Many years ago, when I first started writing novels, I clipped bits of articles on the subject and stuck them on the wall above my computer. The number of clippings grew and I taped them together until I had several strings of these gems of wisdom from published authors. One day, in a bout of office cleaning--and finding many of the clippings were yellow with age--I pulled them all down and read them. And then I learned the secret of success as a writer: Persistence.
Article after article mentioned persistence as an important--if not the most important--ingredient. And I'm living proof that it's true. In December, Avalon Books will publish SOUTHERN STAR, a romance novel a friend and I wrote twenty-six years ago.
Of course, it's not exactly the same book. Besides a few title changes, and an entirely new scene added, I improved it over the years, as I learned my craft. But the characters, the plot, the complications which led to the HEA ending, remained the same. Without going through the fat file containing copies of my letters and the rejections, I can't tell you how many times I submitted the book to publishers since 1984, but, just since 2002, (when I began to keep track on three-by-five cards) it went out nineteen times. In fact, Avalon rejected it twice.
What this tells me is that, when you have a good story, you should never give up trying to sell it.
Sure, I had to add cell phones and update the language and references, but I never gave up my belief in the worth of the core romance. I just had to keep trying until the right person--even in this difficult time for the publishing industry--saw what I saw and liked it.
Since 1984, I've sold nine other romance novels (including my very first one (which I wrote in 1975 and sold in 1986), so maybe I'm just a slow learner. But this one is particularly gratifying to me, and I hope my experience will inspire other writers to hold to their vision. A writer who hasn't sold her novel isn't a failure. She's a not-yet-published author, and time and persistence may make her dreams come true, as they did for me.