Thursday, February 18, 2016

An Update on The Waiting Game

I’ve been asked lately how things are going with the fiction book I wrote last year, and for whatever reason, I don’t feel discouraged about the progress until I have to give an answer to someone.

When I realize that my answer is the same as it was the last time—or that I’m still waiting—I feel like I should have more to show for my efforts.

One of the most important takeaways from the ACFW conference last year highlighted how slow the publishing process is—and, for me, I’m glad I know that so I can expect to wait, a lot.

But equally as true as the wait time from an agent shopping your book proposal with publishers to securing a contract to seeing your book in print, I’m learning, is the process for finding an agent.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I didn’t want to send out my book proposal or manuscript to any and every agent, so it’s been a lot of wait-and-see (and check the inbox all. the. time).

I finished the book last January.

In September, I met with three agents and one publisher at the ACFW conference, and I had two agents ask to see the manuscript. 

In October, I sent the manuscript to the first agent who requested it.

In early January, I received her reply (which I’m still saying is the nicest rejection email I’ve ever seen).

And toward the end of last month, I sent the manuscript and proposal to the second agent I met with.

And now, I’m waiting again… 

I did have encouraging conversations with two editors who said (noncommittally) that I could send them my proposal—and I have thought about sending them my proposal as is, without an agent representing me, but I guess the thought makes me nervous. 

What if I burn a bridge with an editor because my proposal is not as sharp as it would be/will be when I have an agent? Could we still send the proposal to that publishing house later? 

(Side note: If you, dear reader, know this answer or have advice—please share! :) )

So, I’ve had a lot of waiting lately, but this week the Lord reminded me that the best is worth waiting for.

Our culture tells us that everything should be instant—the law of immediacy—which is counter to God’s law of sowing and reaping. Instant gratification is not necessarily true gratification—sometimes the hardest work has the sweetest reward. 

I wrote in my journal—years ago—the greater the desire, the longer the wait, the higher the risk for disappointment but also the highest and sweetest return. 

I’ve said before, I’m not much of a risk taker, but God has taught me so much about the risk that’s always worth it—trusting Him, trusting His plan, trusting His timing.

My sweet Mimi called me last weekend to tell me she was praying for my book—and after I had told her that I still didn’t have an agent yet, she said so matter-of-factly, “You will. Because you’ve got a talent. And God’s going to use you. Just be patient.”

I know she’s a little biased because she’s my Mimi, but her reminder could not have come at a better time: just be patient.

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." - Earl Nightingale

When I saw this quote on Facebook, it resonated so much within me. The time is going to pass anyway. Why not pass the time pursuing my dream?

If I’m really committed, then I’m willing to risk.

And if my risk is to trust Him with my future, then it’s really not a risk at all; it’s the safest bet I can place.

Besides, one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, Charles Martin, said he had 86 rejections before his first manuscript was published. Today he's a New York Times Bestselling Author. I told my family—I guess if I get to 87, I’ll ask God if I missed it. J

And in the meantime, I'm working on Book 2 (squeeeeel!), and I'm willing to learn as much as I can about the craft of writing. (Second side note: I'm going to this local ACFW writer's event in April. Anyone else going!?) 

Dear friends, what are you waiting for in this season of life? What risk is He asking you to take?

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