If we are honest, not every day in publishing is fun. Sometimes it feels like we are running in a long-term race and we wonder how in the world we will be able to finish. Yet even in those difficult days, I continue hitting the keyboard and cranking out words and stories. Other days I spend on the phone with authors or answering emails and questions about contracts or other issues.
Yet in the midst of the opportunities or challenges, I continue helping authors create new books through my work as an acquisitions editor. I continue to write for new blogs or magazines and working on my social media and growing my own measure of influence in the marketplace. I continue the work because I believe in the life-changing effects of books. I know that first hand as I explained in this short video several years ago:
Often we can't see the results of our writing and how it is affecting others. Recently I was listening to actress Lauren Graham's memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can. I enjoyed this story she told about bestselling author James Patterson. Graham was in Atlanta and about to begin filming Middle School, based on the books by Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. At the cast dinner, Graham was seated next to Patterson. She turned and asked him a question that he had probably been asked many times, “How do you do it?”
“He turned to and said, “Keep going, keep going, keep going.”
I found this story encouraging that even mega-bestselling author like James Patterson has to use this mantra of keep going. Each of face different curve balls along the publishing journey. Maybe your editor leaves the publishing house and you have to work with a different editor. Maybe your publishing house closes or gets sold to another publisher.
Maybe you face an unexpected family crisis of health or any number of other situations. The challenges of life are plenty for everyone and enough for some people to throw in the towel and not move forward. From my experience and listening to numerous stories from bestselling authors, the people who succeed and write their bestseller or find their best publishing opportunity, are the ones who keep going.
Many authors give up too early in the process and do not keep looking for the right publisher at the right time and the right place.
As someone who has been studying about publishing for many years, admittedly there is a lot to learn for every writer. You need to learn how to craft a pitch to an editor or a literary agent. You need to learn how to write excellent stories and then do the long-term work of telling people about your book (marketing).
I love the advice best-selling author Harvey MacKay gave in this recent article called Never Give Up. MacKay gives terrific specific details in this article and then he always has a summary statement that he calls a MacKay Moral: The hardest sale you'll ever make is to yourself. But once you're convinced you can do it, you can.
When you face the bump in the road of your writing life, I encourage you to keep going.
When your writing is challenging, read this encouragement. (ClickToTweet)
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers and his writing has been published in more than 60 magazines. His latest book is Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. Terry and his wife Christine live in Colorado.