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Friday, March 18, 2016

Revealed! The Secret to Publishing ~ Ruth Logan Herne

The Secret Revealed
Ruth Logan Herne

There is no big secret to writing. There is no easy path for 99% of us, there are no short-cuts, and there really isn’t a lot of money that needs to be spent because the secret to becoming a published author isn’t much of a secret at all: Write, write, write.

Hi, I’m Ruthy, and I’m a pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps woman who has raised six amazing kids, all college educated with multiple Ivy League degrees among them. Between the six, they’ve attained myriads of awards and accolades and all the pomp and circumstance their waitress mother and grocery store worker father could give them. We might not match them in education, but we taught them three important things. To love God, to reach for the stars, and to never quit.

I have no fancy degrees after my name. I have no capital letters or sheets of parchment, but what I do have is a God-given talent and the tenacity to stick to the long-range plan. And that plan, once my kids were fairly well launched, was to become a multi-published author with books that boost women with faith, hope and love. With over ¾ million books sold, I am living my dream, but there were no secrets in this amazing and wonderful success… think milk-the-cows-daily hard work, and a true love for what I’m doing!

  1. Believe in yourself: Embrace your desire, your goals and your talent. Read what you love, and then write the kind of books you love to read! Often there’s a direct relationship between the kind of author style that ‘speaks’ to you, and your untapped talent. I realized I gravitate to storytellers. English veterinarian/author James Herriot, LaVyrle Spencer, James Michener, Karen White and many others.

  1. Study craft books if that’s your style of learning. It is not mine. I don’t read craft books, I don’t open them, and when well-meaning people send them to me, I donate them to others. Trust your own personal learning style, but you can only do this if you’re not afraid to listen to criticism and adjust as needed.

  1. Write, write, write. I write 1000 words/day, every day. I’ve done this for years, and did it long before I got “The Call”. Now that I’m semi-retired, I write more than that, but while working a full-time job I wrote 1000 words/day, every day. That is 365,000 words/year. If you take out Sundays, that’s 313,000 words/year. That’s over three full-length novels and five of my Love Inspireds. That’s a lot of books!

  1. Envision your success. Visualize your work ethic. Stay focused and turn off the negative voices of doubt. Command your own ship and chart your own course. Do you know how many folks told me that farm kids don’t end up in Ivy League schools? I didn’t listen. Do you know how many people told me that poor kids from hovels can’t succeed? I didn’t listen. Do you know how many folks thought I was crazy, a waitress with a dream to be a published author? (shakes her head, laughing) I did not listen to any of that. Instead, focus on the positive people who share your dream and support your goals. They may not be the closest people to you (and often aren’t!) but that doesn’t matter. They will cheer each minor step of your journey and that’s a huge blessing.

  1. From Good Will Hunting: (Matt Damon as Will, talking to a Harvard guy): “And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an bleepin’ education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.”

I had no money when I started this gig. I had two jobs and six kids—four in college and two still in high school. I babysat for a lovely group of cute kids every day, eleven hour days, and then went to the restaurant (and then a bridal store eleven years later) to work at night. I took every romance out of the library that I could get my hands on, and they didn’t stock a lot. I read and studied timing, pacing, plot and began writing at four AM every day. And I learned. Now that might not work for everyone, because here’s the biggest and best advice I can give you, re-stated.

  1. There are no short-cuts. There are no gimmes. There are no hand-outs, and the best habit you can develop is the self-discipline to write, write, write. And then edit and write some more. But here’s the thing…(leans closer)… if you love this gig? If you love it the way I do, because you’ve waited all your life to do it and now you are? Then you’ll do it because on the very worst day, I still have the very best job on earth. And I couldn’t be happier!

About Ruth Logan Herne

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream with over ¾ million books in print. A mother and grandmother, she lives on a small upstate New York farm with her husband, dogs, cats, chickens and a revolving door of small children and their parents in and out of the house. She can often be found hiding in a nook or cranny, scribbling away.

Keep up with Ruth Logan Herne at, on Facebook (ruthloganherne), on Twitter (@ruthloganherne), or on Pinterest (ruthyloganherne).

About Back in the Saddle

The Prodigal Is Coming Home 

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding...and why. 
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor.  And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this down-to-earth advice. I share a similar lifestyle with you, but I only have 2 children. I have been writing for almost 30 years while working full time and raising my family. There are many days when the dream seems so far out of reach but I can't quit. I've asked to, many times. Will publication ever happen? Maybe not for me, but the love of writing is still a part of who I am. Blessings to you for touching my life today.

  2. Ruthy! What an inspiration -- and quite a pep-talk :-) I'm reading Back in the Saddle in the evening, as a reward for writing during the day. Boy is it difficult to stop reading about Colt and Angelina. I keep thinking, "Okay, just to the end of this chapter ... well, okay, just to the end of this scene ... " LOL

    It's a goood book. May lots of readers have the fun of reading it.

    Nancy C

  3. Linda, I hear you loud and clear! And I totally get it. Honestly, I think if this is in your blood, it just is! And if I hadn't gotten "the call" a few years ago, I'd still be doing this same thing, because I love it that much.

    I smile every time someone comes up with a new bag of tricks to get the job done, because it is so rare to find a shortcut... I'm going to keep you and your goals in my prayers, Linda! Thanks for stopping in today!

  4. Nancy, I'm so glad you're enjoying it! Oh my gosh, I love their story. I love the ranch, and grumpy old Sam, and wise Isabo and the whole crew...

    And those kids. :) You know how much I love bringing families with kids into stories! Thanks for being over here today, and big congrats on the daily writing. I'm so proud of you!

  5. Your post was recommended to me by my writing group, and I love it :) Compared to you, I'm such a softie! A confession: I gave up even before I began, thinking that there were far too many obstacles for me to overcome. So I decided not to even try. Fortunately, I decided to after a couple of years of just ignoring 'the call'. Now, when I feel the urge to quit, I read stories like yours and ask myself: "Why you quit before, what did it do for you?" All those practice sessions lost, all those novels I could've written by now - yup, no quitting for me either :)

  6. PS: I bought your book - I love prodigal son stories! Looking forward to reading it during my coming vacation!

  7. Ruthy, so enjoyed your post! Thanks. Your determination reminds me of the ending of the movie, An Affair to Remember: "If you can paint, I can walk." So, are you saying, basically, writers need the attitude of the little train that kept going because he thought he could? Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Oh. I love this post! I may just keep it to send to people when they ask me how to get published.

  9. Oh, Ruthy! This was SO aimed at me. You have no idea. Thank you!

  10. Elizabeth, please thank that writing group for me!

    I'm so glad this resonated with you. I so sincerely am, because it is so easy for the world to rain on our parade, or scoff at goals, but if we take that plodding approach of training ourselves to simply do that 1000 words/day (or 500, that's two pages and work into the 1000) by the end of a year, we're amazed at what we've done!

    Yes, stick with it! Yes, don't quit! And you know, I tried writing when the kids were younger, but I felt like a thief, stealing time from them with no money coming in, so for us, working the multiple jobs was a necessity... because kids are pricey little buggers. :) I'm so glad you stopped by today!!!

  11. Elizabeth, thank you for buying "Back in the Saddle"!!! I hope you love it! E-mail me when you're done and tell me what you think, okay? I'm tough, I can take it!

  12. Jo Huddleston, The Little Engine That Could is one of my fave little kid books! And "Where the Wild Things Are" because with 4 boys, that became a hands-down favorite at our house!!!

    Thank you and yes. Don't quit. Lenora Worth has a saying I've adopted, and the simple truth of it is marvelous: "Even on the worst possible day, I have the best possible job."

    That is a truism if ever there was one!!!!

  13. Mary Jane, I'm so glad you love it! Thank you, and yes, it's good advice for newbies, and also once we get down the road a bit and it seems sooooo long to get to that wonderful "mainland" of publication.

    Sometimes a nudge like this is all we/they need!

  14. Carol Garvin, good! :)

    We've all been there, it's so normal, and we slog on, right? Remember what The Nora has said???

    "People who get published aren't always the most talented authors... but they're the ones who didn't quit."

    There's a large dose of wisdom in that!

  15. What a great post, Ruthy! You always know how to inspire me to work harder and keep pushing forward.

  16. #1 and #4 are the hardest. Thanks for the inspiration, and happy Easter!

  17. You're such an inspiration! What a great post and tips for me to remember, and to share with some whiners I know. :) thanks, Ruthy!

  18. Missy, thank you! We have to keep pushing, don't we, sweet friend? Because the other option isn't for us!

  19. Jackie, Happy Easter (and Easter week, because it's Monday!) right back at you!

    The believing in yourself can be SO HARD... because you look around and see people who are talented and published and so stinkin' good and you think "I'll never be that good, why bother????"

    BUT that's not true, of course, not one bit true, it's probably more of a style difference but we see it and it highlights what we see as our flaws... But that's like seeing the model after the makeup... I love this "evolution" by Dove: From Normal to Supermodel

    And that's how writing is. People see our work after editors and copy editors and the author have tweaked, polished and prettied it up! Christy Brinkley doesn't wake up looking like the Christy Brinkley we see... :) She wakes up looking pretty normal (according to her!)

    Grab that self-confidence, Jackie! It's yours for the taking, and just make sure you never compare apples to oranges, even when tempted! And thank you for all of your help and your kind words. You are an amazing friend!

  20. Jessica, LOL! Yes, share, there is precious little room for whining in this biz!!!! We put a 24 hour limit on feeling sorry for ourselves in Seekerville... and that's a huge help, because getting back on that horse, the one that threw you, can be intimidating... but if you don't climb back on, how's the horse going to know who's in charge????



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