The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, April 27, 2012


The X Factor (U.S.)The X Factor (U.S.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           Attorney Darcie Chan self-publishes her novel The Mill River Recluse as an e-book after being  rejected by several publishers and agents and the book lands on best-seller lists.    

          Amanda Hocking begins self-publishing her novels as e-books in 2010 and within a year sells over a million copies.

             What's the secret?  What did these authors do to gain success where so many others fail?  If there were a fool proof formula that always worked we'd all be hugely successful authors.  There is no precise formula.  There is something missing in most cases and that missing something is the X Factor that we each need to find for ourselves.  

           Talent shows have been a mainstay of radio and television for many years.  In the past decade shows like Pop Idol and American Idol have swept television ratings.  Simon Cowell went on to create a show in the same vain called The X Factor.  The premise behind the show name is that star quality is an unknown factor in the success equation.  It is a variable.  What works for one person does not guarantee success for the next.

              You may have the most wonderful product in the world, but until you discover that unknown variable that will create marketing magic you may not be successful in getting your product in the hands of the consumer.  And you can't just sit there and wait for someone to come along and make success for you.  

              Study the success stories and gain market awareness.   Draw up marketing plans and analyze them thoroughly.   What was successful for someone else may not work for you.  In fact, things that worked two years ago may never work again.  These are the kinds of things you must learn about.   Don't be afraid to try old ideas if they seem viable.  Don't be afraid to try new ideas if they seem practical and possible.  Somewhere there is the missing magic factor that will complete your equation and it's up to you to find it.

             You don't have to be a mathematician to find the X Factor of success.  It will help to be astute, assured, and unafraid.   Monumental success may never happen even when you seem to be doing all the right things.   Not becoming successful will be a pretty sure bet if you don't do anything.

              Are you ready to find the X Factor that will fit your equation?  Do you have the stamina to pull out all the marketing stops in order to find your X Factor?

Here are a few x-ceptional blogs:

Suze from Analog Breakfast writes some deep stuff although when I last looked it appeared she'd fallen into a deep sleep.  Can somebody shake her and wake her?

Jarm del Boccio at Making the Write Connections reflects her eclectic background of travel and history in her writing.

At Geoff's Blogs Geoff Maritz has been teaching us about his home continent of Africa.  Some cool stuff from a very cool guy.

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  1. Sometimes, late at night, or when I cannot edit another sentence, the X-Factor seems more like an
    X-tention of the Impossible. I love the line that not doing anything is a sure way not to succeed. X-traordinary post! Theme: A World of Crime

  2. Often times, late at night or in the wee hours of the morning is when that X Factor kicks in. The timing of it is as variable as the X Factor itself. Yet, it is always powerful. It just happens to be one of those intricacies of life that I believe points to a higher power.

  3. Great piece, and very true. It's all about finding 'your' x-factor, what sets you apart from the guy next to you. Does it make you better? I don't think so. Just unique.

  4. The X Factor is basically charisma, something that isn't learned, it's basically what we'd call the "it factor," as well, at least that's what I gather from it, great post as always Lee.

    The X Factor's been around in the United Kingdom for a very long time as well buddy, ever since 2004 in fact. Simon just finally got greedy and decided he wanted to run American Idol and the X Factor at the same time in the USA for some reason which is silly because in my mind they both kind of cancel each other out.

  5. Hi Lee .. that X factor demands resilience, hard work, passion, commitment as well as finding our path.

    Cheers Hilary

  6. I love watching The X Factor, to have the X Factor one needs dedication, and talent.


  7. X-Factor worked for me last fall, so whatever I was doing then I have to keep doing.

  8. Great post! Fits your series wonderfully. I have never seen the XMen or XFactor.

  9. Great post! Proves that hard work, discipline and a sense of awareness of what is trending makes for a great success story!

  10. This is a really good post. I need to read it again and again and again. This X-factor 'something' sounds a lot like falling into success and never knowing what we tripped over.

    And thanks for creating this A to Z challenge. I've had great fun and learned so much!

  11. Hello lee.
    Thanks for the shout out, it's unmerited but appreciated.
    With regards to your post, there is a scripture that comes to mind,

    "Be timid in business and come to beggary; be bold and make a fortune." Proverbs 11 verse 16.

    I get the feeling you live by this principal.
    Blessings, Geoff.

  12. A good reminder to keep us hunting for our magic X combination.

  13. Enjoyed this post--good info to ponder. Now if it will just stick in my "pondarosa" long enough for me to put it to good use, I'll be forever grateful.

  14. Gail -- The pursuit of success can be frustrating but you've got to keep at it even if you never attain the pinnacle of your dreams.

    J.Burroughs -- There is undoubtedly a mystical connection involved in the process.

    SA -- Unique sets us apart from the crowd.

    Yeamie - I think we are beginning to experience an over-saturation of similar talent competitions.

    Hilary -- We can't wander aimlessly and hope to get where we want to go if we're not heading in the right direction.

    Yvonne -- I enjoyed watching The X Factor though I didn't agree about last year's winner and I still prefer Idol.

    Alex -- You are obviously doing something right.

    Gregg -- You haven't missed all that much other than frivolous entertainment.

    Jack -- And sometimes a bit of luck or serendipity can be a part of the equation.

    Jess -- I think you're right. Probably a lot of successful people still don't know the exact "thing" but they do know they were doing something.

    Geoff -- I like that verse from Proverbs. I need to focus better on it.

    LD -- Thanks. Something is out there for us, but we have to put in an effort to find it.

    Pat -- The time for action is now and that's something I and many of us don't take more to heart.


  15. Marketing is a four-letter word in disguise. I hate it. It is a curse to a self-published author because it takes so much time away from writing.

  16. I've been grappling with this lately, so it is a very timely blog post for me. You are so right: the key is to find that certain something about ourselves that sets us apart from the rest.

  17. I think you are right.,,but still unpredictable..guess persistence is the only constant.

  18. STill trying to find my xfactor to make it big.

  19. i think i see the x-factor in people-- i am still convinced that american idol got rid of two of the most marketable guys out there--cory clark second season- and sanjaya-xcellent post!

  20. It may be old school thinking, but I still believe that "never give up" is a good way to go.

  21. Wendy -- It may seem like one of those evil necessities, but it is what you make it.

    Susan O -- And we should never stop looking because new factors can always pop into the mix.

    Momto8 -- Very unpredictable. If we knew life's unknowns what fun would that be?

    Susan GK -- Even those who have made it big have to keep their mindset on the next X.

    Lynn -- No accounting for the tastes of the public.

    Word Nerd --Once you've given up you might as well hand in your ticket to life and climb in the casket.


  22. I think the 'x' factor is what makes us get over the prverbial hump and separates us from others...while it is not always easy, it's necessary if any of us want to succeed!

  23. You and I did the same post with the same picture today--the X-factor! What's that they say about great minds...? Great post.

  24. It's amazing how they were able to sell over a million copies on e-books! They were smart not to let anything stand in their way. I recently met Geoff and he does seem like an eXceptional person! Julie

  25. for me the X Factor never had that x factor. It's not my thing and it never caught my imagination, but it sure did to many many others and is huge as we all know.

    I want to say now we're so near the end, thanks very much for the A-Z Challenge, Arlee, I've been really enjoying doing it and finding all these other bloggers, it's been huge fun.

  26. Hi Arlee! Enjoyed today's post. I checked out all three of the blogs that you gave a shout out for.

  27. What a neat way to connect the X Factor to life and values and morals! I feel so inspired.

    Oh, by the way, I was hoping you might take a chance on my blog? I've been reading through yours (I haven't had the chance to visit that many A-Z'ers, but love all the ones I have found) and loving it.

    My blog is . It's half entertainment and pop culture, and half writing (especially YA writing!).

    Your blog is great! Keep it up!

  28. I remember an old show named "GYPSY" about the striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. In it the other strippers told her if she wanted to set herself apart from the rest she had to have a "gimick." That advice I knew then as a teen was true and I know it now. You have to have a gimmick or as you put so eleoquently an X-factor.

  29. I want to have the X Factor. *sigh*

    Good choice for X!

  30. Tracy -- We need to stand out from the crowd.

    Jan -- Maybe we've got an X Factor wavelength going on.

    Julie -- The Amanda Hocking story is particularly remarkable. Where will she go next?

    DayDreamer -- I wasn't bowled over by the X Factor TV show. Too many similar shows coming on know and it's overkill.

    Susanne -- Thank you on behalf of those blog owners.

    Fangirl -- Checked on your blog and I enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping here.

    Debra -- My father loved that movie and we had the soundtrack on LP. A gimmick is the think that sets us apart. And it doesn't have to be a flashy thing--just that bit of oomph that catches attention to us.

    Theresa --You've got it. You just need to solve the equations as they come your way.


  31. Just a couple of days ago, I found myself completely overwhelmed, and I remember telling you that in a comment. I've thought about everything you've posted over the last few weeks, and I feel I am prepared for the fight. I have it in me.

  32. I wasn't actually sleeping. I was traveling. I got your message on my phone while I was on the boardwalk at a great restaurant and it made me laugh. Thanks, Lee. Nice to know I was missed.

    :) :)


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