Perseverance wins the day – Ann O’Loughlin

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By Ann O’Loughlin

Don’t give up! Persevere no matter what. Don’t stop writing, ever. As the rejection slips mount up, don’t let them get you down, just keep on writing.♥

There is often a long and lonely road to publication. I didn’t know if I would ever finally reach the day when the book I had written sat on a shelf in my local bookshop.

Every writer has the hard slog to finish the manuscript, find an agent and a publisher before connecting with readers.

Finding the agent and publisher is probably the hardest part of the process and it can be very disheartening.

With two bestsellers under my belt and my third book The Ludlow Ladies’ Society published in Ireland and UK in July,I still can’t believe how it all finally happened and fell in to place for me.

It was my lucky day when my path crossed that of literary agent Jenny Brown. And it so nearly did not happen.

I was sending out a round of submissions and getting the chapters, synopsis and plot summary ready. I composed a nice introductory email too. It was only then as I checked the email address, I saw Jenny Brown was closed to submissions.

I dithered, cross at myself I had not noticed and then thought what had I to lose. I pressed send.

I was sitting having a cup of tea, trying to drum up enough interest to get a few more submissions sent out, when my mobile phone rang. It was Jenny Brown. For a moment I thought she was going to give me a talking to for submitting when she had so clearly flagged she was not accepting any further work.

She loved my three chapters and could I send the full manuscript?

To my delight, she loved the complete manuscript and worked with me to put a good polish on it. Black &White Publishing Scotland came on board and The Ballroom Café became a bestseller on kindle and a bestseller in Ireland. Foreign rights so far have sold to seven countries along with large print and audio editions.

It was not until the launch of my second book The Judge’s Wife, which coincidentally was also in the bestseller charts for seven weeks, with rights sold to several countries including the US, Germany, Norway and Holland that I heard Jenny’s side of the story.

Jenny was on a train back form a crime writing festival in Sterling, Scotland. She had forgotten to charge her laptop the night before and was left with just her phone. Scrolling through her email, what plopped in, but my submission. She opened it and began to read.

It was a case of right time, right agent and then right publisher. I was lucky, but perseverance is what won the day. You can’t give up, ever. We writers are a stubborn lot. We don’t give up when we reach a difficult part of the plot. We don’t give up when we reach the midway slump in a novel and we don’t give up when after reaching The End, we have to rewrite and rewrite.

So after all that hard slog, don’t ever give up in the search for an agent or a publisher. You owe it to yourself as a writer and the manuscript you have toiled over to persevere.

A leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her novels include The Ballroom Cafe and The Judge’s Wife. The Ludlow Ladies’ Society was published by Black and White Publishing in July.


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