I have big news.
Not only was yesterday my 25th wedding anniversary, but I also was offered a three-book contract for my middle-grade fiction series. Now that's what I call a good day!
The first book of this series is already written and that's what the publisher read. I'll share more about it in the coming months. In my book proposal I pitched it as the first in a series and gave them ideas of what the next several books might be like. The second one is already half written. But to add even more joy to this big news, I wrote that first book over ten years ago. Actually, it's been so long ago I can't even remember for sure when it was. Maybe even fifteen years? At any rate, I've been shopping that manuscript at publishing houses for a looonngg time. It has been reworked, rewritten, sat silent in my files, and then resurrected for yet another metamorphosis. So to finally land a contract for it? Gold.
I believed in this story from the beginning and always thought it would be published one day if I could just find the right publisher. I loved my characters and their interactions. I loved the story line. I felt like it was good and so did my critique group. So why couldn't I sell it?
Armonia Publishing who offered me the contract, suggested I buy the lecture notes of Margie Lawson's "Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues" online class. I did, and became a better writer in the process. I worked what I learned into my manuscript and resubmitted it. It made all the difference and I have a contract offer to prove it.
My point? I've been writing for over thirty years. I have six published books. But there's always something more to learn or a way to improve my craft. It takes persistence, hard work, and a humble heart.
I wouldn't be celebrating today if...
I'd gave up on this book when I received my first (or twelfth) rejection.
I gave up when my first agent went out of business without selling my book.
I threw in the towel when my second agent released me because he couldn't sell my books.
I hadn't believed in this story idea from the get-go.
I listened to the inner voices that tried to make me doubt myself and my abilities.
I hadn't maintained a teachable spirit and kept learning and improving my writing.
I didn't take the time to write, rewrite, add characters, revamp characters, and rewrite again.
I didn't listen to the helpful advice and suggestions of my critique group and my editor.
I didn't hunker down and submit my manuscript over and over again.
And most importantly, I wouldn't be celebrating today if not for God and His perfect timing. I would rather have sold my book years ago but if I had, it wouldn't be nearly as good as it is today and I might just be celebrating a one-book deal instead of three. I wouldn't be working with the awesome editor I now have the pleasure of working with. God, in His wisdom, gave me His best when I would have settled for His okay.
So be persistent. Don't give up, whether it be on a book project, a class you're struggling through, a parenting challenge, a difficult marriage, or some other thing you believe in but are having to wait to see results. God is there. He's waiting to bless you with His best in His perfect time.
And believe me, it will be worth the wait.