Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Perseverance: The Key to Publishing

Post by Kerrie
*Book giveaway info at the end of the post*

Perseverance can pay off. Twenty years ago, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen set out to publish their book; a collection of short personal essays meant to encourage and inspire readers. After securing an agent they all went to New York to personally pitch the book idea to the major publishing houses. More than 30 publishers said, "no," and their agent let them go. But instead of giving up, Canfield and Hansen said, "next."

A few months later they attended the American Booksellsers Association convention in California. They walked from booth to booth, talking to any publisher who would listen. At the end of the first day not one publisher showed any interest. They did the same thing the next day and after hours of pitching their book, still no luck.

There last hope was Heath Communications Inc., a struggling publisher specializing in addiction and recovery books. Canfield and Hansen talked with the co-presidents who agreed to look over the first 30 stories in the book. A week later they got a call and HCI became the official publisher of the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. That first book went on to sell over 8 million copies and now there are over 200 Chicken Soup for Soul titles and they are still going strong.

I think the lesson here is crystal clear: perseverance pays off. Many writers would have given up after an agent handed them back their manuscript and said I can't help you. But Canfield and Hansen believed in their book and were not ready to file it away.

I think we sometimes forget that ALL authors have been rejected by publishers and agents. Before Stephen King was "Stephen King," all his rejections hung on his wall on a big nail spike. The first book Dr. Seuss wrote, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times, Madeline L'Engle's masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time faced rejection 26 times and more recently Kathryn Stockett, author of the best-selling book, The Help, received 60 no's before she finally got a yes.

The bottom line is you can't give up! If you believe in your book or your article or short story...or whatever it is you are writing and you want to see it published, then you are going to have to persevere in order to see it in print.

Jack Canfield in his book, The Success Principles (one of my all time favorite books), says it best.
"Get used to the idea that there is going to be a lot of rejection along the way to the gold ring. The secret to success is to not give up. When someone says no, you say, "Next!"... Remember, there are over 5 billion people on the planet! Someone, somewhere, sometime will say yes. Don't get stuck in your fear or resentment. Move on to the next person. It is a numbers game. Someone is waiting to say yes."

How are you persevering with your writing? 

**I am giving away copy of the newly released, Chicken Soup for the Soul Answered Prayers, co-authored by my good friend and NCW member, LeAnn Thieman. Leave a comment if you want to be entered into the drawing on Saturday at noon (MST).** Congratulations to Jerry Eckert who won the drawing. 


La Reine (whoiamisme) said...

Sometimes its very easy to forget. But our heros and inspirations didn't get there by giving up. Perserverance is a small key that opens lots of doors, eventually :)

C.G.Harris said...

Great post. Sometimes patience and frustration get the best of all of us. It's people like you and those at NCW that keep us all going.

Dean K Miller said...

No doubt, timing is everything. 30 minutes before reading this, I heard the words "Go the distance" as I was watching the movie Field of Dreams (Fave!), now this saying the same thing. Makes it pretty hard to miss the message.

Setting some things aside, creating time and space of what I have now has helped. Lots of encouragement from NCW types always helps, too!

Jerry Eckert said...

I don't know about the Chicken Soup guys, but perseverance pays off best for me if, after every 10-12-15 rejections, I read the hand writing on the wall and do another edit. Usually this means a slash and burn, take no prisoners edit, in which unneeded words/phrases/sentences/sections just disappear. Killing babies is such agony, but necessary.

John Paul McKinney said...

The temptation to throw in the towel can be overwhelming at times. This is a powerful reminder to "hang in there" Thanks, Kerrie

Kerrie said...

Thank you all for stopping by and I am glad that encouragement and support from NCW has helped some of you along the way. That makes me very happy.

LaReine: You are so right, "Perserverance is a small key that opens lots of doors, eventually"
C.G: I can't imagine you getting frustrated...;-)
Dean: I love how you are always open to and paying attention to the messages and "signs" all around you.
Jerry: another edit never hurts.
John Paul: You're welcome.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Like Jerry, I figure a few rejections means time for a rewrite (or at least another round of editing). This applies to query letters and partials as well as full manuscripts.

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