Recently, I had a great exchange on Facebook with author George Pearson. An author of two books and currently working on a third book, his books are written for the Christian market. However, the criteria George and I discussed for finding the right editor for his work is applicable for authors of various genres and topics.
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What would it be like to be constantly disbelieved for your own experience? To never ever be validated, with or without proof? How does it feel to be dismissed, denied, and rejected? To have your tears and frustration met with responses like, “I don’t believe you. You are lying.”
Adichie tells the story of a Nigerian family under the oppression of a fanatically religious father. The story is told through the sensitive eyes of fifteen-year-old Kambili. The wealthy and privileged family consists of father, Eugene; mother, Beatrice; elder son, Jaja; and younger daughter Kambili. They are members of the Igbo tribe and live in Enugu. Despite his tyrannical rule over his family, Eugene is known an upstanding businessman and kind-hearted, generous philanthropist who gives to widows, pays tuition for over one hundred poor children, and funds the efforts of his local Catholic church.
Writers have a unique weapon at their disposal that can bring healing to the world. That weapon is the written word. Just like any weapon it can be wielded for good or evil. The right word at the right time can have a huge impact if only on one reader at first, transforming them into a force of change and compassion and producing a ripple effect that can ultimately impact entire cultures and societies.
Today's post is inspired by a question from an aspiring author. Someone heard this person's story and said that she should write a book. This is a very common motivator for people to start thinking about writing a book. She connected with me and said, "Jevon, I have no idea where to begin." This post is how I answered her.
Something I am learning: If you wait until you have no feelings of fear and everything is perfect before you do something your heart has been longing to do, you will never do it. Do not mistake faith for a feeling. Faith is about trusting in God's infinite ability to act on your behalf. His word over your life or the one thing you are aiming to do is sure. He does not fail.
Staying on the path to achieving your dreams is not easy. Quitting seems like a really good option on most days. Ignore those thoughts. Seriously. When you think of quitting, shun it like the dark evil it is. Recognize it. Call it out. Encourage yourself all over again with stories such as this from Christian fiction author Kariss Lynch. In this piece she shares her story of her journey to publication. I hope it inspires you to never, never, never give up on pursuing what you know you have been specially chosen for.
You have it going on over here: platform, credentials, consumer interest, consumer demand, passion, knowledge, and credibility. But you insist on writing over here in the land where nobody cares, where they have "been there done that" so many times that the books on that subject are on sale at Dollar Tree, where if this lukewarm topic of a book is somehow published the market will spew it out of its mouth, where if one more sentence is read someone is going to jump...
When your desires and expectations for certain parts of the publishing process exceed a traditional publisher's ability to meet them, self-publishing may be a great option for you. Read about 10 signs indicate self-publishing may work better for you than traditional publishing.
I ventured out and tried something different on my blog today and let you hear from one of my dearest friends Becky Van Volkinburg, who just became a published author. Becky and I have sang together, cried together, prayed to gather, dreamed together, vented about "stuff" together... I am so proud of her journey and I wanted to share it with you today.
You are the cream that has risen to the top. You have several publishing offers in front of you. You have your pick of the litter. Advance and royalty rates are basically the same. What now becomes your deciding factor? Does it really matter whom you choose to publish with?
When I launched out into the social media scene, my main purpose was to see what it really takes to build some sort of digital presence, so that I could say to my authors, "You really should have an online and social media presence," without feeling like hypocrite.
New York City is known for being the epicenter of book publishing, and in times past I have often wished I lived in New York--if it had Florida-like weather. But I have decidedly stepped out of my wishing to be there to enjoying being here, and what I've discovered is a flourishing love of the literary arts in my local area.
The word on the street about editor-agent relationships is muddled at best and negative at worst. But I don’t give that much thought when I am in the trenches with an agent reviewing a proposal and negotiating an author’s contract. I decide how my relationships with agents are going to be—and I like working with agents.
"How do we know what the trends are in Christian publishing?"
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the publishing panels I am part of at writers conferences. I am listing it all here for you to peruse at your leisure. Aren't I nice? A one-stop Christian Publishing trends spot.
- I am editing another author's book.
- I am editing another author's back cover copy.
- I am doing some online super-sleuthing for new authors.
- I just got off a long conference call with another author or an agent.
- I am responding to a long emailed list of contract revisions from an agent or another author.
- I am writing an edit letter to another author.
- I am preparing proposals for an upcoming acquisitions meeting.
- I am preparing a monthly activity report.
- I am on my way to a meeting.
- I am just getting back from a meeting and I am trying to figure out where I left off in my work.
- I am taking action on the action steps from a meeting I just attended.
- I am honing my telepathy skills when I have no idea what another author is talking about in the book I am editing.
- I am trying to decode a cryptic request from someone who just stopped by my desk and asked me to do something for them.
- I am making a desperate attempt to create a to-do list so I don't forget anything that has to do with the thirty to fifty projects I have in the pipeline.
- I am conceptualizing a best seller (yes, it pays to speak positively).
- I am shutting down my computer and on my way home for the evening.
So do you really love the writing in that book you're reading? Are you so engrossed in the story that you forget you are actually reading? Has this book challenged you to live a better life? Give more? Work harder? Go the distance when you first thought you should quit? Take that leap of faith? Yes? Well, you need to get off your duff and show some love!
Discovering your target audience is like the jelly part of a PB&J sandwich; the topic itself is totally the peanut butter. Those two elements need to be clearly defined before you put pen to paper. Many times when we discuss our writing projects, we verbally articulate who we are writing for, but when we take a closer look, sometimes it's hard to match whom we said we were writing for with the writing itself.
Today I am working on an extensive edit, where I am having to fill in large portions of text. And I have actually been battling what I call editor's block. Being a developmental editor, it is my job--and really it's a gift--to be able to see how a theme or topic can germinate into a full-fledged trade book. Basically this is called conceptualization. That part came pretty easily to me for this particular project. But somewhere between the conception and the development, I lost my train of thought a bit.
Now I am knee-deep into my edit and the deadline is encroaching upon, creeping into, or threatening to cramp my creative space.
However, what inspiration I thought I lost has returned full force. Want to know how? I began listening to the author speak on a similar topic. Having CDs or DVDs of my authors speaking or doing media interviews is really a point of inspiration for me when I begin to conceptualize or edit their work. I get fired up about their project just by hearing or seeing their passion about whatever it is they are talking about. I get a better sense of their voice, their mannerisms, their coined words or phrases, and other things that connect them so well with their audience. It helps me to be able to take those unique and identifiable traits and add them to the work I am conceptualizing or developing for them. I think adding those elements strengthens the impact of their book as well.
You may be reading this and thinking that writers have to come up with all their own ideas. That is definitely and hugely helpful and most generally preferred. Then there are times when someone who has adoring fans and incredible insights who needs that extra hand putting an actual book together that strings all of their appeal together into one place and on a solid, salable concept. That is where I come in.
So just a little tip: inspire your editor by sending them a CD or DVD of you communicating your heart to a large audience. It doesn't necessarily have to be about the subject at hand, although it really helps if it is.
If you are editing or writing for someone else, what are some tangible things that inspire you?