Writer + Tenacity = Success

It’s easy on the bad days to say, “I’m going to quit writing.” But I always come back to it’s too important to give up. Whether you want to call that purpose, determination, or endurance, it’s what has kept me going.

In the early 80s I wrote several novels, took a correspondence course in writing for children, and wrote and wrote. In 1990, I was finally brave enough to attend my first writer’s conference and found a critique group—best thing I ever did for my writing. It’s when I got serious about writing.

My first magazine short story for children came out in 1992; my first one for an adult magazine came out in 1994. Meanwhile, I started writing book reviews for a magazine called Small Press Magazine, then several other periodicals. I kept writing novels, including children’s novels, along with short stories and articles. In 1998, I sold a children’s early middle grade novel to a small press. In 1999, I sold a picture book to another small press.

Fast forward to 2015. Now with over a 160 magazine credits, I’ve done ten work-for-hire books for educational publishers. Late in the year, an adult novel I wrote in the early 80s and periodically revised, submitted and got rejected during the 90s, nudged me for attention. On rereading, I still liked it. However, I also discovered how much needed fixing. I’d learned a lot since I’d last revised. In the process of editing this time, I cut 11,000 words.

In early 2016, I submitted it again, got a contract! Woo Hoo! After a number of rounds of edits, the novel ALONE came out as an ebook from Clean Reads this summer. Obviously, this was not a fast success story for this novel. But I know I’m not the only writer who has struggled.

Many well-known writers have fought to succeed too:

After five years of continual rejection, Agatha Christie finally landed a publishing deal.

Five publishers rejected L.M. Montgomery‘s debut novel Anne of Green Gables.

It took W. Somerset Maugham ten years before he achieved his first great success.

Barbara Kingsolver: “I have to write hundreds of pages before I get to page one.”

John Scalzi wrote his first novel in 1997—not published. Wrote his second in 2001 and it became his debut in 2005.

Writer of westerns Louis L’Amour received 200 rejections before he was published.

Peter Benchley’s publishers rejected the first 100 pages of Jaws and he had to start the book over.

J.K. Rowling says before her first book sold, “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

24 literary agencies turned down The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was rejected by 25 literary agents.

Kathryn Stockett‘s The Help was rejected 60 times.

A number of these books were made into movies or TV shows. More importantly, what they all have in common is the hard work and persistence of their authors. That should encourage us all to keep going.


sue-fordAbout SM Ford

SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too.

When she was 13 she got hooked on Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, although she has been a reader as long as she can remember, and is an eclectic reader. Inspirational authors she enjoys include: Francine Rivers, Bodie Thoene, Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, and many more.

SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, but has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She loves assisting other writers on their journeys.

Twitter: @SMFordwriter

Facebook: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Amazon Author Page