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Persistence Pays Off!

Over the years, as a teacher and a parent, I offered this advice to my students and children: “Follow your dreams but have a back-up plan. Sometimes your dreams don’t pay the bills.”

When we follow our dreams, whatever they may be, we often face failure and rejection, which may lead to depression and giving up. Since this is the story most people experience, it helps to read one where someone did not give up on her dream and struggled for almost a decade.

Amanda Hocking’s story is inspirational and the foundation of that inspiration was her persistence.

It wasn’t easy. She says, “In the past ten years, I’ve probably got hundreds or maybe thousands of rejection letters.”

As the rejections and criticism saying she couldn’t write arrived in the mail, she thought, “This sucks! I should just give up.”

However, her passion to write kept her going. In a recent post on her Blog, Hocking says, “You cannot control everything that happens to you. But you can control how you react to it and how you feel about it.”


In the first video, The Young Turks discuss Amanda Hocking’s story.

Tired of rejection, Hocking turned to the Kindle e-book in 2010 and self-published. She says she grossed $2,000 in 2009.  Today, she is a millionaire.

Amanda Hocking is now the rock star in the e-publishing world – selling hundreds of thousands of self-published e-books. Her young adult paranormal books have caught on like fire, getting her attention from the traditional publishing world and even Hollywood, which recently optioned one of her trilogies in addition to Hocking signing a contract with St. Martin’s Press for $2 million.

Amanda Hocking was born in 1984 and completed her first novel at age 17. She has now written twenty-two novels (published and unpublished).

USA Today reported, “Like writers from time immemorial, Hocking’s motivation to create a fantasy world stemmed from harsh reality.

“I grew up poor. I was an only child,” says Hocking, whose parents divorced when she was 11. “We lived out in the woods. We couldn’t afford cable.”

A rocky adolescence followed. “I was really unhappy … really depressed. Me and my mom fought constantly.”

According to USA Today, three things saved her:

One—the computer her parents gave her for Christmas when she was 11.

Two—the day her mother told an eighth-grade counselor to stop nagging her daughter to find other activities besides writing.

Three—she completed her first novel at 17, wrote constantly, took writing classes at local colleges and regularly queried agents and publishers, only to be rejected until she was already a self-made millionaire at 26.

Since dreams do not come with a guarantee, there is always the chance they may not come true but without persistence, they don’t stand a chance.  No one that has climbed Mt. Everest did it in one leap. They did it one-step at a time. For Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, the climb took seven weeks from the base camp to the top.

It took almost a decade for Amanda Hocking’s dream of being a successful author to come true. For me, the same dream took more than four decades. In both cases, persistence paid off—something all young people can learn.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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