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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What It Takes to Make It

by Gina Holmes

I'm going to share a secret with you. Making it in the publishing business isn't easy. (Yeah, some secret, you're probably saying. Everybody knows that.) Yeah, well did you know that most of us have been rejected so much and so often, early on, that we've given up at least a bazillion times? 

That's right. We gave up. And then we gave in. And then we gave it our all ... again.
Gina's latest release

When I look at old pictures of the folks I started this writing journey with, I don't remember some of them, because I never heard or saw from them again. Others, I'm still close to, but they've detoured onto other life pursuits. All of which are every bit as worthy as writing.

Some have gone on to self-publish, which, surprise-surprise, has turned out to be a not-so-bad proposition for them, despite all we'd been told, and observed years back.

But the ones who went on to become traditionally published, were dogged in their desire to be. They knew what they wanted and no, 'don't call us, we'll call you', in the world was going to detour them from the path.

Some were, and are, great writers, some were not so good but now are. All who stuck with it have gone on to be published.  

That's the secret to making it in this business. Sticktoitivness. 

Yes, you need to learn the rules. Yes, you then need to know when, why and how to break them. Yes, you should read and apply Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Techniques of the Selling Writer, and other how to writing books. Yes, you should join a critique group, attend writers conferences, and all the rest.

But if you look around you (figuratively, I don't mean right now at your coffee cup, messy desk and the cat laying across your keyboard), you will see the faces of other writers who will fall by the wayside. Why? Not because they can't write well. Many people who can't write all that well go on to be published. (No names please, lest mine be thrown into the conversation.) 

The ones who will fail, will fail because they give up too soon. Often, an inch or two before reaching the summit.

It's okay to quit, guys. Just not today. Quit tomorrow. Today: write, submit, cry, write again, submit again. 

Perseverance baby. It's the only thing that'll take you there. Shhhh, don't tell.

Gina is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year in 2013 by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. Her latest novel, Driftwood Tides is in stores now. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visit


  1. Write on, baby. Dogged determination can't be bought. With you.

  2. Indeed, every word is true! I remember when each new year came, we said to each other (you, Jessica, and me), "This is the year!" We wrote, critiqued, applied what we'd learned, and kept at it. I always look back and think what if I'd given up? I never would have made it.

    But I went into this gig, like you and Jess, with a focused goal in mind. Giving up wasn't part of that plan. I never stopped to think about how long the journey was. I just kept going.

    I think the best way to avoid total discouragement is to enjoy the journey. I've made wonderful friends along the way. You and Jess are BFFs. Michelle and Lisa are steady contacts in my life.

    I wouldn't have them if I'd given up. Great post, Gina!!

  3. When I look back at the ones I started with, I'm proud of them. Most of us have been published both traditionally and indy. Many have also started support businesses--craft mentoring, cover design, editing, marketing. One of my friends from "the day" is now an agent, another is the brain and power behind Realm Makers. They're not just friends, they're a wonderful network of business contacts. This is one industry in which its members are firm believers in paying it forward. I love my job!

  4. Thanks Bethany! Ane, it's been a great journey with you! Linda, it's amazing, isn't it? Who'd a thunk everyone would become what they ultimately do, ourselves included.

  5. Another well-known and successful writer once told me getting (trad)published was more about perseverance than talent. As you noted, G, both are evident in some books. I admire everyone who "sticks to it". Me? I'm a stubborn woman, but . . .

  6. Gina, So very true. I've written that part of success in writing is growing in the craft (and you can't do that if you don't write), part of it is being in the right place at the right time (and you can't do that if you quit and stay "quitted."), and part of it is the old "behind in chair, fingers on keyboard" we've all had drilled into us. Thanks for the reminder. So glad you and the other folks at Novel Rocket didn't give up.

  7. Your words of encouragement came to me while I leaned over the bridge looking down into the moving waters of quitting.

    Thank you.

  8. Leah, don't ever give up!! It took me years longer than my crit partners, but if I'd given up, I wouldn't have a published book today. You only fail when you give up!


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