Don’t Give Up

My first novel, ‘Skelly’s Square,’ received its 60th five star review in the USA last night. When you add up the totals world wide it has around 150 such reviews. I’m very proud of this achievement as it encourages me that people like my writing and the stories and characters I’ve created. The point of this post, though, is not to brag and blow my own trumpet. Instead, this is a post about rejection as opposed to success.

I received 80 rejections from agents and publishers before I secured a deal for Skelly’s Square.’ These rejections varied in length and style. Some were encouraging, most were kind but, at the end of the day, they all boiled down to the one unpalatable message – thanks but no thanks. These were tough months as e mail after e mail landed in my inbox, all delivering the same bad news. Very tough months.

Then in the space of a week I received two offers. Not one, but two! All the prior rejections were forgotten. Somebody believed in my writing enough to take a chance on a first time fantasy writer from Northern Ireland. It was enough to fill me with the confidence to keep writing as did the subsequent positive reviews. It provided me with the focus and resolve to write the sequel in four frenetic months last year.

The sequel, ‘A New Jerusalem,’ will be published this autumn. This time round, I secured a deal with my first query. But I know what it’s like to fail, to fall short, to be told I’m not quite good enough. Everyone experiences that feeling at some point in their lives. Some regard it as soul destroying, others character building. It thickens the skin, hardens the resolve, gives you the conviction to keep plugging away in pursuit of your dreams.

If we all gave up at the first hurdle, or eightieth for that matter, no books would ever be written, no music recorded, no movies produced. It’s not always the most talented who make it, it’s the most determined and dedicated. Those who refuse to give in, who keep clinging on and battering at the door until it finally creaks open and a chink of light beckons the artist inside to the warmth of within.

I’m currently writing the back cover for ‘A New Jerusalem’ and growing increasingly excited about it seeing the light of day. I’m thinking ahead to the third book in the series and some possible spin offs. The possibilities are many and it’s all because I stuck at it when all seemed lost. I hope today, whatever challenges you are facing, you refuse to succumb to the odds and persevere. I believe in you. Start believing in yourself.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

31 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up

  1. Serious Congratulations! Thank Goodness that you didn’t listen to those negative agents and publishers. You are indeed an inspiration. You’ve actually inspired me to put my novel on Amazon Kindle. I am awaiting my copy so that I can scour it for a few inconsistencies, but I am doing it. You are proof that a person should never, ever give up on their goals. I would love to read your book. You are an amazing inspiration to all writers.


      1. Thank you. It is very exciting. I have gotten my copy and I see a few issues, such as a few quotations marks left off, that I want to correct. Minor details really, but I want my work to be perfect before I put it on Kindle. It is available in paperback. I plan to have my son go through it and look for those things I may have overlooked. Editing is the hardest part. What steps did you take to edit? It seems that each read through I see something I missed. Do you have any suggestions for making it easier? Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. With everything in life it’s about trust, isn’t it? ☺️Trusting the knowing that there is, in fact, a needle in the hey stack and you WILL eventually find it. But only if you keep looking. You found it- and how completely amazing, Stephen! Once you’ve found one needle it’s much easier to trust the rest will come. I’m always excited to find out what lays beneath all the hey stacks of life. ☺️ I wouldn’t mind a million dollars under the next one. (You know, just sayin’ universe.😉)


  3. They say that calm seas don’t make skillful sailors. That said, sometimes it sure is nice to not have to batten down all the hatches…

    Thanks for the good message. Continued success in your endeavors. 🙂


  4. Having read your book I’m baffled that you had so many rejections before someone saw potential but thank you for sharing. It’s encouraging to know that even an author as talented as yourself has to keep pushing to get published.


  5. Keep on keeping on being awesome and bringing your characters to life. Skelly’s Square is now on my reading list. I’m quite looking forward to reading it (I have three books in front of it on my list to get through first!)

    I’m currently nearing the end of the first draft of my first book. It had been eighteen months of wonderful hard work, expanding on the world and story we created while playing a particular Dungeons & Dragons adventure. I am sceptical of my own ability and even thinking about submitting to publishers once I have edited it. This post has encouraged me to believe in myself, to keep working and keep learning. Because, if I don’t even try, the answer is already no, right?

    Thank you for sharing the reality of writing, and the hard work and took that goes into getting a book published. 🙂


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