Pep Talk to Aspiring Authors

So, today my crit partners were throwing a pity party because the ratio of aspiring authors to acquiring editors is astronomical. I say, WHO CARES? What’s that got to do with me?!

Actually, what I say is this:

First, you cannot, repeat, CANNOT, think of writing (or any profession) from a statistical standpoint.

Sure, there’s thousands (or even tens of thousands) of aspiring authors to every agent, and an even bigger discrepancy when compared to publishing houses. So? It’s not the lottery, where all tickets are created equal.

Do you write a genre that sells? As a matter of fact, if you write Romance, you write a genre that sells 55% of all published fiction. Zow. So right there, your ticket is worth a lot more than ANY OTHER GENRE WRITER OUT THERE. Okay? With me?

Now. Are you a member of a professional organization, and do you take advantage of the information/loops/etc of said organization? If so, once again, less than half aspiring authors do this. Maybe less than 1% if we count all the wannabes that “are going to write a book someday” but don’t have the courage to put pen to paper and get the party started. =)

Do you study the craft by reading books/blogs/etc or taking workshops? If so, once again, you cannot BELIEVE the number of would-be authors that do not do this.

Are you a member of a constructive, helpful critique group whose advice you both respect AND strive to implement whenever it improves the story? If so, Hades and Hermes, only a fraction of the professional aspiring authors out there can say yes to that! Do you know how hard it is to find that kind of support? And how hard it is to TAKE and ACT ON constructive criticism? If you’ve got both of that, you are WAY ahead of the curve!

So now the piece of paper you’re holding looks less like a scratch off and more like Charlie Bucket’s golden ticket, my friend!

The last three things consist of talent, which cannot be taught, but if you are getting requests and/or contest finals then you probably possess in spades, SKILL, which comes from practicing the craft and learning from experience, and PERSERVERANCE, which is 100% up to you.

Had J.K. Rowling or Stephen King given up after the first 200 rejections, we wouldn’t have Harry Potter or Cujo today. Got me?

So buck up, soldiers! You can and WILL! Go forth and write!


  1. ERiCA - Reply

    Thanks, Julie!

    (And maybe I should print it out and tape it to my own computer for those days when *I* need a motivational butt-kicking.)


  2. Karen Lingefelt - Reply

    Words of wisdom poured from a bottle that’s definitely more than half full.

    I’m way ahead of you on the printing out and taping. Bullseye, Erica!

  3. Vicki - Reply

    I love this. Truthful words that we all need to hear published or not.

    Oh, and yep, I’ve already printed it out as well. It will go right there with my Julie letter. 🙂

  4. Diana Peterfreund - Reply


    So so so so so true. If you start thinking about statistics, you’ll never do anything.

    I remember an editor who once said something to the effect of, “Stop focusing on statistics. If you write a good book, your chances are very good indeed. Otherwise, they suck.”

  5. lacey kaye - Reply

    I allow my comment to be taken out of context because this butt-kicking ROCKS! way to post it on your site!

    And I, too, will be bookmarking this 🙂

  6. T.J. Killian - Reply

    We’re going to respond to this in detail on our own blog. You know us, Erica. Nothing is abbreviated in our world.

    Still, good advice.

    T.J., and the sisters

  7. beverley - Reply

    Bravo! You just have to believe in yourself and never give up. Dedication, perseverance, and yes, talent, will get you everywhere. And sometimes a little luck will get you there sooner.

  8. ERiCA - Reply

    Thanks, everyone, for helping spread the positive energy around! I love the warm fuzzies I get from the great sense of community when we support and encourage each other. Writers rock! =)

  9. Carrie - Reply

    I LOVE this pep-talk and will forever keep it bookmarked. You are so right!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    PS: I tagged you with a meme if you’re interested 🙂

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Erica Ridley