I’ve had a lot of questions lately on the status of my book. If you’ve been wondering too…well, here ya go!
I have wanted to share updates with you...but I’m at a place where I’m just waiting. Sort of.
I have learned most publishers won’t accept unsolicited materials, which means if you don’t have a literary agent to send in your work for you (which I don’t), a publisher won’t even look at your proposal and sample chapters.
After tons of researching though, I found an editor who would look through what I had prepared, even without the all-important agent.
I soon realized his kind man was actually the VP of Nonfiction Acquisitions (and Lysa TerKeurst’s editor!) at Thomas Nelson, the Christian division of Harper Collins (one of the “big six” publishing companies).
And with shaky hands, I sent my 54 page proposal plus three sample chapters his way.
Yes, I said 54 page proposal. Nuts, right?!
It’s so interesting learning all this behind the scenes stuff that most of us never consider as we curl up in our favorite chair, flipping through the pages of a crisp new book.
In a really strange, roundabout way, God connected me with an incredibly talented freelance editor who has become one of my dearest friends (and has since begun working as an editor with Thomas Nelson).
With her help, the massive undertaking of the perfect proposal grew to reality: Overview, comparable books, excerpts from each written chapter, author bio, how this book came to be. Gosh what else? What type of audience would read this book, publicity and marketing ideas I bring to the table, what endorsements I expect to pursue from various well-known writers and high profile people.
The list goes on and on (and on and on)!
A week after pressing “send,” and my palms still sweating at the bigness of the unknown, I heard back from the VP of Acquisitions. I was over the moon excited to have heard back so quickly, but as I read his email…my excitement faded a touch.
He wrote how this was his last day at Thomas Nelson. He is a fellow adoptive parent and having recently brought home two older boys from Uganda, his family really needed him to step down and spend more time together.
Oh goodness, how I TOTALLY got that! For goodness sakes, that is such a big theme in my life! How many things I say no to or don’t take precedence simply because the need to concentrate on our children is so great.
He concluded his email to say he “really liked my writing” however, so he was forwarding it all on to an associate. An associate who ended up being the Editor in Chief of Nonfiction.
She too emailed me back several weeks later, asking permission to take my proposal before the Editorial Board (click here for what this is).
But no, though the editors and marketing team really liked my book, I was too much of an unknown. My platform, they said, wasn’t large enough. Basically, I needed to focus on growing my blog, schedule many speaking engagements, and gain more followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest.
If people didn’t know me, no matter how much they market a book, it won’t sell well.
I was crushed. Once again, I totally understood where they were coming from, but it reminded me of graduating from college and interviewing for jobs. You can’t get the position because you don’t have experience, but you can’t gain experience because you can’t get the job!
Over the next several weeks, I came to embrace their decision and completely agree with it. I’ve spoken to writers and read a ton about how even ultra successful authors were rejected many times.
For example, J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury - and even then only at the insistence of the chairman's eight-year-old daughter (source). It’s a long road and it’s a hard road, one full of many No’s and rejection letters.
I just grabbed my phone to check my email as I type this out and guess what I just saw.
I mean, literally…just this second…an email from her.
The Editor in Chief of Nonfiction at Thomas Nelson. “I might throw up,” I texted to sweet Meredith, my editor. She freaks out over the phone as much as I do and we agree that this email was very strangely timed, as I hadn’t heard from her since July and I was working on a blogpost about this very subject.
Plus, she truly had no reason to email me.
Her email was simple and short, but it was encouragement to continue working on my platform. She highlighted the extreme importance of having a blog and social media sites with a “very nice following,” along with a history of speaking to large groups. “Well-rounded is the key,” she said.
So that’s where I am.
Would you help me? Would you continue sharing Hugs & Punches with friends and family and anyone you think may love it like you do?
Would you “like” posts and comment and re-pin and re-tweet and re-gram my posts and photos and such?
If you’d like me to come speak at your church or Bible study, or conference, or really anywhere…let me know!
God continues to yank me out of my comfort zone time and time again, and humbles me as I ask for help, knowing this is not my journey alone.
This may be my life, but truly it is God’s story, Beautifully Interrupted…just like the title of my book. If He wants it published, I know at some point it will be…I think He’s putting me in a place of equipping. Readying me for what’s ahead.
note: this was actually written a few weeks ago, right before Anton went into the hospital. nothing has changed within these past few weeks.