Tuesday, October 18

Get Tough

I've been riding this same old mare for twenty years. Lovely Fawn. Well, that's a post for Ridingwrite.


Riding one horse for twenty years.

The same amount of time I've been writing, trying to sell.

Yeah, really.

I can't believe it myself.


My daughter was five, just starting Kindergarten when I began. She's a Junior in college now.

I began after I went to a non-credit class at the same college she's now attending. Wow.

But, really, this post isn't about how old I am. Old! Ha!

I read a rant by an author on another blog the other day, railing against agents and editors. I won't go into all the details, but she was ugly, including flipping off the camera. You can read it for yourself here:


Don't get me wrong. I get mad, discouraged and very frustrated by this business. Who doesn't? I rail sometimes. But I do it in private or to very close, trusted friends and CPs. I bet NYT best sellers get tired and discouraged at times. I know they do. A friend quit last year after a particularly hard year.

But I haven't quit.

I had a hard time early on. My grammar was so bad a mentor told me I should go back to the eighth grade to re-learn it. I quit an agent who has a lot of authors you would recognize by their published books. I walked away from writing for a year.

There's nothing wrong with wanting an agent. There's nothing wrong with wanting to sell to NY. Is it close to impossible? Yes. But it does happen. Last year, after nationals, G. Jillian Stone sold. So did Robin Perrini, who a (defunct chapter) mate used to brainstorm with way back in the day.

My aggravation with writers who write one or two manuscripts, get a rejection, maybe two, or enter a contest and get hammered, then quit or self pub because editors are assholes, is huge.

If I had that mentality, I would have quit nineteen years ago after an editor told me to learn to write.

Or after my 15th manuscript that didn't sell.

Like that lovely old mare, who only grew better with age, so have I. My writing is good enough to land me an up and coming agent. Branded is the best thing I've ever written. I have hopes it might be the one.

So, instead of whining, bitching and moaning about how hard things are, get tough, people.

I did.


  1. Awesome post D'Ann! Things don't always happen overnight...let me revise that, things that you want and have to work for never happen overnight. You have to learn, grow and move on to reach your goals.
    You and Fawn hold strong, you're both golden and will get what you want :)

  2. I haven't been writing for 20 years, but a long time. You know that since we've known each other for quite some time. I did the e-book route and I'm okay with that but it was never my ultimate goal. We have the same one--sell to Harlquin Intrigue. I can't wait to be able to say we did it!

  3. Kudos from another "old mare" who won't give up. Five years ago my first novel came out... and I haven't sold a fiction ms since then. It's almost worse to finally sell, only to realize that you have to go through it all again with the next book, over and over. When does a writer "arrive?" Who knows. Are we still enjoying the stories? Still learning? Still going deeper into ourselves, mining the stuff that makes readers clutch their chests? This is the real work and no agent or editor can take that away.

    Thanks, D'Ann. I'm hanging in there with you!

  4. Good post, D'Ann. Writing, at least to be published, is a tough business and not for the faint of heart. Some people will be nasty just because they can, but it's that way in every field.

    While I definitely think agents and traditional publishers have their place, it's nice to know authors can avail themselves of all the different paths that exist to reach publication. I don't think any certain way is necessarily better, and each have pros and cons.

    But no matter the route an author takes, editing and having a darn good story is a must. And to get to that point, writers need a tough skin.

  5. D'Ann you get an A+ for perserverence. There aren't many people who would have held on to their dream with the tenacity you have and to me you are inspiration.

    I am still so new to writing and in some ways things have come easy for me. But my goal is not to get an agent or to be published by a big house. I just want to tell my stories in a quality way.

  6. Good for you for sticking with it. I've sworn to quit many times but I always come back. Its in our blood.

    ps - My word verification is "mothy". Hmmm. Wonder what that means???

  7. Awesome post. Writing is hard, but getting an agent and selling one's work can be even harder. A writer needs patience and skin of steel in this business. I'm not holding out for an agent this stage in my career, but I am holding out for a reputable e-publisher to publish my work.
    I know getting published is hard work, but I also know self publishing is even harder!

  8. D'Ann,

    I read the other post and agreed with it, but I also agree with yours.

    If we want to be published we have to keep at it and get better. But it would be nice, if there was more respect on the side of agents and publishers.


  9. Good advice, D'Ann! Going on ten years for me. I have a folder full of wonderful rejections, and hold the dream of selling to NY. I quit writing for 2 years because I needed to study and learn the craft and find my voice. Here's hoping I found it! And I'm with you. If you don't work for it then how can you respect it? You're on the doorstep, friend, just keep knocking until they let you in :)

  10. Hi D'Ann ~ In our lives, we are spoiled by instant gratification. The microwave oven, drip coffee makers, 4 G phones, and 30 second downloads.

    What we've taught ourselves is it's wrong to wait for things, that patience is a thing of the past. If you have to work for something (ie: baking bread), you're going about it all wrong.

    There's no getting around the tide, a 24 hour day, or writing a really good book. Just like you can't train the experience of a twenty year old mare into the mind of a three year old colt.

  11. Great post, D'Ann...I get frustrated, too, by the whining and moaning. Because it doesn't help any situation - if you want to improve and sell it takes hard work, dedication, perspiration...and a little luck.

  12. Get tough is right:)

    Ur mare is a beaut! I;m so glad you hung in there.

  13. I have read your work, at least chapters of it, and I know you will be published, sooner rather than later, D'Ann.

    For me, the key to getting an offer was to forget about being published and just write stories that I loved to write and hope that someone else would also love the stories.

    Donald Maass continues to say (and I believe him) that we are in control of our career as authors and nothing sells faster than a great story.

  14. You'll get there D'Ann! Don't give up!

  15. D'Ann -

    You are one of the strongest, most dedicated writers I know! And this is a perfect kick in my pity-partying butt today - LOL.

    One word at a time, right?

    Hugs to you and I have a feeling Branded might just be your ride!


  16. Good post. It IS a hard business, and most of us feel--at least sometimes--that it's chosen us as opposed to us choosing it, but aren't we the lucky ones either way? It's a job we might give away sometimes, but no one can take.

  17. Wonderful post, D'Ann. We are a generation of two-year-olds with "I want it now!" as our motto. Waiting has been made to seem like wasting time, but it's a gift of time in many cases--to give you time to learn from your mistakes, to give you time to mature enough to be able to handle what you want when you get it, to give you time to appreciate what you get when you get it. We need to realize the value in waiting.

    I haven't had to wait very long to get epublished, but there are many things I have had to wait for (10 years for a PhD). And I am still waiting for the ms that will get me an agent. You are so right, you have to get tough and stay tough to make it in this business, because the waiting will wear you down.

    You've certainly done your time--my prayer for you is that Branded is the one for you.

  18. Good post, D'Ann.

    I read the post you refer to and my take was - why burn bridges and knock others chosen path. What works for them doesn't work for her. So? Big hairy deal.

    I published with Red Sage this year. Just before the release, I self-published two works that had been previously e-pubbed by a now defunct company. At M&M, the same conference listed in that post, I pitched to an editor and got a request.

    We have choices these days and that's a good thing. Because of those choices, some of the pressure is off. I prefer to diversify and keep plugging away at all venues available to me.

    Persevere! You'll get where you want to go.

  19. Whoa. I read that other post too, and... whoa. Seems like a person extremely angry about something that happened, rather than simply tired of the same old thing at conferences, no? Having never been to a conference other than RomCon, I can't judge what she's talking about. But I do agree, what works for one person might not for the next. And that's just fine. I think we'd all like to sell enough books to hit the bestseller lists, end up on TV, afford the new car, etc. But how we get there is up to us individually, and not really worthy of getting as angry as that chick. LOL You just keep on keeping on--you'll find your way to where you want to go.

  20. Hi, D'Ann,

    I think as writers we do get better with age. We have more experience of life. We've also had time to perfect our craft and improve our writing skills.

  21. Thanks for coming by, everyone!

  22. I've lost count of how many times I've wanted to quit. But I've learned to take my knocks and hang in there. There's nothing worse than quitting and spend your time wondering what if.

  23. D'Ann, good post. I know getting discouraged is natural, but honestly, at every conference I've gone to, everyone from the novice to the uber-pro have been supportive, helpful, and friendly.

    Sometimes, more often than not, I believe, you reap what you sow.

  24. D'Ann...

    I'm ashamed I hadn't read this Tuesday... Oddly enough I'm sitting in my hotel room at the NJ conference trying to catch up on the hundreds of emails I let pile up all week...

    I read the other blog and just wanted to scream. Those of us who wnat to sell to NY aren't the problem, it's writers like this person. That had to be the most unprofessional thing I've ever read. No wonder she can't get an agent.

    But enough about that. I'm actually afraid of what's happening with self-pubbing. Is it a great opertunity IF DONE RIGHT? You bet! But there are too many writers who write a book, submit it to one or a dozen ed/ags and then plop it on Smashwords/Amazon without having a clue as to why it wouldn't EVER be published.

    All this terrible writing is bound to hurt everyone. But I don't know how any of it can be fixed.

    Great rebuttal (a very professionally written one at that)!