Friday, March 27, 2015

Writing: Right Place, Right Time

Getting a book published, whether fiction or non-fiction, demands a combination of a great product and...let's face it...the right circumstances. My manuscript for The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse hit editor Dennis Hillman's desk at Kregel Publications at the right time and under the right circumstances, and he accepted it for publication. Dennis could identify with my situation in the death of a spouse. He'd gone to a seminary in the city where I lived and when we spoke we discovered that connection. I got a contract, but that was nothing but God's timing (or coincidence, if you prefer to look at it that way).

I gained representation from my agent the same way. I'd come to know Rachelle Gardner when she was an editor (and turned down my submission--rightly so, by the way). After she became an agent, I followed her blog. I'd already given up any hope of being a writer, but through a series of events that could only be "a God thing" (as my friend, Rupert Robbins would say) she read some of my work, liked it, and thus began a relationship that has lasted for years (and ten novels either published or under contract).

How do we increase our chances of such good fortune? Of course, we have to produce the best book we can. That's the sine qua non of seeking publication. After that, we keep trying, all the while remembering our reason for doing so. If we're in it for the money or fame, we're probably in the wrong profession anyway. I agree with what I've read so many times: A writer is someone who "can't not write." And a Christian writer has a very specific reason for writing. Let's not forget it.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

9 comments:

Patricia Bradley said...

It's all in God's timing. Of course we need to be ready when He opens that door. Meaning we have to do the hard stuff first--learn the craft, BIC, and pray for inspiration. :-)

Gail Kittleson said...

Seems most likely the people saying it's all timing are those for whom the timing has worked out. That's not sour grapes, but folks who're working VERY hard and still waiting in the wings have a hard time holding that perspective.

Maybe that's why so many choose to Indie publish or use Createspace, etc. I'm not in any specific category, just adding my 2 cents' worth.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I agree with what you say about God's timing. Don't some people say that "coincidence means that God chooses to remain anonymous?"

Gail, you're right, of course, and I don't mean to come across as demeaning the talented writers for whom the time and place haven't yet been right. It's tough to get published. I've dipped my toe in the self-publishing water (an announcement about my self-dubbed novella coming soon), and I know others who'll do it, as well. I'll be talking about that more in future Friday posts. Meanwhile, thanks for your comment.

Elaine Stock said...

Richard, thanks for this excellent post and perspective. We writers must daily look for ways to improve our storytelling, and being open-minded about new and unexpected opportunities is a big plus, yet we also must accept that He will direct our lives. And it won't be a mistake.

Richard Mabry said...

Elaine, thanks so much for your comment. I couldn't agree more.

Gail Kittleson said...

Richard, I didn't feel you were being demeaning at all. Thanks for bringing up this topic!

Mary Hawkins said...

I too have proved what you have said to be so very true, Richard. After 13 rejections over 13 years of my first inspirational romance, I wrote my first Harlequin medical romance novel and was so thrilled to sign a contract for it. Years later, I discovered the senior editor who accepted it had a mother who suffered the same medical condition as my heroine's father. Since then I've seen over and over how God closes and opens doors in this crazy writing career. My responsibility is to keep my relationship with Him on track,so I do knock on doors and trust Him while I persevere and wait.

Gail Kittleson said...

Mary, what a great story - thanks for sharing it. \

Richard Mabry said...

Mary, thanks so much for sharing your story--I wonder if you shouldn't be the one writing this blog post. Some of my readers undoubtedly are considering giving up. Others have stories of publication that could only be "a God thing." All our circumstances are different, but we serve the same Lord...and are thankful for that.