet. When you arrive, your friend gives you a huge hug and pulls out a chair for you at your favorite table in the corner. He’s already ordered a blueberry scone for you… and one of those fancy coffees you like (with whipped cream and cinnamon on top). Your friend is so excited that he can hardly contain himself, so you ask him what’s going on.

That’s when he tells you the big news…

You’ve been chosen to enter a contest sponsored by a new TV show. The prize is incredible—and the odds are decent. No, scratch that. The odds are EXCELLENT when you consider the potential outcome.

Your friend tells you that, if you participate, you could win a cash prize of at least $5,000. However, you might get more. You might win $10,000, $25,000, $100,000… or even $1,000,000 (although the odds of winning the bigger prizes are smaller, of course). Another perk of the contest is that you’ll make the world a better place in the process (the TV network will match any prize that you win and give the same amount to your favorite charity).

Here’s what you have to do to participate…

You simply have to go to one of those cookie-cutter housing developments. You know, the type with hundreds of homes that all look the same (or almost the same). They’re nice homes, in a nice neighborhood, worth about a million dollars each… so you don’t have to worry about your safety. And there won’t be any TV cameras, so you don’t have to worry about that, either. The TV network simply wants to do a “trial run” of the contest (to work out the logistics) before shooting the pilot episode. But they’re willing to give you a chance at the prize for your trouble.

Your friend continues explaining the rules.

When you get to the housing development, all you have to do is walk up to each house and knock on the front door. It will probably take you a day or two to cover all of them. But you can do it all at once, or divide it up. Your friend is even willing to go with you, so you don’t have to do it alone. And… the people living in the community are friendly (for the most part), plus they’ve all agreed to be part of the contest. That means you don’t have to worry about anyone slamming the door in your face or siccing their dog on you.

At this point you’re curious but skeptical… so you ask your friend why you were chosen for the contest. Your friend says that he just got a good job at the TV network sponsoring the contest. And his first assignment was to choose someone for the contest. He couldn’t do it because he’s an employee. But he thought you might be interested.

Would you do it?

Of course you would…
that’s not the real question.

The million-dollar question is: How many doors
would you knock on before giving up?

It might not seem like a big deal to knock on a few hundred doors, especially with a huge potential payoff. But I assure you, it’s harder than it sounds. When I was 16, I went door-to-door trying to sell special insulation for attics. It was made from a reflective material that the creators said was like the insulation used in the NASA space shuttle.

After 50 houses and no sales, I was tired.

My confidence was sagging.

And my feet hurt.

But I believed in myself. I believed in the product. And I kept going. Eventually, I got my first sale. Then another. That’s when I started thinking about how close I’d come to quitting at 50. I also wondered how many other salespeople had tried to make a sale and quit before getting lucky.

But it wasn’t luck…

It was painstaking persistence.

So let me ask you again,
this time with a twist.

What’s the number of literary agent doors you’re willing to knock on… before giving up on yourself, your book and/or your publishing career?

50, 250, 500, 800?

There are only 800 potential agents, maximum,
in any given genre… so that’s the most
you COULD send out.

Unless you said 800, I want to beg you to increase your number. Some of the BEST success stories with authors involve a high number. In fact, two seconds ago, in the middle of writing this article, I got a text from one of my coaching clients. She asked to get on the phone because she got her SECOND offer for representation from an agent. Now she needs my help to decide who to sign with.

How many queries did she have to send out
before she got the first offer?


She almost gave up, too.

Several times…

But I begged HER to keep sending out queries.

She listened.

Not everyone does, of course.

I hope YOU will,

– Mark
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