Monday, July 26, 2010

The Story God Has Given You


Self-publishing. I shook my head. Not for me. I need affirmation from those experienced in the industry. From the people who have years of knowledge. Besides, I don’t have what it takes to market myself. I will need some help.

But my words of caution didn’t stop my good friend from pursuing her dream. A few years ago, she self-published the story she said God kept waking her up at night to write. Finally, with the support of her husband and family, she wrote and wrote. Over six hundred pages.

I made her cut at least a hundred.

Yeah, I read her book and I admit I groaned over her poor punctuation and her head-hopping and terrible clich├ęs. She cleaned it up as well as a new writer could and sent it off.

Then she wrote book two and book three.

I won’t tell you all she had to do to market these books but I know her platform helped, her job helped and her prior contacts helped.

But what helped most was her story. Once I got past all my OC about her writing style—I loved the story.

And it seems others do too because her sales have been awesome.

But what made me want to cry with her this week was the news she gave me when she called.

A well-known publisher has contacted her about the book.

She’s realistic that they might not like her work at all. But someone did. Someone mentioned her book to this publisher and praised it enough that he hunted her down and asked to speak with her.

She received her affirmation that day to keep writing despite the outcomes. Something each of us needs almost daily.

Do I believe in self-publishing now? Would I do it?

Probably not, because my situation is different. But it makes me believe even more that if you’ve got a story to tell—a good one—God will help you get it out there.

How’s your story? Is it one God gave you?

56 comments:

Natalie said...

Wow, good for your friend! I don't think I've ever heard of that happening.

I don't think I will ever go the self-pub route, but I do think it's a good tool, depending on the book. I always question whether or not my stories are good enough, and my only answer is, "if they aren't now, they will be someday." :)

Amy DeTrempe said...

Congrats to your friend. I don't have the guts to try self-publishing. My publisher is small so a lot of promo falls to the author, but I couldn't move ahead without a publisher. Like you, I want someone in the business to reaffirm that it is ready to be published.

Nehha N Josshi said...

Can't say because I don't know the answer. As they say.. "I'll cross the bridge when I'll reach it:)"

Julie Jarnagin said...

Interesting story. How exciting for your fried!

Mary McDonald said...

What an awesome story! Congrats to your friend. I think what it shows is that self-publishing doesn't mean a story is doomed to never receive interest from the traditional publishing world.

Everyone has to follow their own path to publishing, so what works for one might not work for another.

Shirl said...

If I ever get mine written, I will self-publish. I just don't have what it takes to go through the publisher's route. What a great inspiration to those of us who will go this route though.

Katie Ganshert said...

I love stories like that. Absolutely love them. I hope the publisher LOVES her story and wants to take her on. :)

kathy taylor said...

I'm so happy for your friend. I won't self-publish fiction unless every possible avenue is exhausted. I know nothing about marketing; that's why.

Diane said...

Great story! I am nervous about self-publication because a lot of the promotion falls on you the writer. :O)

Lynda Schab said...

I love hearing testimonies like this. I, too, am very wary of self-publishing and would probably never even consider it. What are the stats? Something like 99.9% don't earn back what they spent to get their book published? But, hey. As you said, Terri, each situation is unique. And God uses us all in different ways. Congrats to your friend!

As for me, I'm still trying to figure out which story to go with. I don't know if I'd say God "gave" me all of them, but He sure gave me a mind that comes up with way too many stories than I have time to write. LoL. In fact, it's funny because I'm blogging about that particular "problem" on Wednesday. :-)

Amie B said...

the statistics of that happening are so slim, there is no doubt that your friend did what God wanted her to do. seriously, it brought tears to my eyes. thank you for sharing this story.

Jeanette Levellie said...

What a wonderful testimony to what God can do, if we follow His lead and don't let fear take over.

I believe God did give me my stories. They are all about His bigger-than-trouble grace.

Love you!
Jen

Lin Floyd said...

I'm writing mostly for my family and lately for my grandkids to pass on our family histories and heritage.

patti said...

Oh, that is sooo cool! I love that your friend wrote for the Audience of One! God controls all things, doesn't He!!

How wonderful you loved her story!!
Thank you for sharing.
I'm doing a pretend tap dance!!
Patti

Jan Cline said...

Funny you should mention it...I've been wondering about it since I see how popular it's becoming especially for Christians who want to get God's words out there. But the platform is still an issue. It takes a lot of work either way, but I think it's more work to self publish.
Always nice to have options, tho.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

That's a wonderful story! So encouraging.

I feel like God has nudged me forward on each of the stories I've written (at least after I became a Christian :D). I've included a message and feeling and characters that are genuinely changed and drawn toward a better relationship to the Lord through their trials. It's one of the best things about writing.

Jen said...

God is truly wonderful and whenever I feel stuck and just have a talk with him he always seems to be there to help me level things out until I understand them again.

God gives me many stories, to write, to read, to love, to laugh they all mean something different and I'm blessed to be able to share them all with the world.

Karen Lange said...

There are pros and cons to self publishing and I think it depends on various factors.

My story? Yes, it is from the Lord, and it is still forming while we speak:)

Blessings,
Karen

Janet Johnson said...

Thank you for sharing! There are so many different routes out there. Good for her to have the faith and fortitude to move forward despite others' doubts.

Lynda Young said...

God has given me the ability to write and the time to write. The rest is up to me...I just have to write.

Great post

Kenda said...

Not contemplating the self-publishing route myself, but congrats to those who have found success that way!

Jolene said...

It's always nice to hear encouraging stories like that but I don't think I'd ever self-publish.

Tabitha Bird said...

Congrats to her. And no, self-publishing is not for me either. But I think it is right for some people. It was right for her. And yes, I am think we should all write the story we have inside us. That is my goal.

Lydia Kang said...

I'm with you, I feel the need to go the traditional route. But kudos to your friend for doing it her way. And she's lucky to have a writing friend to help her writing be the best. She might never have had that popular a response if her original work was e-pubbed.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I'm so glad for your friend. The fact she had an established platform and contacts helped. Not many writers, especially fiction writers, have that kind of clout.

I've observed a number of people's experiences with self-publishing, and don't think it's a good fit for me.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Awww...I hope everything goes well for your friend. I don't know if I'd ever self publish, but I'm happy for anyone who finds a happy place in their writing journey.

The first story I wrote, (I swear) was given to me from God. I was at my grandmother's funeral. As I walked in the funeral home, I saw a cloud that looked like her. At the burial I saw a cloud that looked like a heart. Gramma was a widow from the time she was 50 until she passed away in her mid 70's. The heart cloud symbolized her rejoining Grandpa in Heaven. Two weeks later I wrote my first story...

K9friend said...

There are so many different avenues to publication now, one really needs to consider them all.

Pat
www.critteralley.blogspot.com

T. Anne said...

I think there has to be a point in every non published authors life when they need to seriously consider this format. Is it when they have their fifteenth novel under their belt and still no bites from agents? I don't know. Every writer must anwser this for themselves.

Judith said...

Interesting question, Terri. Some of my stories I believe God has given me; others result more from a "bit of bad beef." No need to blame them all on Heaven!

Thank you for the encouraging comments left at my blog, Terri. Needful things, helpful words.

Blessings,
Judith

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri..I am happy for your friend. Hope it works out for her. I am not high on self publishing as my marketing skills are nothing great. But many writers have taken the self published route and achieved success.

Jody Hedlund said...

What an interesting story, Terri! There is so much struggle involved in publishing and even more when we choose to go the route of self-publishing. I honestly don't know that I could go that route, especially after hearing and seeing first hand others who've done it and knowing how hard it is.

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, that's SOOOO cool! Congrats to your friend. :-)
I have tons of ideas bouncing in my head. I hope they're from God, but if they're just from my romance-laden brain I hope He'll bless them. :-)

Jill Domschot aka Arabella said...

That is the most amazing, wonderful story that brings hopes to all of us who are out there struggling!! I hope my stories are from God. I'm waiting on Him for answers. Thanks for posting this.

Deborah said...

I chose to self publish because I wanted to get my book out more quickly....before my 50th birthday!
It worked for me because we found a printing ministry that made the cost very reasonable, and their quality is better than many books I've seen by big publishers. They also didn't require a large number of copies, so my investment was not a huge amount. I can order more copies any time.
The one drawback was not having a professional editor, and of course having to market my book on my own.

Nancy said...

I'm very excited for your friend. Hope she gets a book contract. Hope she keeps writing.

I don't think much has happened with the people I know who have self-published. I do think that if that is what you want, go for it. I don't think there should be any shame in it. Perhaps a person just doesn't want to write to what the popular culture is crying for. That's O.K.

Heidi Willis said...

I'm a firm believer that not everyone's path needs to be the same. While the agented path is probably the safer one, it's not guaranteed, and plenty of books get published that get no marketing at all.

The most important thing is that the writer is comfortable with the path they pick, and are sure it's the right one for them.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I've heard of this happening before. In today's publishing world with "print-on-demand" and ebooks I think there will be more and more writers choosing the self-publishing way.

What great news for your friend. She took a chance and it turned out.

We all have our own path to walk. ;)

Sally said...

Obedience to what God calls us to leads to joy, not necessairly in the time frame we would like, but joy none-the-less.

WritingNut said...

Wow, congratulations to your friend! What an inspiring story! I really hope everything works out :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, that is a really cool story. God was in total control of that one.
Thanks for sharing. I just love to hear inspirational writing stories like that.

BeckyJoie said...

Time can only tell but I hope so. Good story.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the way you shared your friend's story. Your voice and fluency in this post were mesmerizing, Terri. I don't know if God gave me my story or not, but I gave it back to him immediately. It is His, to do with as He will - I'm just along for the ride. :-)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i believe it. randy ingermanson's advanced fiction writing ezine came out last week and in it he gave a few predictions....one being that more and more publishers will be watching the sales of self-pubbed books to decide who to take on as new clients...and that virtually no unknown authors will get picked out of "slush piles" b/c essentially slush piles are going to go by the wayside. i'm not sure he's totally correct, but your friend's story would indicate he's at least hinting at something worth looking at. i love that she told her story regardless.

jeannie
the character therapist

patti said...

WOW! Did you hit some nerves!!
SOOOO cool!
Love this blog.

Hey, if you have time, would you stop by and say hi at my FIRST AUTHOR GUEST?
I'm not telling, no.
Okay. You don't wanna play guessing game on Wednesday.
Cynthia Ruchti, ACFW pres and author of "They Almost Always Come Home."

Blessings, dear one.
Patti

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Terri,
I discovered your blog and love it, signed on as a follower. Your messages are powerful. I too was published in CS Beach Lovers. Please check my blog at http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com

Jill Kemerer said...

Wow! That's amazing! Self-publishing is not for me, but I give anyone credit for going after their dreams. Good for her!

Susan said...

Hi Terri! Self publishing, eh? Hmmmm, still out to lunch on that one. I do wish I had more outlets for my feature stories with photos. But I'm not sure if self-publishing is the way to go.

Was happy for your friend, though. That was great news for a writer!

Sincerely, Susan

Sassy Granny ... said...

This so confirms what I believe to be true about any pursuit when the Lord's involved: If He's at the heart of it, NOTHING will impede you!

That's not to say there's no value in studious, disciplined approaches, or in patience. It is to say that, in His time, He perfects all that concerns us.

Another thing I'm beginning to understand better: It's really not my story at all. It's His story (history) as revealed in and through me.

You go girl! Your story is bigger and better than any you could have imagined!

Kathleen

Maria I. Morgan said...

Great post, Terri! I've kicked the thought of self-publishing around too...Not sure of my conclusion yet. I guess I'm still in the research stage. Anyway, thanks for the reminder to listen to God not only as to the content of our writing, but also to the method of publication! And a hearty congratulations to your friend! God bless!

Rhonda Schrock said...

I enjoy watching the stories of famous people on the Biography channel. There are several threads that run through nearly every single one:
1. They had a talent and used it.
2. They worked, and sometimes for a long time, with little recognition.
3. They walked through the open doors, the "next thing," that came along.
4. One thing led to another, and their paths crossed with someone who could "do something about it;" i.e., a publisher, manager, agent, etc.

This always encourages me with my own hopes and dreams.

As for my story? Well, it plays out week by week on page three of our local newspaper. I don't know where it will go or what doors will open, but I'm trusting God to show me that one step at a time.

Saumya said...

That is soo amazing for her! I believe I'm writing the story God gave me which is what makes it so fulfilling :)

L'Aussie said...

That is one amazing friend and good on you for helping her too. It takes a lot of grit to self publish but some people have done it so successfully..:)

Jackee said...

GREAT story! I believe God gives us chances and paths (and probably stories as well), we just have to have the courage to follow, sieze opportunities, and work hard.

Thanks for sharing. I wish your friend the best of luck!

Deb Shucka said...

What a wonderful story. Yes, my story is God-given, and I continue to try to hear just how I'm meant to give it back to the world.

Nicole said...

God has given me some stories, but mostly I am interested in other people's stories which is why I am a feature writer. I interview and write stories about people and what they are doing, learning, giving, and living. I believe I am called to help people to understand one another. That is the story that God has called me to write, and it is so uplifting and encouraging!

Heckety said...

I agree with you about the self-publishing. BUT have you ever noticed that when someone is absolutely certain that they are in God's hands and what they are doing is His plan, they chuck the rules out? And when it is God's plan, it works because He is doing the work!!
Unless you're sure God is in the middle of what you are doing I find its best to stay with the rules!!!!