Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughtful About . . . Finding Your Place

With the ACFW Conference in Denver only a week away (woo hoo!), my thoughts have inevitably turned to the dual hope/fear of finding that perfect editor (or not) for the book I'll be pitching.

Up until two days ago, I didn't even know what I would pitch. I have a few books that were possibilities, but my agent systematically eliminated them all. "No historicals this year," followed by "too sophisticated to break in with" followed by "needs work." I sent her my ocean book, now titled Yesterday's Tides thanks to y'all, with a cringe. As close as I feel to this book, I groaned at the very thought of getting another "Not the thing" on it. Not to mention it would leave me with nothing to try to sell. So you can imagine my relief and joy when my agent sent me a series of emails with "One sheet is good. Interesting idea," "Synopsis is good. I really like how you handle this story," and "Yes, pitch this one. I'll have it read by the time you get back, and we'll make any tweaks necessary before sending it to the editors who request it." Whew! Step one down.

Now for Step Two: finding an editor who loves this book as much as I (and my critique partners) do. Never a guarantee, obviously. In the two years since my last conference, I have sighed many a time over the fact that the editors out there haven't jumped at the Victorian series that captured my agent's attention. You just never know.

But said critique partners have done so much for me. Not just in critiquing my work, but in building me up. Stephanie said once, "You know why you'll succeed? Because you keep writing new things, looking for that one that'll break you in. You don't sit back and wait. You keep coming up with new stuff, better stuff." The twenty manuscripts on my computer prove the "you keep writing" part, lol. Then Mary said of Yesterday's Tides that she had a threefold prayer for it: that it would sell soon, that it would be a bestseller, and that it would win a Christy. A dream for everyone, for sure. And it really touched me that Mary believed in this story enough to beseech the Lord for it in such a big way. And then Carole made me preen by saying I was becoming one of her favorite authors--a label she doesn't give out easily. Could a writer have a better group of friends and encouragers?

On one of my loops, we've been talking about that place we all visit sometimes where the not-knowing-where-we're-going gets so overwhelming. Where the fear outweighs the hope. Where you question your calling, your ability, your everything. Roseanna the Optimist doesn't often dwell on that, but I wonder. I wonder if the encouraging news I got on two different projects last week will come to anything--and if it'll come in time for conference. I wonder if all the work I've put into other projects will ever amount to anything or if they'll molder on my computer for all time. I wonder if, when I finally do get published on a national level, I'll have any readers. I wonder if the re-release of A Stray Drop of Blood will actually sell.

All things I can't know. Things that could lead to those "Is this where you want me, Lord?" questions. But as I'm getting ready to head to Denver and pitch a project I love and believe in, I'm instead getting excited about what He might have in store. The fact that I will even be pitching this story, when I had assumed it off the table, is enough to excite me. I finished its rewrites a year ago, but everyone kept losing it, forgetting about it . . . it wasn't it's time. Now it seems to be. Will that result in the "perfect editor"? I don't know. But it gives me hope.


  1. Even if some of your projects "molder" on your computer for all time, it doesn't mean they aren't amounting to anything. We learn with each manuscript. You're almost there, girl. Just hang on.

  2. Very true! A perfect example is the femme fatale story that will probably never be published. But it's an important book to me. It stretched me, grew me, and even altered a few things in my marriage when my husband read it. Of course, that was back in the day when I wrote for pure pleasure and didn't really give much thought toward sales, lol.

    I'm hanging on!