Persistence Pays: Getting Published as a New Writer

writingThis is a reprint of an article that appeared on my Lori Soard website years ago. However, the advice in it is still pertinent to those just getting started in writing. I think you’ll find it helpful. I’ve updated it in places.

For example, the beautiful and talented Nancy Akers offered some thoughts for this article. I don’t want to take out her input, because it was brilliant, but I edited to reflect that she is no longer with us.

Hope you enjoy “Persistence Pays”.

So, you want to be a writer? You want the glamour of seeing your name in print, your brainchild worshiped by the masses, your vision shining brightly from the shelf in your local bookstore? So… How does persistence pay?

Nancy Akers, late published author of of fifteen historicals, constantly submitted proposals for a period of two years before selling her sixth novel. She says she was playing the numbers game, knowing that eventually an editor would like something she wrote.

Persistence equals success?

So, how does one become a successful writer? Maggie Davis submitted her first novel for over a year, before McGraw-Hill bought it. Since that time, Maggie has published dozens of novels and had one turned into a made-for-television movie.

“If it is to be, it’s up to me”

This is Joan Overfield’s favorite quote. She says she heard Sandra Brown say it at a conference and it stuck with her.

But, for the new writer, it’s hard to see any tangible proof of the hard work – no sales and no paycheck. Those with a deep seated need to write have little choice, though. They simply must write.

Some might hide their manuscripts in the closet, write after everyone’s in bed and make up stories in their heads. However, they never truly give up the dream of writing and having that writing get the appreciation it deserves. The only way to achieve a dream is by focusing on it.

How does one focus and persist after rejections?

At some point, every author will go through a time when she simply wants to throw down her pen and recapture her life. Can she turn her back on writing when her blood boils to achieve success? This burning desire to simply write, this fierce need is what eventually leads one to success.

For some, the bell of success seems to toll instantly upon submitting, while others endure years of rejections. Fern Michaels’ first submission was published. Success, however, is never an easy road and every writer has obstacles to overcome. With nearly 50 best-selling novels, even Fern’s road was not smooth.

“My husband. He had no faith in me at all. I was too dumb at the time not to be self-confident,” she said.

Other big name authors stuck with it and overcame their own obstacles.

“[There was a] lack of support from those I cared about and disbelief on their part that I would attempt such a ‘crazy’ prospect.” – Stella Cameron

“It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have time to write, even with five kids, including a baby. I quickly learned to do what was absolutely necessary, and how to say ‘no’ to what wasn’t.” – Karen Templeton

Persistence Isn’t a One-Time Endeavor

Persistence doesn’t end after publication. Writers like Nora Roberts, with over one hundred published novels, can tell you that persistence is not only the key to getting published but to staying published. What were her road blocks? Nora confides, “All of the above! When Silhouette opened up in 1980, looking specifically for new American writers, it was my small miracle.”

Those with a passion for the written word have little choice but to follow where it leads them. Like a siren’s song, this fierce need to share the stories invading their thoughts is an addiction. But, the road to success is long and hard for most. If your abilities are well honed, persistence will pay in the end.

And, the checks will be made out to you!

Lori Soard started Word Museum in 1997. She’s a published author and has written thousands of articles over the years for newspapers, magazines and online. She has a PhD in Journalism and lives in Southern Indiana with her husband. They have two grown daughters, both animal lovers their house is always filled with pets.

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