Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday--The Writers' Porch--Finding Your Voice (Part 2)

Find Your Own Voice (Part 2)

Several years ago I bumped into an acquaintance that I had made at a She Speaks Conference. Lisa Richardson had been an attendee and I had taught one of the workshops at She Speaks. We met again at the International Christian Retailers Conference in Georgia. We were both sitting in the Harvest House hospitality room waiting to pitch our books to editors. Lisa recognized me and we began to chat about our book proposals. We reconnected as writers and our friendship blossomed.

She was pitching a book that told some of her very unique life experiences. (I can’t remember what I pitched—it was rejected.) Lisa’s book sounded great. I thought she would get a contract for sure, but she didn’t for that book.

However, after a few months Lisa began to feel that she needed to pursue a different genre. She decided that the Lord was leading her to write a book about tea. Obediently, she switched gears and became an expert on tea. About five years later, my friend has completed two contracts with Harvest House for gift books on tea. Why? Because although she had a great book the first time, God’s purpose for her was completely different. She listened to His voice and found her voice in the publishing world. Her first book just released—Tea with a Twist.

For myself, I felt for years that I was called to write Bible studies. Also, the Lord had placed in my heart the seed for a devotional book for parents of wayward children. I trudged to writers’ conference after writers’ conference with my proposals in my hand and pitched them. Repeatedly I heard, “Bible studies and devotionals are almost impossible for a new author to receive a contract on—publishers only want a recognized name.”

I didn’t give up. I felt that this was the direction the Lord was leading me at the time. It was. My first contract was for Perplexing Proverbs: A Woman’s Study and my second was for Birds in My Mustard Tree: How to Grow Faith.

Finally, my 3rd was the devotional book, Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents. Honestly, I cannot tell you how many times Divine Prayers was rejected, but God’s timing is always perfect. I was able to perfect my voice of writing and truly write from the depths of my own heart.

I want to encourage every writer who has received the heart-piercing rejection letter to keep writing, stay submitting, and continue to search for your personal voice and genre. Allow the Lord to steer you in another direction. Perhaps you want to write fiction, but He may direct you to a non-fiction book. Or maybe a devotional is your heart’s desire, yet God may want you to write a children’s book.

Here’s my best advice on searching for your own voice—listen to God’s. Proverbs 3:6, Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (NLT) Amen!


Julie Coleman said...

I'm so glad I stopped by today, Suzanne. I was in your speakers group at She Speaks 2005. I have continued to pursue getting published, but it can be discouraging. It's always helpful to read of others' journeys and know that rejection is all a part of the process. Thank you for your transparency and encouragement. I needed it today!!

DOakley said...

Thank you, Susan, for this post -- even though I'm a little late getting to it.

I'm a writer, as well, also led to write devotionals and "what I have learned on my spiritual journey" type books. I, too, have been told they are a tough sell for new writers. But, I'm persevering with them. I believe in what I have and I will not give up.

I realize I may have to do some other writing to build my portfolio, particularly on the Christian side, and I'm willing to do that.

I have also felt led to write Christian fiction. I have always included a Christian values in my mainstream stories, but recently my heart tells me, I would really like to write that, too. Don't know if I'm making the complete switch or not, I guess I will see when I finally get a chance to work on my own books--I'm an editor, too!

Sylvia Kaye Hamilton said...

Appreciate the insight into Christian writing, Susan.I am about to launch my sequel, For the Love of Willow Walk and I'm going to be anxious to see if it will qualify for Christian reading. I wrote it with that in mind so time will tell, I guess. Thanks you for sharing these thoughts.

Pee Wee (Sylvia)

Sylvia Kaye Hamilton said...
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