Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xanatos Gambits and Publishing - A-Z Blogging Challenge

A Xanatos Gambit is a situation where every possible outcome has been engineered to suit you.

For example, let's say I'm the evil queen of Dublin (it could happen. . .). I want to conquer Meath and Kildare. I subtly trigger a war between the two of them. If Kildare wins, I can take over the weak and vulnerable Meath more easily than Kildare can, because I'm bigger. The same applies if Meath wins. Either way, I get closer to my goal. And once I've got one of them on-side, it's much easier to conquer the last one.

(In real life, Cork would notice this and refuse to stand for it. But since I am not the evil queen of Dublin, we can assume this whole premise is fictional).

Anyway, my own Xanatos Gambit regarding being published was always this:

I'll work really hard and keep trying and I'll never give up, which will maximise my chance of getting published. And if I don't, I'll leave instructions in my will that my heirs are to keep trying so if I don't make it while I'm alive, I can hope for posthumous publication.

Yeah. I don't handle uncertainty well.

Now, though, writers have a new Xanatos Gambit:

I'll try to get published. If that doesn't work, I'll release my work as an ebook and become the new JA Konrath. And if I don't become the new JA Konrath, the man makes a darned good point that there's no limit on time or shelf-space on the internet, so maybe I'll be a bestseller in ten or twenty years - or even after I die!

Remember, with Xanatos thinking, you're the winner - no matter what!


  1. Nice! Do you know who I first thought of when I read the definition of this? JR Ewing from Dallas! LOL. There's been reruns on tv and I'm telling you, that was one soap opera character who had Xanatos Gambits!

  2. I must check it out :) I've never watched much Dallas but since I was born in the 1980s and named Ellen a few people assumed my mother had named me after Sue-Ellen. Which she did not :)

  3. I like it! I'd like to have this kind of situation right now.

  4. It's a win-win situation! Now this is what I call positive thinking! :-)
    Take care

  5. Love this, Ellen, thanks so much for the healthy attitude about publishing.

  6. Now I have another way to look at strategy. Never heard of this but then I don't wage many wars. All good to know.

  7. Good strategy Ellen. Thank you. Also thanks for the alert re Talli.


  8. I've been wondering how to pass on my torch when I die, now I have something to look forward to. Zooming over to LegalZoom and adding that posthumorous thing pronto!


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