How to Stay Resilient | Jack Jordan Takeover
What do all successful writers have in common? A number of answers may spring to mind, but you’ll find that ‘resilience’ is one you’d struggle to argue against. Jack Jordan, bestselling author of five thrillers, knows as well as anyone that a career in writing is a constant rollercoaster. Today he’s sharing his career journey with us – from the biggest knockbacks to the greatest successes.
How to Stay Resilient | Jack Jordan Takeover
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Throughout my twelve years of writing and seven years of being a published author, I have come to learn that there is one key ingredient to success. Some might think this is talent or luck – and of course, these do play a part (the latter particularly so). But in fact, the key trait of a successful writer can be summed up with a single word: resilience.
Meet a published author, and you’ll see this trait in them right from the off: it’s the fire in their eyes, glimmering with their long-worn history of knockbacks and false starts. You’ll see the successes too, however small they might have been; the fuel that keeps the fire going. Some might mistake this for ambition, but the truth is, ambition and resilience are two sides of the same coin – one cannot prevail without the other.
My career has not been straightforward in any sense of the word. I began writing at the age of seventeen whilst I was locked inside my house for a year due to agoraphobia, and spent the next three years submitting to agents to no avail – three consecutive years of nos, of hearing ‘not quite there’, of doors remaining shut. It was my resilience that kept me knocking at the door and sent me off in a different direction to find another way into the industry. In 2015 I self-published my debut novel, Anything for Her (which was actually my fifth novel), followed by my second novel, My Girl, in 2016. With that double-sided coin of ambition and resilience held tightly in my grip, I treated their publications as a business, researching the ins and outs of the industry and wearing multiple hats: writer, project manager, marketeer, accountant. Within six months of my second novel’s publication, the two titles had sold over 100,000 copies. This led to me acquiring my first literary agent and traditional publisher.
Some might think that this is the end of the story, but alas, the resilience in me still had some work to do. In 2018, my traditional debut, Before Her Eyes, was published alongside a digital novella titled A Woman Scorned. My fifth published book, Night by Night, made its way onto the shelves the following year. My books sold well, but certainly not astronomically, and each acquired sale seemed like an uphill battle. I thought I had made it once I crossed the threshold into publishing, only to be met with another marathon ahead. Many elements out of my control were working against me: supermarket and retailer selections, a small publishing budget, my books being passed from editor to editor as people moved jobs or went on leave, to name a few. The success I had acquired on my own seemed like a long-forgotten dream as I watched the years I had put into my career slowly fade away.
At the start of 2020, I was at a crossroads in my career. I had parted ways with my publisher and agent and feared that my career was essentially over before it had fully begun. Then the pandemic arrived, followed by lockdown one, and then two, and I was locked inside my house just as I had been a decade before when I was battling agoraphobia. So, I did the only thing I knew: I wrote.
The book I wrote in 2020 was Do No Harm. In the April of that year, I signed with my dream agent Madeleine Milburn, and in the autumn of that year, I signed a two-book deal at auction with Simon & Schuster. The journey since then has been everything I have ever dreamed of, and after twelve years of clawing my way to the top of the mountain, I finally feel like I can draw breath.
There had been a point before I began writing Do No Harm where my resilience wavered. There had just been too many knocks – a decade of them, in fact. But that resilience was still there, whispering away, telling me not to give up the fight just yet. Just one more. Write one more.
From the outside looking in, it is easy to assume success has been stumbled upon or gifted to those with the right connections. But I promise you, the majority of the published authors I know have fought tooth and nail to achieve their dreams. What do they all have in common? Resilience. So, when times feel tough or impossible, remember: you never know what is just around the corner...
Jack Jordan is the bestselling author of five novels, with his sixth, Do No Harm, is one of the most anticipated books of the year and is set for publication on 26th May. Do No Harm is the story of an organised crime ring abducting the child of a leading heart surgeon, Dr Anna Jones, and giving her an ultimatum: kill a patient on the operating table or never see her son again. Do No Harm is published on 26th May in hardback, ebook and audio.
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