So, Where Is the Book, Sis?
I heard a record scratch in my mind when my mentor said, “I think you should consider traditional publishing.” I plopped on the floor in my son’s nursery, trying to process what she’d just said.
All my writing plans centered around independently publishing my novels. Over the past few years, I’d taken online seminars, watched countless hours of YouTube, read sundry articles and books, and listened to podcast after podcast; all in preparation to call my own shots and be my own boss.
Traditional publishing terrified me. The reality of inevitable criticism and rejection roused an insecure place inside of me that thought my stories wouldn’t measure up to the market. Would industry professionals read my work and be moved enough to support, polish, and publish it? Once that book is available nationwide, maybe even worldwide (*gulp*), would anyone want to read it? For me, self-publishing felt... “safe”.***
And what happens when I get a publishing deal? I’m already balancing the roles of wife and mother. Can I really do it all without losing myself or compromising my self-care? Will I meet my deadlines with all the other demands in my life? Somehow, I don’t think my agent or editor would excuse a missed deadline because I pulled an all-nighter with my teething son.
This leads to my biggest deterrent from pursuing traditional publication: the guilt about pursuing my writer dreams. I finally have the rainbow baby I prayed for and my mama heart tells me I should be focused on him. I’m constantly battling uncertainties in my mind. Is this really the time to be pursuing writing, editing manuscripts, querying agents, and attending writing conferences? Shouldn’t I wait until he’s older? Or maybe when I’m done having children altogether. I am passionate about both my family and my craft. The thought that either my family responsibilities or my career might suffer makes me feel defeated.
There I sat in my son’s nursery, trying to collect my edges while my mentor pumped me up with reasons she believed I should query an agent. She urged me not to allow fear to steal what God may have intended for my career. Then, I recalled how a dear, sweet soul once pointed out that I tend to talk myself out of my blessings. I second-guess, question, research, and all under the guise of “being careful.” But, the truth is, I am fueled by procrastination and fear.
When I finished that phone conversation, all these fears weighed on me, so I went to my husband, needing to hear his opinion. The moment I told him I might reconsider independently publishing, he was already nodding his head.
“I’ve been feeling like that’s what you needed to do for some time now,” he told me. I immediately began to ramble off all of my apprehensions and God used him to annihilate each and every one of my excuses.
He lovingly told me:
Don’t worry. You can make deadlines because I will do what I can to make sure you do. You may be doing the writing, but we are still a team. You’re not alone.
You. Are. Good. Enough. And you have a lot to offer to a lot of people if you just lean into your purpose and stop running from it. Why be afraid of a potentially bigger platform? That’s even more people who will be impacted by your gift.
The time is now. You’re looking for hope in tomorrow that may never come. Seize this moment while you still have it. It might not look the way you thought it would, but it’s a beautiful part of your story.
So, you heard it here first, folks. Once PROJECT HEART is written (it currently sits at 85K words!) and edited, I will be actively seeking representation in hopes of being traditionally published. This does mean it may be much longer before you’ll hold one of my books in your hands, but I hope it’s worth the wait. My soul bleeds through my pen on a regular basis as I work to craft these stories. I’m eager to reveal these beautifully broken characters to you. I think you’ll love them as much as I do. Traditional publishing is a road I didn’t think I’d ever travel on, but when you have people in your corner like I do, it’s got to be worth it, right?
*** Note: Some of the most talented, hard-working, and prolific writers I know are indie authors. Their dedication to the craft and the business of publishing is astounding and note-worthy. Although I have deviated from my original plan to self-publish, it does not diminish how I value indie authors, nor does it mean I won’t ever self-publish in the future. My path to publication is deeply rooted in my need to face my greatest fears, and I’m persuaded that trying this scary route is necessary to increase my faith in God and in my own ability.