High school students learn about persistence from local news anchor
John Gray, a local news anchor, spent time with Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School students, discussing his work in news as well as his love of writing. While Gray says he doesn’t have the opportunity to write much for his newscasts, he enjoys writing when he is away from the anchor desk.
A couple years ago, Gray was inspired to write when his six-month-old puppy passed away. He revised his story over and over until he finally realized, he had created a children’s book.
“I had never written a children’s story before,” Gray shared. “But, I had this children’s story and I didn’t know what to do with it.”
Gray reached out to 25 publishing agents and 60 publishers with his story. Most didn’t respond, those who did, rejected the book. That is when Gray decided to self-publish his story through Troy Publishing in Troy, NY. He expected to sell 1,000 to 2,000 books, and donate all of the book proceeds to local animal shelters.
“It ended up selling 14,000 copies,” Gray said. “And a woman matched some of the money I was donating, so we ended up donating $18,500 in the last year or so.”
After seeing the success of the book, Gray sent letters to three more publishing agents. One, said yes and published the book through Paraclete Press in the fall of 2018. Gray has already written another children’s story which was picked up by the publisher as well and will be released this February.
Gray’s bottom line with the students, circled back to how he started his chat.
“I heard no before every yes in my career,” Gray said. “Bottom line, and I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true, you can’t give up.”