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Time Can Be Key Ingredient of Best Seller

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RALEIGH — Ever dream of being an author? It's not as easy as you may think.

It takes talent, time and perseverance.

For women who are balancing work and family, it is especially hard to find the time. But there are many North Carolina women who have made it onto the bestsellers list.

Margaret Maron is an accomplished mystery writer who just finished her 15th novel.

"You have got to finish the book, you can't sell a book without finishing it," she says.

Maron says perseverance is the key to her success.

"You can't be supermom or super at work or super everything. If you're going to write you're going to have to give the time to it."

But for new authors, like Sharon O'Donnell, trying to get published can be daunting. O'Donnell has published in magazines, and is now marketing her first novel.

She says accepting rejection is part of the process.

"Even though I have had small successes in writing, when it comes to getting the the book done, or finding an agent for something like that, it's almost an uphill battle."

"I would say that the two most valuable things to a writer are time and courage to write," says Debbie McGill, the Literature Director for the North Carolina Arts Council. She says grants and residencies offered by the state buy writers time.

"For many women time is the hardest thing to get, writing happens at the margins, so our grants make it possible to bring that writing closer to the center."

And most authors agree that writing is a way of life.

"If you decide you really want it, you just have to keep on going after it," O'Donnell advises.

"Writing is one thing you don't have to retire from as long as you keep your senses," Maron says.

Publishing is an $18 billion industry. About 120,000 books are published every year.

The North Carolina Arts Council will award three residencies this year and eight grants to local authors.


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