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Posts Tagged ‘Publisher’

So blogging universe, I owe you yet another apology. Life has been… unusually extreme. It has not left me with any desire to chronicle the last week. All around me, friends and family seem to be battling giant odds. My business has faced a strange disappointment. And my own body decided to catch a virus. Now I return, if only to mark my longing to move on from the mire of the previous days. I have asked myself often in the last few months who I want to be. I think I got a little closer to the answer through all these challenges.

As far as news I can share, I must lament a little. Our lovely children’s festival has been canceled. Not due to any lack of interest. Our library simply could not jump on board as much as they had originally thought. Without them, the event cannot happen in October. Perhaps later in the season. I am disappointed. Yet, even in the event’s destruction, I am learning much. I have found a new passion not to let the obstacles that seem to appear all around us stop me. I will write beautiful books. I will build a publishing company. I will speak. I will pursue my calling. And I will not hide my faith in Jesus.

Now, to be fair, I should break from my lament to point out what a wonderful Sunday my family and I passed together. Playing super hero card games late into the night with my sister, her husband, and my parents is a sure way to relax. Especially since I got rid of my usually nerdy author persona and donned the abilities of a buff giant (my given character). And since I am in the mood to continue this post, I also want to point out that super heroes are not necessarily spandex-wearing men from Krypton. More often, super heroes are men in suits (like my dad who goes to court every day to pursue justice) or European college students who stop long enough to fish a dollar out of their pockets when mine won’t work in the machine (like happened in my school at Columbia, South Carolina–it made my day. I really wanted to do laundry.). They are average joes who are faithful, people who recognize needs and act. They may not be big needs; the heroes may not see themselves as heroes. But they are.

So author or daughter or friend or sister or publisher or acquaintance or leader or follower, I will try all the more to be faithful. A super hero in the little things as well as in the big. Facing giant odds and personal ones, facing tragedy and victory, through it all: faithful.

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I know this post is long, but I hope you’ll find it worth it.

I’m 21. I have three books published and a fourth in production. I have memorized 2/3s of the New Testament, made sweet friends in Indonesia, lived in South Carolina, and gone on two major book tours. I’m putting together an album for recording and dabble as a worship leader. I am the founder and leader of Rebirth Publishing, Inc. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management. I have escaped all of it without debt. And I thought I knew myself…

But since graduation I have realized just how little I actually know about myself. I know a whole lot about what I can do, but not a lot about who I really am. So, like the perfectionist student I am, I have poured the last few months into a character study–not of Pallen or Marcus or Cressa from Mark of Orion. No. This is a study of my own character. And with each new learning, I celebrate a victory that leaves me feeling a good deal more fulfilled.

First, let me say that I think labels are probably some of the worst things in the world. If you had ever tried to sum me up as ‘Lyme patient’ or ‘college student’ or ‘Christian’ or ‘publisher’ or ‘writer’ or ‘musician’ or ‘homebody’ or ‘extrovert’ you would have missed who I really am. To give you a glimpse of just how much I don’t like labels, check out this personal entry:

It is easy to believe labels are fulfilling.

 Not just the ‘popular’ label. Those of us who know better than to believe that success will fulfill us find other labels to put our stock in. Like the ‘loved’ label; the ‘happy’ label; the ‘work-a-holic’ label. After so many movies full of people finding their labels right alongside their soul-mates, we have begun to believe that if we could just find our label, our movie-moment, our montage of effective work and budding love alongside the perfect soundtrack, then we could feel fulfilled.

 Only, labels aren’t actually fulfilling.

 Not ‘hipster’ or ‘rock-star’ or ‘author’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘wife’. Labels in and out of themselves can never, ever satisfy. All they can do is make us feel bitter that we aren’t happy after attaining them or devastated that we cannot achieve them. Labels are a deadly lie.

So why does the girl who rejects labels find joy in figuring out that she is not only a perfectionist but also 1) passionate and 2) innovative? Aren’t those labels too?

To me the difference is that I can’t achieve to be an innovator. I just am. When I see a problem, my first instinct is to scrap the old system and create a new one. I can’t force myself to be passionate 100% of the time. Often I wish I could turn it off. Only, passion is part of who I am. If I offend you, believe me: it hurts me more than it ever can you. Because I care. And if I can make your day brighter, I’ll do my very bestest. Because I care with all my heart. It’s passion. I can control it, but it will forever be my default setting. And, yep, I want my new innovative system that I passionately care about to go perfectly. But those things aren’t based in what I can do or in the success of my efforts; they are based in who God made me to be. The core of who I am is not ‘author’. Perhaps you could say that I am a storyteller. Each song that I write, each book that I craft, each conversation I have revolves largely around stories. But even if I had never published a book, I would have been–I was–known as a storyteller. It is an attribute, not a label.

You see, sometimes trying to live up to the labels can be really devastating. I won’t forever be a ‘young achiever’ and, as much as I love that label, it can often do more harm than good as I achieve for achievement’s sake alone. I may not forever be ‘worship leader’ and that’s okay too. The ‘traveling artist’ day may pass; the sickness may fade; even the book writing may fizzle out. And if I all I was was an sick, book-writing, traveling artist I would be in a LOT of trouble when the day of change came.

So instead of setting my sights on a list of un-fulfilling and really frustrating labels, I want to discover who God made me to be. I’ll gladly accept the attributes that God created me with, but I am very ready to be done with the labels I set for myself or others set for me. Take heart, my friends, and revel in your uniqueness. It was designed that way by the greatest Storyteller ever, the God Who knit us together.

Psalm 139:13

13 For you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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Let’s talk writers. It is high time I added a little to my ‘Writing Central’.

As much as we do not want to admit it: the difference between a published author and unpublished author is how many times they have been rejected. Published = rejected dozens of time. Unpublished = too afraid to get rejected.

It may not be a perfect rule. Some people are lucky or blessed enough not to have to suffer much rejection. Some people are crazy like me and self-publish. Yet even crazy people like me should submit our work to those who have paved the way in order to receive true feedback. There is much to learn from these wise and wizened people who have suffered and triumphed in the realm of publishing. So how do we access their knowledge?

1. Read blogs, articles, and books. You will find a lot of helpful information when you read the ramblings of professionals on how they earned success. Just be aware that you do not have to mimic everything they did. I am truly saddened by how many young writers are discouraged out of writing because they cannot write in the exact format that their heroes did. Read them; learn from them; mimic them; but find your own style.

2. Email authors. Write a one to two paragraph email with no spelling errors and a professional format. Say who you are briefly and what genre you write. Tell the author you respect them; then ask for any  tips they might be able to pass on. Do NOT submit your novel (or even ask to) in this first email. You will scare the author away.

3. Find a mentorship program or go to a writing conference. There are plenty of writers’ conferences and some really good programs out there. Access these, if only for networking. (Look who is talking. I’ve never been to a writing conference. But I still take every opportunity I can to talk with other authors).

4. Don’t get discouraged if you are ignored. There are people out there who will talk to you. Just keep writing your short, nice emails (to other people who may not ignore you).

5. Wait. If you email a professional in publishing, wait at least three weeks before you send a follow-up. Publishers have 4-6 weeks (or more) to get back to you before you have even surfaced to the top of their to-do lists. Push too hard and you’ll brand yourself poorly in the industry. These marks are permanent.

5. Submit completed work only. When an author or publisher is willing to look at your short story or manuscript do not waste your opportunity (you may only get one) on an unfinished work that you might never finish. Make sure it is completed before you send it off.

Good luck!

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I was online today, celebrating my graduation from high school, when I discovered something that resonated through my soul. When I started looking into publishing Issym, I sent it to one publisher, AMG. A few weeks later I read the rejection letter that changed my life. In that coming week God used that letter to inspire me to start a publishing company.

The author of this rejection letter was Dan Penwell. “It’s my desire that you glean from this response the confidence worthy of your proposed manuscript,” he wrote. And I did. He encouraged me in so many ways through that one email. And without that email, I might never have become an author, publisher and speaker. I can already see the impact this ministry is having. And Mr. Penwell’s letter was what sparked this flame.

In April he died of cancer.

At www.amgpublishers.com I read that I was not the only one he inspired in his life. The article says, “It has been said countless times that no one ever wrote a friendlier and more encouraging rejection letter than Dan Penwell.” He touched thousands of writers lives that he never even published. God used this man in incredible ways. He used this man to turn my world upside-down! And I never even got the chance to tell him. But I will tell Mr. Penwell in Heaven.

Heartbroken, I started to write this blog. But as I look into Dan Penwell’s life, how can I not celebrate it? Who can write letters that should demolish people’s dreams and instead build them up? Who can use a simple job to change the world? Mr. Penwell did. We all can. God is ready to use us. Dan realized that and let Him and I was changed. Rebirth Publishing, Issym and my speaking come directly from one simple email. Thank You, God. Thank you, Dan. God bless your family and everyone you touched!

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