Friday, July 9, 2010

The 3 P's to Writing Success by Gini Koch, Part 3

Alright folks, today we bring you the exciting conclusion to the 3 P's to Writing Success by Gini Koch, author of the fun and fabulous Touched By An Alien which is out now and Alien Tango which releases Dec of this year.

Check out the first and second P's, Professionalism and Patience, here and here.

Now, let's dive into the last and my favorite, Perseverance.

Part Three

Okey dokey, you’re acting all professional and you’re now just letting the wait time fly by because you’re so focused on writing. So, what happens now, when, well, nothing happens? You do what every author you’ve ever read or heard of does -- you keep on keeping on.

There is nothing -- not talent, no luck, no skill, no fortune -- that can win out over perseverance. Water patiently wears down rock, and as long as you persevere, you can achieve anything.

Perseverance is what keeps you going when your beta readers say your book is a complete mess. It’s what enables you to take the latest rejection, sigh, turn around and sub to the next market or agent. It’s what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the successful from the wannabes and never weres.

Perseverance is also what helps you go to one more writer’s conference. Try one more market. Give yet another story idea a go. It’s what you need to finish a book or short story, get a short story published, find an agent for that book, get a publisher, and then hit the shelves.

Want to know what the definition of a published author is? Someone who never gave up.

Perseverance is necessary once you have an agent and publisher, too. Because you need to continue on. Harper Lee did indeed write a Great American Novel. But it’s all she ever wrote. Truman Capote wrote great works, but none compare to “To Kill a Mockingbird”…however, Capote was published over and over again. Why? They were contemporaries and BFFs. But Capote persevered and continued on and Lee didn’t.

Are you Harper Lee or Truman Capote? Probably not. But they both persevered; Capote just persevered more, and so, was published more.

Louis L’Amour is the King of Perseverance. The man was rejected over 350 times (close to 400) before he sold one thing. He’d send a short out, get whatever his number of rejections was for when he decided it wasn’t going to sell, turn the story over and put it into a box, and then send the next story out. He wrote and wrote and subbed and subbed. And how he’s Louis L’Amour -- you know the name even if you’ve never read a single thing he’s written. Because he persevered and became the name in Western fiction.

Oh, and that box he put all those rejected stories into? When he passed away, his family found it, turned the stories over…and they’ve all, all, been published now. Most of his South Seas stories were in that box, along with many others. His family and estate thank him for that box.

Let’s look at more recent examples. J.K. Rowling was rejected all over the place before she finally landed an agent. And her first three books were middling successes in the U.K. It took Scholastic coming to the Frankfurt book fair, and her publisher putting “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (the title was changed to Sorcerer’s Stone for American audiences) out at that book fair, and the Scholastic editor recognizing that this was a book that could be huge in the U.S., for her to become, by the time Book 4 hit the shelves, a huge success. That was years of work and perseverance to become the bestselling author of our age and the richest woman in England.

Personally, I had well over 100 rejections before I sold a single humorous short. I had over 100 more before I landed my agent. I still get rejected. Ray Bradbury still gets rejected, so, really, it’s hard to complain. I get rejected just like the Grand Masters do. So, you got rejected? So what? Cry me a river and let me know when you pass up Louis L’Amour’s rejection level…I might have sympathy for you then. But I doubt it.

Why am I not sympathetic about this? Because, whining about rejections doesn’t get you published. Perseverance gets you published.

Gini’s Motto: For every setback, every disappointment, every roadblock, every hurdle, every painful experience on the way to publishing success, I have a simple response -- write another book.

So…what are you waiting for? Go on…and write another book. And another. And another. Follow the Three P’s and you’ll find that at least one of those books will be where you want it to be -- on the shelves of the bookstore, and in readers’ hands.

Gini Koch speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. The first book in her Alien series, “Touched by an Alien”, released April 6, 2010 from DAW Books, receiving a starred review from Booklist as well as other excellent reviews. “Touched by an Alien” has also been named by Booklist as one of the Top 10 adult SF/F novels of 2010. “Alien Tango” releases December 7, 2010, and “Alien in the Family” releases April 5, 2011, with “Alien Proliferation” following later in 2011. You can reach Gini at her website,, or via email,

Many thanks to the incomparable Gini Koch for this awesome series. I know I've learned a lot and I hope you all have too. As always, feel free to ask Gini any questions you may have in the comments. :D


Danielle said...

Great motto!

Great post!

Wonderful motivation!

Another example; Aussie YA author, Rebecca James, who sent her manuscript to every agent/publisher in Australia and was rejected by them all. On a whim she sent her MS to a UK agent who ended up selling it at the Frankfurt Book Fair for.... $1 million

It doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen!

Subsequently, I've had my first short-story published. $100. I'm a little bit chuffed :)

Gini Koch said...

That's great, Danielle! Congrats on both the publication and the money! (I'm not an author who's only doing it for the love of the thing -- if that were the case, I wouldn't bother to go through the submission and rejection process. LOL). What publication is it in and when will it be out/where can we find it?

Amber Scott said...

Wow! Awesome. Now I know what a football player before the big game feels like. Inspired and tough and ready to come out baring teeth and fighting.
Thank you, Gini!!!

Gini Koch said...

LOL, thanks Amber. Now, go out and get 'em!

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