Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Published

Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes on our fun news! I'll keep you updated as things progress. As for now, back to answering your questions...

Lori is "on this journey called life along with my handsome husband and two spectacular boys." You can find out more about her at her beautiful blog, Beaumont Butterfly. It's filled with photos, quotes, and encouragement. Check it out!

Though Lori asked several questions, I'm just going to tackle a few today: How did you get your first book published? Did you send it off to publishers or agents? Did you have rejections at first?

My road to publication is rather unusual. Although, aren’t they all? Anyway, it’s a long, convoluted tale that actually began a year before I started to realize how God was weaving lives together for a purpose that I had only dared to whisper to my pillow. But I won’t bore you with all those details. I’ll commence with a conversation.

Aaron (on his way to Grand Rapids for 14 weeks to complete his denominational requirements for ordination in the Christian Reformed Church): I’m going to miss you so much!

Nicole (preparing to be a single mother for 14 weeks as her husband is incognito, studying church polity in G.R.-usalem): Not half as much as I’ll miss you!

(Wanton smooching ensues. You might want to avert your eyes.)

Aaron (finally tearing himself away): Just promise me that you’ll write while I’m gone.

Nicole: I always write.

Aaron: I know, but keep working on that book. You’re going to be a published author someday, and in order to accomplish that I believe you have to write an actual book.

Nicole: Whatever. My chances of being published are about the same as being struck by lightning. It’s all about who you know and I don’t know anybody in the publishing industry…

Fast-forward six weeks. Aaron’s still gone, I’m still single-parenting it, and God’s still (always) working in mysterious ways. One night while Aaron is in Grand Rapids, he shares a supper with the amazing couple who has agreed to billet him throughout his semester-long stay. During the meal they end up chatting about our family--in particular, me. When Aaron tells them that I’m a teacher, the lovely matron of the family asks, “But what does she really want to do?” The question stuns Aaron so much he tells her my secret (the truth): “She wants to be a writer.”

Turns out, this godly, generous couple just so happens to know the senior acquisitions director at a major publishing house. They promise to hand deliver 50 pages of an original manuscript to their publishing industry friend if only I can complete a few chapters and a proposal in time for Christmas. Madness ensues. I spend four weeks hammering out the intro to a new book, send it off with a wish and a prayer, and promptly forget about it. After all, could anything really come of this??? Only in a fairytale.

Three months later I get an email from the senior acquisitions director. I’d like to see the rest of your manuscript… The rest is history.

Yes, I have a Cinderella story. This is not usually how things happen in the publishing industry. But in my defense, my manuscript did sit in the slush pile for three long months. I have no doubt that the talented woman who discovered me was probably not a huge fan of the “as a favor to a friend” manuscript submission. And who can blame her? For all she knew, I had all the talent of a trained chimp. Thankfully, she didn’t ultimately think that, and (Praise the Lord!) I signed a two-book contract as a result of this unlikely connection.

Writer’s Tip: In some ways, it is about who you know. But you don’t have to be best friends with an industry professional to get someone to notice your work. Go to conferences and conventions, join a writer’s guild like the ACFW or the Christian Writer’s Guild, read publishing blogs and leave comments, research agents and discover who might be a good fit to represent you, make friends… You never know how God is going to use a connection (that might seem insignificant!) to open doors for you that you never dreamed possible.


  1. Great tip. The converstation with your husband made me smile.

    God is always at work.
    ~ Wendy

  2. I loved reading about your journey again. It is crazy how God works while we're completely oblivious. :)

  3. Wonderful! Everyone has a story to tell, there's meaning and blessing behind them all. Thanks for sharing yours!

  4. Last week I travelled extensively & seem to have missed a lot of things including your blogs.Now since I'm back & down with flu,I think I should be able to catch up with them all.Good to start with your publication journey.Reading that Aaron-Nicole conversation brings me smile.Thank you.And you put it right in words that we not always need industry insiders as best friends to get our talent noticed.Sometimes, our honest & sincere attempts are acknowledged directly by Almighty.And he brings two complete strangers together at the right place, at the right time and proves his presence.Well, how did you acknowledge that generous couple?I am sure it must have been a unique way.

  5. That's awesome. I can only hope that God plans for me to publish someday. That would be a dream. :) Keep gracing us with novels, Nicole. Yours are a treat to read.

  6. Can't wait to read your publishing stories someday. :)

    Neetu, I'm sorry you have the flu! And you're so right--God doesn't need an industry insider to prove his might. He'll work his will however he sees fit.

    Blessings to you!