by Andy Lee @WordsbyAndyLee
Andy Lee is a new author of two books, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood, 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG 2015). She is the managing editor of the Florida Christian Writers Conference Blog and president of Wilmington Word Weavers. Andy is mom to three grown kids and a kitty named Hank, and she is wife to her retired soldier husband, Mike. Andy writes and teaches Bible studies, drinks too much coffee, sneaks occasional spoonfuls of Nutella, and writes about digging deep to live fully on her blog www.wordsbyandylee.com. She also brings the Bible to life on her daily Periscope broadcasts Bite of Bread by @wordsbyandylee Monday through Friday at 8:20 ET.
A sign hangs in my kitchen that reads, “Faith makes things possible, not easy.”
Ironically, I bought that sign the same year I sat down to write my first book. And though the writing flowed easily, nothing prepared me for the publishing giants I would face—doubts, questions, and hard work after the ink had dried on the manuscript.
As I began to study the publishing industry, I learned about blogs, writers conferences, queries, and proposals. I read about platforms and speaking engagements, and social media musts. And while I took all this information in and began to implement the advice, there was hope bubbling inside of me that I would defy the odds.
We all dream of it. We’ve heard that landing a book deal in today’s industry is difficult. It often takes authors many years. The industry demands platforms and platforms and well . . . platforms. The publishers want a sure thing—a book that will sell thousands if not millions of copies. Who can blame them? They have to feed their families too.
But we all dream that our story will defy today’s trends. We dream that we will be the author that signs a contract after her first writers conference. We’ve heard that it does happen to a few either incredibly gifted or “anointed” writers. Miracles do happen.
A few months ago I met one of those authors. She told me how she had shared with her husband what she wrote during a morning quiet time with God. Her husband was convinced that her words were the beginning of a book, and he persuaded her to keep on writing. Five weeks later, she wrote the last sentence of her first-ever book.
“You’ve got to send that into a publisher!” her believing husband demanded.
But she wasn’t so sure. “Send it to the biggest publisher you know, but I’m not sending it,” was her response.
And so he did. He sent three chapters to their favorite publisher. A few weeks later this new author received a phone call from the acquisition editor, because the pub board was interested in her book. This woman, who wrote a nonfiction manuscript in five weeks—her first book, landed a contract without an agent or blog or critique group or big platform. In the span of five months, her book was on its way to the printing press. It was a miracle in the publishing world! When something like this happens, there is no doubt that God’s hand is in it.
Her story caused me to doubt my publishing accomplishments, because it took me seven years to get published. I began to compare and question my writing and whether God’s hand was in it.
As I began to sulk, the story in the Bible of Peter being reinstated by Christ came to mind. After Peter told Jesus he loved Him three times, Jesus told him to follow Him. He also told Peter his future and how he would die. As they walked along, Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John. This was Jesus’s answer,
“If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22).
The memory of this story settled deep into my spirit. No matter how God uses my writing, or how long it takes to be published, I must follow Him. I can’t compare my publishing journey to others.
The next morning after this encounter with “miracle-author,” I called a close friend to schedule a lunch date to celebrate her birthday. Her smiling voice on the other end sang, “We have so much to celebrate! We need to celebrate your miracles—your published books.”
Her words brought me back from the depths of comparison to the place of reality.
After hearing the “miracle” publishing story and doubting God’s hand on my books, I forgot that it truly was by the grace of God that I wrote those books, and by His grace that they made it to the shelves of stores, libraries and nightstands.
Some miracles take longer than others.
If your miracle has you on a long, bumpy journey, I hope this article encourages you to keep on keeping on. Listen, wait, write, write some more, attend writers conferences, and don’t forget to pray. Read and learn all you can about the industry, and what we need to do as writers, but also know that when it’s all said and done, it all comes down to the One who has given us the stories to write in the first place.
We are simply to have faith and follow Him. Faith makes things possible, not always easy.
By the way, in case you want to read the miracle author, her name is Angel A. Wellington, and her book is Pumps in the Pulpit.
Question: Has God given you a verse or Bible story when you’ve been tempted to compare your writing journey with other writers, or do you have a verse that helps you keep on keeping on with your writing career?
It all comes down to the One who has given us thestories to #write in the first place - @WordsbyAndyLee (Click to Tweet)