Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Persistence and Money

Posted by Ben Erlichman on June 15, 2011

In my experience thus far, those two things are what it takes to get published. I have only been seriously pursuing publication for my books for the last three years (give or take) but I’ve quickly learned that persistence and money are necessary to get published for the vast majority of writers.

You need persistence in everything having to do with writing and publishing. We need to be persistent in writing, in reading, in studying the craft, in writing some more, in plotting, in character development, in incorporating our themes into our book without overemphasizing them, in editing, in a hundred more things that have to do with our work. And that’s just the writing part. We have to chase leads, query agents, submit to publishers, attend writers conferences, network with other writers, build our platforms, write proposals… the list goes on and on.

In all of these things, persistence and money will help you get published sooner.

I got my first short story published because I submitted and followed up on it several times over the course of one year. This persistence led to two more short stories and a poem getting published by the same magazine. BUT I never would have made that contact without attending the ACFW Conference in 2009, where I met someone who referred me to Written World Communications. That conference cost money, around $1,000, in fact.

Going to a reputable writer’s conference (ACFW) changed everything for me. There, I learned how to be persistent, and I learned what I needed to do to get pubbed. I know I’m on the path toward publication now because I went to that conference for the past two years.

I’m going again this year, but I’m also going to go to a new conference in August hosted by Ted Dekker. This is a pricy one, and it’s only open to 100 people, but I managed to find a way to attend, thank God. Ted’s conference is billed as revelatory with regards to publishing and getting pubbed. It’s about persistence.

Speaking of persistence, I’m taking the opportunity to visit B&H Publishing, one of the firms interested in my work, while I’m in Nashville for the conference. If I’m going to spend the money to be in Nashville for the event, then I might as well get a taste of the local flavor via publishing. It’s a great chance to reconnect with B&H, and hopefully talk through what a possible publishing future with them might look like. That’s an example of my money and my persistence working together for my benefit.

I wonder if persistence and money are interchangeable sometimes? Most of us are either strapped for cash, strapped for time, or both. But if, say, we’re poor as dirt, but we can be persistent, maybe that could compensate for inability to attend said writers conferences?

I’d imagine that it goes the other way also, that having money to spend can make up for a lack of persistence, but then questions are raised as to the quality of the work. In this modern age, anyone who can afford to pay an editor (if they want to) can self-publish their own books on the internet. They can publish them WITHOUT editing them if they want to. But given that approach, will they ever produce something “best-seller” quality, just because they had the money to do so? I’d say it’s possible, but unlikely.

I’d rather have the persistence than the money. Persistence is something you can develop if you don’t have it, but it’s key to success as a writer. Money is something you can earn, and it will help to open doors for you (via writer’s conferences, hiring freelance editors, buying books to read for pleasure and/or on writing, etc.), but it shouldn’t be the only thing that gets you published.

If you have money, instead use that as a resource to ensure you STAY published. Invest in your career: use it to travel on a book tour, or to develop marketing for you and your work, or hire someone to help you with your marketing. Using my money to sell more books is what I hope to do once I get published.

Now it’s your turn. What role do you think persistence and money have in your writing life? Do you give them equal time? Is one more important than the other to your writing career? How do they work together?

Share your thoughts with us.


P.S. If you live in the Milwaukee area, come to Next Chapter Books in Mequon tonight for a book signing with Best-Selling author Brandilyn Collins!

2 Responses to “Persistence and Money”

  1. Ben, you have mentioned the “M” word in publishing: Money. And I’m so glad you did! Because, it points out a fact that many writers don’t want to talk about. Even if you are one day issued a check by a traditional publisher, you undoubtedly spent some hard earned cash to get to that goal. Conferences cost, editors cost, travel costs, lodging costs. And all the time we put into our work reminds us of that old phrase, “Time is money.” You may have a wonderful critique group, but that will not necessarily replace a good copy editor. An editor’s training with their eagle eye usually comes with a fee. I’m not saying it is not worth it. But it’s important to be realistic about what it really takes to become a published writer. Thanks for broaching it!

    I think the persistence part is incredibly essential. And networking with other authors who are encouraging can bolster our resolve to “stay the course” in writing. It can be a discouraging battle at times. But if we are called to the work (and it IS work), then God will give us the strength to continue on.

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. Many good points here, Ben. Thanks. In my case, I had the old persistence in spades, but not a whole lot of money. My road to publication is definitely different than most and proves that if the Lord’s in it, then it WILL happen. Seriously…don’t hate me, but I only attended one writer’s conference before inking my first contract, and didn’t spend much money at all until post-publication when the marketing began. But it’s paying off, and I’m building a readership with this first book. I know writers who spend a lot of money but never are published. It all really boils down to this: write the best book you can, and if you’re persistent, it (publication) will probably eventually happen. Most of the Christian authors being published these days are members of the ACFW (plug there). So, networking is key. Try to do something every single day toward the goal of publication. Lastly, the conference with Ted Dekker sounds awesome for you, and I’m so thankful you can go, as well as network in Nashville. Have fun, and give us a report later on, please!

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