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It happens every day to writers: your book gets published and, as excited as you may have been, it goes nowhere or doesn’t go where you thought it would. Maybe it had a bad cover, poor marketing, another similar book came out at the same time with better packaging—you name it.

Pollyanna-1Probably the saddest publishing story I know, sometimes even worse than not getting published at all, is when a writer waits for years, finally gets a book out… and nothing happens. It can make even the Pollyannas among us lose heart at times. I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to have many books published, and yet my journey has not been without it’s share of disappointments. But there are other things that happen every day too!

In the last few months alone, the following have happened to three writers in my acquaintance:

  • One had a fantastic book published many years ago that didn’t do enough, so the industry kept saying no-no-no, but now that writer changed genres and has something exciting on the horizon.
  • A second has a book that was published 14 years ago being made into a major motion picture.
  • A third, after tepid sales of a few books a decade ago, has a blockbuster new deal that is of the set-you-up-for-the-rest-of-your-life variety.

I would wager that at some point each of these people thought, “Well, that’s it—this is as good as it’ll ever get for me.” I know they did. And they were wrong. Look at them now! If it could happen to them, then it could still happen to you. It could still happen to me.

The key is to keep doing the work, stay alive, keep putting one writing foot in front of the other. And always remember: success is not solely tied to sales figures and royalty statements. If you’ve written something that has made just one person laugh or think of the world in a new way, if you’ve made one person who while in a dark night of the soul say, “I’m staying alive to keep reading so I can find out how this thing turns out” thereby helping that person see another dawn: you’ve already succeeded.

LAUREN BARATZ-LOGSTED is an author and contributing editor of LitChat. Read her complete bio here. This blog was first posted on her Facebook wall.