Trying to get published can be an extraordinarily frustrating experience. The key is to not get discouraged. Too often writers get a few rejection slips and give up. That is not the way to get published! You have to keep at it. Send out those lit mag submissions. Send out your latest poem. Send your book proposal to yet another agent or publisher. In my latest book, the most cogent advice offered is to not give up. Persistence is the only guarantee to publication.
There are some writers for whom publication is easy. Most of us aren't those people. We have to keep working at it, revising our work, improving it, and sending it out again and again.
It can be frustrating, but it also can result in reward. I love the story of Selden Edwards, which is included in my new book, Navigating the Rough Waters of Today's Publishing World.
For more than thirty years, Edwards worked consistently on a novel, crafting, revising, rewriting. Finally, after receiving rejection after rejection, in 2007, Edwards sent it to a content editor in New York who had been recommended to him. Patrick LoBrutto, a former editor with a number of New York publishers including Ace Books, Doubleday, M. Evans, Kensington, Stealth Press (an Internet publisher) and Bantam, worked with Edwards on the book for several months. Finally, satisfied that it was ready, LoBrutto told Scott Miller, an agent with Trident Media Group in New York, about the book and suggested Edwards send it to him. Nine days after Edwards sent off the manuscript, Miller called and offered to represent him. Two weeks later, Dutton’s Penguin imprint bought the novel for $750,000.
The Little Book was published in fall 2008. It’s a tale of time travel and improbable encounters between a 1980s rock star, Wheeler Burden, and famous people from 1897 Vienna, including Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler.
Before long The Little Book was on a number of national bestseller lists, including the Indy List top 10 and The New York Times list. It also was chosen for a number of “Best of 2008” lists. When the paperback came out, it was chosen as Costco’s book of the month in the company’s newsletter, which goes to eight million people.
Edwards has been walking on clouds ever since, and sold a second novel to Dutton on the strength of The Little Book’s sales. This is a story of hard work, yes, but also of perseverance. Edwards toiled for a long time, rewriting and revising. Ultimately, it paid off.
Don't be discouraged. Keep sending out your work. And don't lose faith.