Perseverance Really Is Key
A few weeks ago, author Sandie Bricker wrote a guest post about how she followed her “writer GPS” to find the genre in which she could successfully break into publishing. There was an important lesson in the comments to that post. Sandie’s former agent, Steve Laube, chimed and and mentioned that when he’d been representing her back in 2004 and 2005 and submitting her projects to publishers, they received 100% rejections. Sandie hadn’t hit her stride. Nowadays, her biggest struggle is keeping up with her deadlines. She’s had three books published in the last 18 months, and she has five more contracted and scheduled for release.
Another one of my clients, Kathi Lipp (who has been a guest blogger several times) is a non-fiction author who spent ten years platform-building and submitting proposals to publishers. Exactly two years ago she received her first contract; we’re now getting her contracted for her fifth book (details to come).
I first met retired physician Dr. Richard Mabry at the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference back in 2005. He’d been studying and writing fiction, and submitted his early novels to me and several other editors. He didn’t get picked up by a publisher – his writing wasn’t ready. Flash forward a few years: Dr. Mabry signed his first contract for a novel 18 months ago and it’s releasing in a couple of weeks, and we just got him signed up for books #2 and #3. (Click on his name to visit his blog and see a picture of him holding the very first copy of Code Blue.)
My point? Hang in there, folks! Every author, agent and editor has stories like this. It doesn’t happen right away. You may not be ready when you think you are. But if you really want to be published, the best approach is to persevere even in the face of disappointment and weariness and frustration. Determine to learn from every rejection, even if no feedback is offered with it. Pay attention to feedback when you do get it – from agents, editors, readers and critique partners. Follow your writer-GPS even if it leads you towards a genre you didn’t originally set out to write. Be open to learning from everyone who has something helpful to say.
In this business, perseverance is the name of the game.
Q4U: Are you encouraged when you hear stories of success after long years of trying, or does it discourage you?
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent