by Dani Pettrey
If nothing else, writing for publication produces patience. It takes time to learn to craft a novel, time to write the novel, and then, when you finally feel you’re finished, you often face years trying to find a home for your babies.
It takes time to find an agent, time to find an editor, time to get approval for your contract offer, time to see your book in print and on the shelves. I have a couple friends that are pre-published authors, and I hear the longing in their voices-the yearning to be published, mixed with the realization that it could still be months or even years away.
I remember those days vividly. I wrote a few manuscripts, over a number of years, before I sold. I remember the frustration of getting good editorial feedback, but still no contract. Take heart, dear one. Today I’m going to share five proactive steps you can take while waiting for ‘the call.’ They helped me during my waiting days. I hope they encourage you.
1. Pray without ceasing: You’ve heard it before, but it’s sound advice. If God has laid the love of writing on your heart, if He’s called you to write, trust Him for His timing and leading. Memorize scriptures that speak to this. For example:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts
of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11
Take encouragement in the Scriptures.
2. Keep writing: This is vital. It is very tempting when you finish a manuscript to focus solely on trying to sell it, but selling takes time. Publishing houses don’t often make overnight decisions (in fact, I don’t know that they ever do). They have steps they go through: editorial committee, publication committee, etc. While you are waiting, write. Write the next novel so when and if a publisher says yes, you have something else to offer them. I believe Susan May Warren mentioned in an interview a number of years back that she took this approach and when she signed, she had a number of manuscripts to offer them.
3. Keep reading: Equally as vital. I believe the best way for a writer to grow is to write, write, write and to read, read, read. Reading great works of fiction spurs us to write deeper. Learn from other authors, study their works, enjoy them, and see what differentiates them from one another. Learn to cultivate your own unique voice.
4. Network: Meet with other authors via a local writer’s group, join an online group like ACFW and get involved. Attend conferences if you’re able. It’s wonderful to meet other authors on the same path and journey as you. Build friendships in the writing community and support one another.
5. Last but not least…compile an encouragement file: It takes the majority of writers a number of manuscripts and/or years before they are published. I took note of this. I figured if a phenomenal NY Times Bestselling author like Debbie Macomber, with more than 160 million books in print, wrote for five years before she sold a manuscript, then there was hope for me. Hope for all of us who have spent years crafting manuscripts without a sale yet. Yet is the key word.
I hope you’ve found these five steps to be helpful. I’ve got five more for you next month. Until then, be encouraged and write!
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. Her debut novel, Submerged, released in 2012 and her current release, Shattered, just hit shelves. Dani feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two daughters. Visit her website at www.danipettrey.com.