Slow and Steady Wins the Race–Even in Publishing

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 09 2018

Another lifetime ago I ran the New York Marathon and from my first run (a 3-mile run walk, the longest I’d ever gone), to each 18-mile run in between, and the final 26.2 miles I had one mantra–slow and steady wins the race. These words ran over and over through my mind with each step I took and even today, when facing an uphill battle, I’ll turn to those words for both support and a gentle reminder of what I can do if I really just take a deep breath and persist.

A career in publishing is a lot like running a marathon. Most successful career authors have built what they have, whether they knew it or not, on the mantra that slow and steady is what wins the race. Book after book they persisted until they built a backlist that continued to earn. Book after book they built an audience and readership that would come back for more, reviewers who became fans, and fans who became supporters.

Each book you write is that next step in your 26.2 miles. The three under your bed are the three that got you to the one that got you the agent. The one that got you the agent, that maybe you did, or didn’t, sell got you the book that got you the book deal. That first book deal established you as a published author and whether or not you got the next book deal, you kept writing until you found the book that did, and then the next deal, and then the next book that was completely different from the first because the market changed and so did you. Your advances went up, they went back down, they went up again, but you kept writing, you kept persisting and you kept finding a way to sell books. Slow and steady you took that climb out of 4-digit sales to 5-digit sales numbers and beyond.

Remember, a publishing career is never instant success, even when it seems like it. It’s a long race with lots of hills, turns, and even bathroom breaks. When things look impossible, just remind yourself that slow and steady wins every race.

4 responses to “Slow and Steady Wins the Race–Even in Publishing”

  1. Avatar Bryan Fagan says:

    That’s a reminder that we need to have. This approach applies to pretty much everything in our lives but sometimes we want it all and we want it now.

    It’s a common mistake and we know better but every now we act like a three year old and we just can’t help ourselves.

    As always great stuff!!!


  2. Avatar Bellamy Gayle says:

    thank you! This rewrite is slow going and I needed an ‘attaboy’.

  3. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    Thank you for this. It’s a very timely reminder.

  4. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    For the moment, my end-post is getting an agent (I prefer to break my goals down rather than having something that seems to be scarily out of reach). I always look at it as climbing a ladder. Just have to get over this rung and then you can face the next one.

    (Just wish someone would tell me how many rungs are on the ladder!)