This week saw the loss of several people we all know of, though most of us have never met. The one who caught my eye and occupied many of my thoughts this week was novelists Vince Flynn. Vince was 47 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. There were several things I contemplated while thinking of Vince. I have several personal friends and acquaintances who have fought cancer, some of whom lost their valiant struggle. Vince is a couple of years younger than I, and his youngest daughter is one year older than my daughter. Then of course Vince wrote 14 best sellers, and I write (I am still working towards my first best seller). Vince is survived by his wife Lysa, a stepson 16, and his two daughters 11 and 9.
Like so many bestselling authors, Vince’s first novel, Term Limits, was rejected by the established publishers. He collected 60 rejection slips before he self-published Term Limits, which went on to become a success, after which he received a publishing contract and an agent. He wrote 15 novels and his latest novel is coming out soon.
I never knew Vince, but there are several things I would like to point out about Vince, things we can all learn from him.
First, he did not quit. How many of us can say we could take 60 rejection slips and still push forward. Like so many of the other people I have written about over the past year, Vince did not become successful on his first try, his second, or even his sixtieth. When people kept shutting the door on Vince, he created his own door, publishing his first novel on his own. Perseverance, that is what it takes to be successful.
His family morns him now, but they have their memories which they will always cherish, the best of all legacies. Equally important to Vince, if not his family, is his ability to provide for his family even after he has left them. Copyrights are good for 50 years after the death of the author, they are also transferable like other property (such as money, houses, cars) and can be bequeathed in a will to your survivors. So, until June 19, 2063, Vince’s royalties from his work will continue to be paid to the family he loved so much. His children will be older than I am now when the copyright runs out. His grandchildren, yet to be born, will also benefit from his work as a bestselling author.
It is very fortunate for not only his family, but also us his readers, that Vince persevered and published Term Limits on his own. If he had put his writing aside instead of publishing it himself, it would be sitting on a shelf somewhere today, collecting dust. It is rare for a discarded manuscript to be published after the author’s death. So, what are we to learn from Vince?
Finish your book, no more excuses, finish your book. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry (poke poke Mon Chere), it matters not what you are working on, PUBLISH YOUR WORK.
Second, even if you have not published anything before today, tomorrow make sure you include a clause in your will stating who receives your copyrights when you die (for me that person is my daughter). You can leave your copyrights to anyone, even a charity if you wish. Louis L’Amour left his copyrights to his son and daughter; to this day (25 years after his death) new printings of Louis’ work continue to be released under their direction and benefit. You can take care of those you love, for the next 50 years.
Though it is a pretty safe bet your work will be no more popular tomorrow than it is today, you cannot make that claim for ten years from now, next year, or even next month. The single most important influence to your financial success is the taste of the public. Yes, I know (please no comments refuting that last statement) the quality of your work is important, and you should never be satisfied with your work. You should always strive to make your next piece better than your last. However, if you go to Amazon.com you will see many bestsellers replete with editing errors.
There comes a point of diminishing returns, sure you could rewrite again, but your work is as good as it will ever be. Spending another month or another year, you may find a few more places to rewrite a few words. At that point, you are merely finding excuses not to publish. Except for a few people (who have as their main vocation writing bad comments and reviews), readers do not expect perfection, they expect good.
So, get those poems together and publish them (poke poke Mon Chere). Stop rewriting (for another 100 times) that book of fiction or non-fiction, and publish. PUBLISH.
While you are at it, checkout Vince’s last book when it comes out. If you have not read any of his work, download one of his books today or buy a print copy. Vince is one of us, a writer, he is a coworker of ours. When you get your first (or next) Vince Flynn novel you will not only be buying a good read, but you will be helping your coworker take care those he loved, for the next 50 years … and that ain’t too bad.
Thank you Vince. Thank you for showing us, for showing me, an unselfish example of perseverance and strength.
Vince’s website is www.vinceflynn.com
- On the reading of Louis L’Amour western novels (alexanderschimpf.wordpress.com)
- Mountains, Lions, and Research (Oh my) (sshicks.wordpress.com)
- Steven Manchester: An interview with Divine Caroline (thestoryplantblog.com)
- Farewell to the King (georgecaseblog.wordpress.com)
- Write 750 words a day (Part 2) (katkinnie.wordpress.com)
- Interview with James Clay (tellcotten.wordpress.com)
- There will come… (chasingskinnyblog.com)
- A reader…. (mountainstroh.wordpress.com)
- RIP Vince Flynn (barefootediting.wordpress.com)
- Vince Flynn Dies At 47 (duckduckgrayduck.com)