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Thursday, December 29, 2011

3 Secrets to Getting Published

You’ve heard it before, there are no overnight successes. Well, there are a couple I know of, but thankfully we’ve remained friends to this day. For the rest of us publication takes three things. Sweat, tears, and perseverance.

Sweat. It’s what got me from being an unpublished novice writer to a published author. We all start out green, thinking our prose are brilliant until our first critique. Then the scales fall from our eyes, and we see that we have a lot of learning to do. That’s when we roll up our sleeves and learn new terms like head hopping, info dumps, and backstory. All the things our WIP is filled with that we’re not supposed to do. But we’re excited, ready to learn, not afraid of the work before us. We buy a couple of craft books and start to learn the rules.

Rules? Yes, writers need to follow them if they want to be published. It’s the published writers, and those darn overnight successes, that get to break them! ;) Once we start to learn the rules it’s then the real writers are separated from the fantasy writers (and I’m not talking genre.) It’s then we start to sweat. It’s then a writer needs to ask the question, “Am I willing to put in the hard work it’s going to take to become a published author?” It’s a question I had to ask myself for the last seven years after every disappointment and rejection.

Tears. If you want to be a published writer, there will be many. Writers have heard over and over again that writing is not for the faint of heart, that you have to have thick skin, and when you’re knocked down over and over again (and you will be,) you have to get up again and again. And it’s true. I’ve been knocked down so many times I swore I’d never get up. But I always did because I’m that stubborn and determined to keep at it until I succeed. I’ve learned a couple of tricks to deal with the tears and disappointments. You might want to figure out what works for you and keep them handy for when the time comes!

Perseverance. This is what separates the writers from the wannabes. You’ve also heard that if it was easy everyone would be doing it. There are many who start on this writing journey only to fizzle out and quit too soon. What keeps me going is not knowing what God has planned and the fear of missing out because I gave up too soon. It’s not easy to persevere through sweat and tears, but when I keep my mind on the goal and my heart attuned to my calling, then quitting isn’t an option.

Writing isn’t easy, but it is attainable if you remember the three keys to getting published. You need to work hard, handle disappoints, and pick yourself up and start typing again. If there’s any other way to succeed in this crazy business, I’d sure like to know!

Gina Conroy, a.k.a. "the other Gina," is a new monthly contributor to Novel Rocket. She's the founder of Writer...Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. So she knows a thing or two about getting published. Now she's searching for the secret to landing a three book contract!


  1. Gina, thanks for the encouragement! Great post... made me visit (again) your website/blog. I really appreciated it when you said "“God’s up to something, and he’s got something better for me planned.”

    I'm going to Tweet this. Just added your site to my list of favorites on my own blog Everyone's Story (

    Happy New Year!

  2. I would only partially agree on the "rules" part. I followed them religiously and when I wrote Crossing Oceans (my first novel to be published), I purposely broke some so-called rules. What I see over and over again are writers who follow the "rules" (and I put them in quotes because many of them aren't rules at all but suggestions) I ended up writing more effectively. Good writers follow the rules. Great writers (and I'm not saying that's me :) break them purposefully when it suits the story.

  3. Thanks, Elaine! And don't be a stranger, join the discussion. We all have something to share and something to learn for each other!

  4. I agree, Gina! And the rules I'm referring to are the basic ones, the ones the new writers sometimes don't want to bother with. Some writers start out not knowing the rules and want to be overnight successes.

    My point is that it takes hard work and if you're following the rules and put in the work, and things aren't working for you, then I believe you're ready for the next step...which is what you did, Gina. Just write the story the way it needs to be told. And that might me breaking some of those rules.

  5. I'll say this: if a writer doesn't learn the guidelines of good writing, how can they know when to break them effectively? They don't So the break the "rules" ineffectively and their work is poorly written. You HAVE to KNOW what the guidelines are to know HOW and WHEN to break them with panache. And Gian Holmes learned that lesson. She nows when and how. I'm hoping I've learned it as well. :)

    But if you read all the great novels, you'll see that most of the time they follow those guidelines of good writing. And when the break them, the prose SINGS for the breaking. On tune.

  6. As for rules, they're more like guidelines--they provide structure. But, imo, if rules begin to stymie/block the writer, then something has to give. I think what sets apart the professional writer from someone who is just having fun is that after the first, 2nd, third, 20th draft and multitudes of objective criticism, the professional writer tries yet once more for the perfect polish. At least, I'm willing to try :)

  7. Great discussion, ladies! Just what I love!

  8. Absolutely right! You can decide what you want to do with the rules, but you must know the rules first before you can make an informed decision. And that involves a lot of working and reworking and thinking and figuring out. Sweat and tears.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  9. Happy New Year Gina and congratulations on getting published! I've just finished writing my New Year's Eve blog post and most of it speaks to writing and not giving up. Because of your perseverance you've just become my idol :). Enjoy the moment and when you come up for air stop by my blog, too!

    All the best,

  10. Good analysis, Gina! Doesn't it make you wonder how many people would actually take up writing if they knew how much "sweat, tears, and perseverance" it will take? Still... it's worth the effort!


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