Thursday, May 24, 2012

The "Over-Many-Nights" Success

I read a 2007 post by Rick Riordan, about when people ask what it feels like to be “an overnight success.” It took him nearly ten years to reach his “overnight success.” His story parallels that of so many writers I know or have read about. I don’t think people realize oftentimes just how hard these overnight successes had to struggle before they “made it.”

Since my book deal was announced, I’ve had people ask me about my journey. When people hear that Treasured Lies was the first book I ever wrote, I think they sometimes assume I didn’t have to struggle much. After all, I sold my first novel!

However… :D

The very first draft of Treasured Lies was finished about five years ago. Since then, it has been completely rewritten at least three times, and I mean COMPLETLEY, with countless revisions of those rewrites in between. And I wrote other books between those TL rewrites. I queried that poor baby over 200 times (and then I stopped counting). I got many requests, some revise/resubs, and lots of “I love it, buts" :)

I’ve started other projects that I’ve abandoned. But this one I just couldn’t leave alone. I believed in it too much. So every so often, I’d pull it out of its virtual drawer and start all over again. So while it might technically be the first book I wrote, if you count up all the rewrites and books in between, it’s at least book number 5 or 6 :)

I’m glad I had a hard road of it, because now I can truly appreciate the success I've earned. And I know, and accept, that there is another hard road ahead. More importantly, I know I can handle the speed bumps that are going to come my way. Getting published is just one more step up. It's a good step, a very very good step that makes me smile whenever I think of it :) But I know there are still some rough times ahead, and probably always will be. And it's good to know that I can deal with all the ups and downs that will come with the journey to true success.

Rick Riordan says all this so much better than I am doing here :) Be sure to read his article. It’s inspiring – and wonderful to know that even the big names out there had to go through the same things I am :)


JeffO said...

That's quite the journey. It's funny how it looks like 'overnight success' to the people on the outside.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's definitely reassuring. Thanks, Michelle!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Ditto what JeffO says. This is a great reminder not to assume another writer had it easy. Writing a great book is always work. It's just really fun, rewarding work.

And I can't wait for Treasured Lies to come out! Squee!

Tina Moss said...

I wonder if there is ever truly such a thing as "overnight success".

Beth Christopher said...

Great post! Perfect timing, as my MS is rooting around for it's publishing home. Congratulations on your novel, Michelle, and thanks for sharing Rick Riordan's link, too. Super inspiring!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I love reading things like this. :) It's so encouraging. Thanks for sharing your journey!

Rosalyn said...

I'm also a fan of stories like this! Congratulations on persevering! I heard Ally Condie speak one time on a similar topic--she was frustrated that people saw her journey as a kind of Cinderella story, when in reality she'd been writing for nearly 10 years and had published several books with a small regional press before getting a big national deal.

Aldrea Alien said...

Sounds a bit like me with my first novel bar two things: I was twelve when I wrote it (some fifteen years ago) and it's not yet published (one day ^_^).
But man, that thing has been written and rewritten, pov changes, things added and taken away. I still occasionally send off a query, but it's a 186k monster and few will touch such a beast from a debut author. Though I get the odd nice rejection. Got close once with a small indie pub that stated it was “a science fiction/fantasy far from the mainstream”, but they didn’t think they could risk the marketing needed to take it on as it may’ve been TOO “out there” for most people. (The story of my life, I tell ya. Honestly how big a leap it is for most, if not all, fantasy/sci-fi fans to read a story with non-human main characters?)

But hey, congrats on getting your first novel out there, no matter what form it took in the end. ^_^