For the last five years at least, I have wanted to change my ways as a writer. Self-publishing has been good for me. Even with paying a professional editor, graphic book designer, illustrator, and printer, and keeping my prices constant over the last fifteen years, my little writing business has made money. I’ve been fortunate to sell close to 10,000 books in total. With each new book, I made enough to cover expenses, keep an up-to-date computer, attend conferences and even have a few trips with Tom. Of course, I couldn’t live on the proceeds, but I don’t have to. Financially, it was enough.
The problem is that I started writing books because I believe God wants me to spread God’s message. It’s a simple message, and all eight of my books carry it. As human beings, we are called to love and accept one another. Each person in this world has value. That’s it – Love, Acceptance, Inclusivity. I have reached a lot more people with my books than I did preaching every Sunday. Is being satisfied with self-publishing enough? Can I do more to get God’s message out? I’ve known the answer for a long time. Find a publisher.
Last summer, God decided to give me a nudge. A local primary teacher asked me to write a Remembrance Day story to use as a resource for children ages 5-8. God knew I love a challenge. After careful thought, research, prayer, I wrote the first draft. Actually, it flowed out of my fingertips. I’m sure God was helping. I edited and rewrote many times. Finally, I sent the story to five primary teachers. They affirmed that it was a good story and fit Ontario’s primary curriculum guidelines for Special Occasions. When fall came two of those teachers asked when they could get a copy of my new book. I groaned. “It will be a while,” I said. “It requires professional editing, design, illustrating; maybe this time next year.”
In my heart, I knew that this book required a traditional publisher. It’s a resource for schools. Self-publishing meant I would have to talk to each teacher, each principal, each school board across the province. I needed a publisher to carry my special book into the school system. The last three months, I’ve been making excuses. It wasn’t hard. Finding a publisher is hard, discouraging work, and takes time.
Last Thursday, I started the journey in earnest. In the past five days, I’ve put in twenty-four hours, preparing a basic cover letter, getting the manuscript in the proper form and researching publishers and literary agents. Each one has submission guidelines. Each set of guidelines is slightly different. Each publisher requires that I check out their books to ensure that mine fits their vision. Each one says, “If you don’t hear from us in three to six months, you will know your book doesn’t fit our needs.” At this point, I’ve sent my manuscript to eleven publishers and five agents. I’m ready to quit, but “Failure isn’t an option.” Besides, “With God, all things are possible.”
After Lucy Maud Montgomery’s handwritten Anne of Green Gables manuscript was rejected by every publisher she sent it to, she stored it in a hat box. Two years later, she reread it and sent it out again. This time it was accepted by the Page Company of Boston and became an immediate success. I don’t compare my little children’s story to her great novel, but she is an inspiration. Today, I need inspiration.
Over the next months, as I continue my search for places to send “Leaders for Peace”, I ask for your prayers for wisdom in my choices, determination and patience. Please ask God to keep me focused on my goal.
I trust that God will be with me on this journey. I will keep you posted on my progress. I know that with God all things are possible. Failure is not an option.