Rejection and Triumph: 20 Years as a Pre-Published Novelist

12:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 33 Comments

I'm off to Atlanta, Georgia for the Novel Experience Reader Convention, but I've invited Stephanie Faris to keep you all entertained and inspired with her story of the road to publication :)

So...Welcome Stephanie!! 


“Pre-published.” That was what a romance novelist once labeled those of us who weren’t yet published. She 
said the word “aspiring writer” wasn’t quite accurate, since we were, in effect, writing. We just weren’t yet published.

I was pre-pubbed for 20 years. Okay, so several of those years I was sidetracked, spending far too much time blogging on MySpace to a large readership. I also spent far too many years doing everything but writing—attending conferences, serving on the board of my local writers’ group, etc. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the process of learning to be a writer and far too difficult to face that blank page head-on.

Why am I now a published novelist? One word: perseverance. I was rejected over and over and over again. I spent more than a decade as a “pre-published” romance novelist and saw many of my fellow Music City Romance Writers members get published long before I was. But, when I really think about it, the successful writers were the minority. For every Trish Milburn, there were probably a dozen hopeful writers who attended meetings for a while, then vanished. Where did they go? Chances are, they moved on to another pursuit. Some of them may still have aspirations of getting a novel published…someday. It’s easy to procrastinate once you’ve felt the bitter sting of rejection.

Why did I keep writing? It’s part of who I am. I probably write 5,000 words a day as a blogger for marketing firms and online magazines located around the globe. Writing is as natural to me as breathing and, when you find something you’re good at, it’s pretty hard for someone to stop you. Especially if you’re stubborn!

My advice to anyone who feels that inspiration to write is to keep writing. Don’t let a form rejection from an agent or editor stop you—have enough queries out there that one rejection means very little. When you get a rejection, mark it on your spreadsheet and say, “Okay, who’s next?”

One rejection, two rejections, 500 rejections…it’s all one step closer to achieving your dream.

Get your copy HERE!

Maddie Evans prides herself on being the gossip queen of Troy Middle School. She is the first person her classmates go to when they need the latest news on the ins-and-outs of TMS—and Maddie never disappoints.

Her best friend since birth, Vi, isn’t crazy about Maddie’s penchant for passing on rumors, but it’s never been an issue in their friendship. Until the day Maddie lets slip who Vi is crushing on—in front of her crush
.
My Photo


Stephanie Faris's first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, is now available from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin M!x, with her second book, 25 Roses, coming out in 2015. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her website: www.stephaniefaris.com


*Stephanie is offering a signed copy to a random commenter. Just be certain to leave an email address or some way for us to notify you if you win. 

33 comments:

  1. yes I'm first! woot woot! I love love love everything you said! I have found that at times I'm doing so much in helping others, that I haven't had time to help my own MS and it needs some love too!! great words of advice!

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    1. I found myself doing that, Tammy! It is sometimes easier to do anything but write. I think fear is behind that. Plus, women tend to spend more time taking care of others than ourselves anyway!

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  2. Pre-published is a great term. I love each and every one of my rejection letters - not so much at the time, but they helped me grow a thick and stubborn skin which has definitely been a bonus!

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    1. It does take a bit of stubbornness to keep going! Mostly it's sheer determination, though. And that feeling that you just have to get that story onto the page.

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  3. Great testimony, Stephanie. I think the set-backs that each of us endure can certainly work to build resolve and create a better writer/teacher/scientist/parent/whatever in the long-run.

    It does require that the individual treat each rejection as a temporary obstacle. Obviously, that takes reflection and confidence and is easier said than done.

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    1. They say it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to be a "master." I'd say I've mastered writing by now, between 20 years of writing novels, blogs, and now writing both freelance and fiction!

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  4. Perseverance is the key! Glad you didn't give up.

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  5. Each set back surely is just another step on the road to getting there

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    1. Definitely. It all just makes you stronger!

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  6. Perseverance is very important. Congrats Stephanie and extra props to your cover artist. I like that your book covers the dangers of being a gossip. That can ruin a friendship fast.

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    1. Perseverance is definitely a large part of it--a little bit of stubbornness, as well! It's important not to compare yourself to others, also. It becomes really tempting to do that, especially if you're in a writers group!

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  7. Hi Elizabeth and Stephanie,

    Perseverance and passion for the written words. Such a driving force. Hearty congrats on your first book, Stephanie.

    And Elizabeth, have a good time in Atlanta, y'all :)

    Gary

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  8. This is just the post I needed. I love that you didn't give up! If you truly love something, then you should keep doing - no matter what! Thanks for sharing this with us, and congrats on your book! It sounds great!

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    1. In the cheesy words of 80s musician Corey Hart, "Never Surrender!" LOL. I had to definitely motivate myself over and over. It helped that I started freelance writing on the side and I had clients who complimented me there. It's hard to get down on your writing when someone believes in you...somewhere!

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  9. Thanks, Stephanie! I'm in the query trenches right now, and some days the rejections don't mean as much, and then other days... =) I'm so glad you finally achieved your dream!

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    1. I found it always helped to have numerous things going at once...then the rejections don't have as much impact because there's always a chance with something else you have out there.

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  10. Sometimes I wonder why we writers do this to ourselves, bleeding on the page when there's no guarantee anyone will even read the words. But you're right, writing is like breathing. What are we to do -- hold our breath and die?

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    1. Great way of putting it, Steven! I think we write because we have to...and it definitely becomes easier over time.

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  11. I admire writers who can query for years and persevere, but that's not the path for me. I'm captaining my own WIP.

    Congrats on your success, Stephanie. Cute premise. :)

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  12. I love that term. I was pre-pubbed from '94, when I wrote my first novel, to '09 when I signed my first contract. I kept writing, trying new things, querying...and yes, I did spend too much time on research and other things, but I buckled down the closer I got to my goal.

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    1. Yay. (Long distance high five!) I'm not the only one who took a while! That just makes it all that much better when it happens, doesn't it!

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  13. Terrific story, Stephanie! You give us hope.... I've been prepubbed for over four years now...Yet, still keep trying. But you are so right, we can get distracted so easily.

    I appreciate your perseverance and CONGRATS! I am so happy for you!

    Have fun in Atlanta, Liz!

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    1. I should add, I wasn't diligently trying to get published all 20 years. I had some detours--spent far too many years networking and playing writer's advocate, as I think many of us do. It's easier to spend a year serving on the board of some writer's group than risking rejection by writing, isn't it? I was always writing, though, even if fear slowed me down...

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  14. Great to meet you, Stephanie! What an inspiring story. Congrats to you!
    And I hope you are having an AMAZING time in Atlanta, Elizabeth. Can't wait to read about your experience. :)

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  15. I needed to read this today. An inspiring post. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. Congratulations!

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  16. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to read today! I love when you said, "One rejection, two rejections, 500 rejections…it’s all one step closer to achieving your dream." Thanks for putting that into perspective for me! Love your post, Stephanie!

    Elizabeth, hope you're having fun in Atlanta!! :)

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  17. I love it! Perseverance is the word of the day. If only I could spell it without spell check. You don't have to spell to be a writer...right?

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  18. Twenty years a pre-pubbed author? When did you write it? At three? You look so young. :) Very inspiring to keep pushing on with your dream. Thanks.

    Check out my office remodel!

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  19. That's a great story, and it's true, it's all about perseverance. Just because you don't get accepted on the first try doesn't mean you're a failure. I always try to tell people that finding an agent or editor is about finding the one who's right for YOU. Not the other way around.

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  20. Good on you for never giving up. I've also been pre-published for an obscene amount of time, since I started writing at four years old and never stopped. The term "aspiring writer" really offends me, since it implies one isn't a real writer until one is published. If you're actively writing, published or not, that makes you a writer!

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