As part of the WordServe Blog tour, I've been asked to share my journey to get a contract with a literary agency. And I am giving away a set of "A friend in the storm" from Cheryl Ricker. my friend and fellow WordServe client.
First, I took a Novel writing class through a correspondence course offered by Writers Digest Magazine. Next I finished the novel.
I kept reading novel writing instruction books and each time I finished one, I edited Birdie's story (The title has changed many, many times.)
Meanwhile I began writing Evalena's story. (This title keeps changing too, so we will just refer to them by the name of the main character.) Then while I edited Evalena's tale I worked on Rebekahs.
Rebekah is a cousin-in-law to Evalena, and interacts with her in this third story. So even though these are stand-alone books, when something major changed in Evalena's life it sometimes had an effect on Rebekah's also.
STEP TWO: Join a Critique Group online or in person. STEP THREE: Be willing to take advice so that you can write the very best book possible.
This advice comes from critique partners, and paid critiques of course. But advice also comes from agent/editor meeting at conferences. The trick is to take the advice and still keep your own voice.
STEP FOUR:Prepare your elevator speech, your one sheet and proposal. And attend a writers conference.
STEP FIVE: Expect to Network at writing conferences
When I met Colleen Coble at my first American Christian Fiction Writers conference I did not even know she was important. I only knew that she was friendly, that she was a published author who approached me and said she knew an editor who would like to meet me.
The editor advised me to get an agent.
Another part of networking is keeping in touch with the writers who befriend you. If you like their books, recommend them to your friends.
How does that help you get an agent? Well, years after the first ACFW meeting Colleen introduced me to her agent.
STEP SIX: When rejections come. Do not give up.
Oh, that's right. Colleen also told me it took 15 years of writing novels before she got her first book contract. A writer needs to be in this for the long haul.
Keep writing and keep submitting your work.
STEP SEVEN: Remember that it is not all about you.
Rejoice with friends who win awards, and get agent contracts, and publishing contracts before you do.
STEP EIGHT: Wait on God's timing.
Fourteen years after attending my first local writing conference, and taking the first Writer's Digest class, I received my agent contract with WordServe Literary.
Leave a comment anytime through August 31, 2012 for a chance to win Cheryl Ricker's mug and book set "A friend in the storm".
Even as a very young child, she wanted to know God. And she wanted Him to know her. Many nights she recited the child's poem Star Light, Star Bright, and wished upon the stars that He would let her grow up to rear a Christian family.
The child grew. She had high ideals and didn't want to waste her time on the wrong "good works" only to come to the end of her life and have Him reject her. Luke 13:27 "Depart from Me, I never knew you."
At at age 13, she told her parents she wanted to be baptized. And she was full of that first love . . . for the church. She wanted to be true to its teaching and precepts. That should keep her safe and in the love of God, shouldn't it?
Then at age 15, she sinned. And she just might be pregnant. How could she? 1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
She felt condemned, and knewher only hope of salvation was to suffer through the coming tribulation. She expected it would be soon.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
21 It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Every night she cried out to God. If He could not grant a sinner such as her a home in Heaven, that He would keep her out of Hell. "Just let me cease to exist," she prayed.
One day I will face God. Will he welcome me? Or say depart from me you wicked, wicked person? Do you find it hard to fathom that any professing Christian would have doubts? Can you believe that many Christians in the past have wondered about their salvation?
In 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 King James Version (KJV) The apostle Paul said:I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Because of this verse and others, many old elders taught their followers that it is presumptuous to say you are saved. You hope you are saved. You walk as closely to God as possible, and hope in the end, that it was enough, knowing that the only way is for God's forgiveness.
Matthew 7:21 warns: 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. So it's not enough to call him Lord. But does this mean I can be sure of salvation if I follow the rules? And what are the rules anyway? Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
But, but I was baptized. I vowed to live faithful until death. Do you think I might have simply gone into the water a dry sinner and came out a wet one? Say it isn't so! How then can we be saved? Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. A glimmer of hope . . . is it attitude that makes the difference? Does it matter why I do the things that I do? I glance back at Matthew 7:23 I never knew you.
Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. So Simon wanted to do great things to bring glory to himself. Is that the kind of wrong attitude that Matthew 7:22-23 is referring too?
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Believing in Jesus is not enough. Good works are not enough. Unless we have a relationship with God we just won't be there. So how do we know God. Really know Him?
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In my younger years, I twice took up the challenge to read through the entire Bible. But I will have to admit with the hard to read chapters . . . and all you brothers and sisters out there know there are some really hard to read chapters . . . any way I would read through them and with a sigh put my marker in the next chapter to read the next day. And I did make it through the entire Old Testament and the New Testament. Twice.
Now that I am older I realize while I may have benefited some . . . there is a better way. Too bad I had to figure this out at 60 + years old though.
Every now and then I would get a nudge that I needed to share what I was learning about the scriptures. But you know, I don't know how to write devotions.
So I searched for how to articles, took classes from the Upper Room. And still felt unable.
A few years ago, when I began to read through some of the books of the New Testament chapter by chapter, the thought came to me. Don't read this as a history lesson, not even the hard chapters. What is Jesus telling me? What is the message for today? If I could not see a message for myself. I read the chapter again the next morning. And if necessary, the next.
It has been a thrilling journey. And I have committed to God that I will do my best to begin sharing. Look for the continuing post next Sunday.