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Writers Who Want To Get Published Don’t Give Up

August 31, 2011 by Giulietta Nardone

I’m not sure any of my essays would have been published if I’d given up.

Submissions got lost. Email got deleted. Editors got deluged.

If you care about your writing and want it to be published, then you need to keep sending it out and following up. But don’t follow up with, “I’m following up.” Follow up with more reasons why your essay or story will connect with the publication’s readers or with a new essay.  Sometimes it’s easier to sell the older one by getting your foot in the door with a newer one.

I’d like to share a story about a writer who refused to give up. It comes from Stand and Deliver by Dale Carnegie Training.

A laundry worker making $60 a week at his job wanted to be a writer. He spent his nights and weekends typing manuscripts to send to publishers and agents. All were rejected. Finally, a warm, more personal rejection letter came in the mail … The publisher said his writing wasn’t good enough yet, but encouraged him to keep writing and submitting.

He sent two more manuscripts to that publisher over the next 18 months. He struck out with both.  Almost broke, he and his wife had to disconnect their TV to pay for their child’s medicine.

Frustrated, he took his latest manuscript and threw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and sent it to that same publisher.

Stephen King’s book Carrie sold more than 5 million copies and became one of the top-grossing films in 1976.

It’s not easy being a writer or a painter or anything else that requires creativity of mind, body and soul. It requires unrelenting persistence and self belief, especially in the face of rejections.

Recall these related words from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Got any stories about not giving up on your life? Love to hear below …

Thx, G.

p.s. Got a few on-line writing adventures coming up at Story Circle. If you dare, check them out …

Shh! Secrets to Writing Powerful, Provocative, and Publishable Personal Essays


Spice Up Your Blog Posts with Personality

Also Samantha Bangayan interviewed me for Yellow Brick Road. It’s called, How to Live Fearlessly.”

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10 responses to “Writers Who Want To Get Published Don’t Give Up”

  1. Sara says:

    My favorite story about myself was when I applied to Grad school. Because my GRE test scores (the grad school test) were not very high, but my grades were consistently good, it was recommended I see a psychologist before I applied.

    This psychologist had strong beliefs about birth order and success in school. He told me I would not succeed in grad school. He went on and on about it. It was disheartening, but I was determined and did apply.

    After being interviewed by several people on the Application Committee, I was eventually accepted.

    It wasn’t easy. I had to really study, but I did graduate and got my MSW degree.

    Much later, I took a test about personal strengths. One of my highest strengths is “persistence.” I chuckled over that for quite a while, remembering the psychologist.
    Sara recently posted..Story Photo Challenge: Solve the Mystery

    • Great story Sara.

      It’s so disheartening when folks decide for you if you will succeed. Think the birth order thing has more to do with obedience than anything real. Parents get less strict as each new child enters the scene. They just don’t have the time.

      Think of all the less persistent folks, who believed what such psychologists said. One of the reasons I’m so anti-test. Can be such a false sorter.

      Congrats for staying the course!


  2. Michael says:

    Stories? Not yet, but I’m working on it. 😉

    (P.S. Your Comment Luv is flashing messages that you need to update it. FYI.)
    Michael recently posted..i don’t know stephen elliott

  3. Wow, Julie! I was completely taken aback by Stephen King’s story. What a surprise that he started as a laundry worker and was on the verge of giving up! Now *that’s* inspiration. I’ll be remembering this story every time I face rejection in the future. To be honest, I’m still scared of even putting my novel together. I guess I have to take baby steps. =)

    And thank you so much for linking to my article!! =) I really appreciate it! =)

    • Hi Samantha,

      Lots of big name writers faced mounds of rejection letters. Yet, they kept going.

      One way to start your novel without scaring yourself is to start with an essay and expand it from there.

      I’m bought a notebook just for my book and try to write one paragraph or page a day. That way it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

      Best wishes for your novel!


  4. J.D. Meier says:

    That’s a beautiful and inspiring story, and it’s amazing what’s possible with the power of persistence.

    • Hi J.D.,

      Most people who make it dedicated a lot of time to doing so. We just see the success when that success was built on a lot of failures.

      That’s something more folks need to be encouraged to do – fail. If you’re afraid to fail you will never succeed. It concerns me that all this testing of children makes them more afraid than ever to fail.

      Persistent folks push through their failures.


  5. Hi, Giulietta. Yep, this is a story I keep coming back to when I get discouraged about writing books. Who could not get inspired by this? And love the quote — Ralph E. knows his stuff. Great post and thanks for the reminder. — S
    Sherry Zander recently posted..What Would I Do If I Did Not Blog?

    • Hi Sherry,

      Great to have you swing by. Many stories of authors getting rejected. We rarely see the “behind the success scenes.” If we did, folks would know that it take hard work and persistence. Instead it’s presented as rare talent that many feel they could not possibly have no matter what they do. Hope to reverse that! Thanks, G.

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