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When “No, Thank You” is Really “Not Yet”

By Kathleen Y’Barbo

You keep track of my sorrows. You have collected my tears in your bottle. You record each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

             The process from idea to publication is sometimes much more difficult than a writer expects. Fresh plots become words on a page. Those words are polished, deleted, and added back until the manuscript is finally ready. Just one more pass through the document to check for spelling, grammar, and inconsistencies. And perhaps one more peek to be sure the character arc is well defined. Oh, and of course there must be a good reason for that scene at the end of chapter seven, right?

Eventually the editor had comes off and the writer must begin seeking a publishing home for the book. Queries are written and rewritten, each time with the prayer that this will be the editor or agent who asks for a full manuscript. And then it happens. You’ve got the request. It’s time to act. For some, the next step is the hardest. Pressing send and watching as your potential book heads off toward the inbox of an editor or agent can be exhilarating and terrifying. And yet that step must be taken if a story is ever going to end up in print.

But what if you do all the right things and then the worst happens? What if the response to all your hard work is, “No thank you”?

I’ve had many no-thank-yous in my almost twenty year career, but the one that stung the most had to do with a book of my heart. That book too a year of my life, and those of you who know how fast I write can appreciate that this was time enough to write four or five books at my usual speed. I researched that tale of Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates and their treasure in Galveston’s Rosenberg Library and wrote most of the chapters sitting on the porch of my beach house. When I finally finished, I just knew that book would be snapped up and become a bestseller.

But it didn’t. Instead, a long list of editors said no thank you.

Ouch! Hopes dashed and dreams gone, right? Wrong! Rejection is redirection. It is God’s way of saying not this publisher or not this agent. What feels like the end of something, can very well be the beginning. For if this book is to be published, then the Lord will guide you to another agent, another editor, another publisher. Or perhaps He will lay it on your heart to publish the manuscript yourself as an e-book.

Just know that one rejection—or even a stack of them—does not mean you will never publish a book. Set that thought aside and ask God what comes next. Ask Him to guide you. But just for a moment, if you’re wanting to cry, know that God sees that and collects your tears. He is a good and faithful God. Trust Him!

Oh, and that book I mentioned? Almost twenty-five years later, The Pirate Bride was released by one of the publishers that originally said no thank you. Even better, the book made it to the bestseller list in its first month of release!

When a No Thank You is really a Not Yet by @KathleenYBarbo #ACFWBlogs #amwriting #writingrejection http://www.acfw.com/blog Click To Tweet

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and author of more than ninety books with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of ACFW, Novelists Inc., and the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division. Recent releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride and My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas. To find out more about Kathleen, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

 

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2 Responses to When “No, Thank You” is Really “Not Yet”

  1. Samantha says:

    It’s so true that we have to learn to trust in God’s timing. I’m thinkin’ writing is a lesson of patience in disguise. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this! It encouraged me today.

  2. Such a great encouragement for those of us going through the submissions process. Thank you for sharing!