Persistence is a word often thrown around in publishing. If an author writes books and is persistent, she’ll get published.
Persistence has many faces. It can help a person get a promotion at work, lose weight, or even get your kids to clean their bedrooms when their junk drifts into the hallway. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always yelling!
It would be nice if getting published was as easy as making kids pick up their messes. Selling a book basically comes down to part stubbornness, part learning craft, and part finding the right story to hook an editor.
It took me seventeen years, many unsold manuscripts, and a fabulous agent to sell my little courtesan matchmaker book to Berkley. And mine wasn’t an easy road to publication. I have a file stuffed with tear-stained rejection letters to show for those unpublished years. If that isn’t persistence, I don’t know what is! But those letters also let me know I was on track as I studied craft and learned stuff like not starting a book from a horse’s POV (who knew?).
Those first letters began as “Dear Author” photo-copied form letters (with my first book) and slowly morphed (with subsequent manuscripts) into “Dear Ms. Smith, thanks but no thanks…” to “Dear Cheryl Smith, I love your voice but the story just isn’t quite what we’re looking for. Please consider me with future projects….”
I’ve been rejected by the best! But persistence kept me slogging forward when I thought a job as French-fry girl at McDonalds might be my future. Well, persistence and the overwhelming drive to write stuff. Every time I thought I’d quit writing and get a ‘real job’, a fun storyline would pop into my head and I’d be off to the races again!
So, yes, persistence is a key part of getting published. Mix that with a strong spine and the willingness to take the hard lumps with the good stuff in order to succeed. It will be worth it in the end!
Yesterday’s winner, by random number generator, is…Wendy! Congratulations, Wendy, and be sure to send me an email with your mailing address so I can get your package in the mail!