Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This may be my middle name. I often tell people that I sold the first book I wrote and that it had been re-written 17 times. This may be a slight exaggeration but it's true about the revisions. This was in the days when publishers nourished writers. Each rejection pointed a different thing that I had to work on to make the book ready to print. What I received from these generous editors was a crash course in writing. I can remember some of the comments. "Dialogue stilted." So I went in and made the dialogue much clearer and specific to each character. "Are they living in a vacuum?" This time I went back to put in settings. Some pointed out flaws in the plot and I worked on those. You get the picture. What persistence did way pay off by a sale. That book was reprinted in England and was serialized in a weekly paper. All these things brought in a bit of money. Another thing I learned from all this was to work on each book until it was finished. No jumping around to starting a book and hitting a stone wall and putting it aside. I chip at the wall until there's a break through.

So if you feel discouraged, just remember that persistence pays. I have my dream now. I'm no NY Times best seller but I have fans who will buy everything I write. And they're growing in number. That's another reward of persistence.


Taryn Kincaid said...

I hear ya. Good advice.

Unlike you, though, there are people who never really learn from their mistakes, and never really listen to the good advice they get. They may be committed to getting something publishyed, but they're not actually committed to improving themselves or their craft, no matter how many clinics and conferences and seminars they sign up for. They may be persistent, but often they're just spinning their wheels.

They key is to listen and to absorb. Not just go around and around on the carousel, hoping to snatch a gold ring.

Jeannie said...

You were lucky to get those kinds of rejections. Those are very rare these days, most of the time you get two little lines: “Thank you for your interest in - Insert Name of Publisher Here. - Unfortunately, we will not be offering a contract for publication.” Then it’s followed by “Best of luck finding a publisher for your ms/work/writing.” It’s hard to get those year after year, book after book. Then you get that rare rejection which does offer some clues, but by then, it’s too late. Nowhere left to go. I’ve put nearly 20 years of time and money into several genres, deciding to write what I want to write, what I like to read, what I’m having fun with, etc., and never even got out of the gate. At some point, persistence turns to hitting your head against a brick wall that’s never going to give.