Fail Your Way Into Success | Guest Post by Alexis Radcliff

12:30 AM

Test and Learn: Fail Your Way Into Success

Guest Post by Alexis Radcliff,

author of A Vanishing Glow

I recently finished reading the half-biography, half-nonfiction "how to succeed" guide of Scott Adams, the world-famous cartoonist behind the popular Dilbert comic strip. Rather than dispense warm platitudes or pre-fabricated 5-step plans, the approach to life he recommends is both refreshing and simple: he recommends that you simply keep trying things and don't let the embarrassment stop you when you inevitably fail.

JA Konrath, the extremely successful and prolific indie author, has famously said that the only way to succeed at being a writer is to keep at it until you get lucky. He also says that writing good books, with good descriptions, good formatting, and good cover art are also necessary. 

If you believe you have those things, you need to hit publish and start to learn from your audience. It's so important to grit your teeth and get your work out there at some point, flaws and all. If it's as good as you can make it (and it does need to be as good as you can possibly make it), you need to take the next step and let other people tell you where it needs to be better. You'll never know what will work until you actually try some things.

I've blogged on and off for most of my adult life, and I've built a decent following at a few different blogs. You'd think I'd know by now which posts are going to take off and which are going to fall flat.

I don't. I'm almost never right about that. And it's not because the posts are bad posts. It's because there's always an element of luck involved. 

It's always that random post I wrote six weeks ago that seems to take off. It hits the right person at the right time and then WHOOSH. We're off to the races.

My point is that you don't need to be a genius to succeed. Scott Adams readily admits he isn't one. I'm really not one. Most reasonably successful people aren't. It takes quality, which you can get through practice and hard work, and it takes luck. The more chances you give luck to hit you, the better.

If you're paralyzed by fear that you might have an embarrassing failure, then you're missing lots of opportunities to potentially succeed. Get your work out there. Don't be afraid to let people tell you it's bad. Listen and make it better. There's a reason why the mantra you'll hear everywhere from indie writers is "Write. Publish. Repeat."

A Vanishing Glow

by Alexis Radcliff

Published: October 1st, 2015
Published by: Fatecaster Press
Page count: 343
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk


A VANISHING GLOW is the exciting opening to THE MYSTECH ARCANUM series, a deep and thrilling blend of steampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes.

It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife. 

Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost? 

Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

Buy the book

About the author

Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature.

Alexis lives and works in the Portland area with her adorable (if surly) cat and her equally adorable fiancé. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.

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