I have an agent & I'm writing a book!

I've had an idea for a book for nearly two years and the idea of it just wouldn't leave me alone. I thought of ways to turn it into a study for Sacred Holidays and it just felt forced. So I've been sitting on it for two years. I played with the idea of self-publishing it a year or so ago, and it felt like if it was going to be something, it needed to be catapulted into the world. So I sat and waited for the next step. 

Six months ago I sat around a table in Colorado at Camp Well, and said the word out loud for the first time: "I want to write a book, get it published and now is the time." 

Up until that moment getting published was something I'd always put in the much later down the road category if that was something God had for me. I had disqualified myself because of life circumstances (aka a bunch of excuses or insecurities). I said it couldn't happen until my kids were older, I was older, or my plate less full. But with age I've learned our timing and ideas pale in comparison to His ideas and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9 confirms this hunch).

So here I am with three kids ages six and younger, I am 35 myself, and my plate is full and...

Last night I officially signed this contract (unofficially, the day before I left for Kenya) and am officially represented by Blair & Rachel Jacobson with  D.C. Jacobson & Associates! (Copy and paste all the happy emoticons here!!!!!!!!!)

Chris and I were just going over my sample chapters this morning and I referenced Camp Well in a chapter. He looked up and pointed out that was just this past fall. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind y'all. A crazy, only God kind of a whirlwind. 

Remember the day before I left for Camp Well is when I first heard the new that I needed to see a hematology oncologist. At the time it could be anything from something weird with my blood to cancer in my blood. A month later and we were down to two options, the extremes we were given-- it would either be a weird blood thing that was easily treated or leukemia. The fall was gut wrenching. (You can read more of that story here.) Moving forward and we learned it wasn't cancer, and on to other tests (read more here). All in the midst of launching Advent with Sacred Holidays. It was a our biggest year yet and we were full-on, busy. Then the holidays with family. And onto Lent, my first study to publish with Sacred Holidays that I wrote on my own since the first year. My calendar was filling up and I was speaking more. I've never battled insecurity like I did the past six months of ministry because the enemy would like nothing more than to see us stopped from doing the things we are meant to do.

All things on paper seemed like they were going well, and they were! But I just felt like something was missing. I couldn't stop thinking of this book, but the idea of one more thing sounded absolutely crazy. Then I literally looked up and saw the verse I've had taped all over my house for the past year in multiple translations. 

I realized all my excuses were just excuses and it was time to go after that book. 

Oh and that is a process my friends. It sounds easy: have a book idea, write a book, then publish a book. Oh no, that's just not how things work if you want to be traditionally published. I am all for self-publishing, this is what we currently do for Sacred Holidays and will continue to do this method for as long as it is best. I've also seen self-publishing be the best alternative for many other writer friends. But I knew that for writing books, I wanted to work with a traditional publisher. With choosing that route, I knew that there also came a lot (read A LOOOOOOOTTTTTT) of work that goes into even getting started with writing a book. 

First step is get an agent. Publishers love authors, but publishers love authors when they are represented by an agent. Honestly, I love this concept too-- it allows the business side to be handled by someone else and the author is freed up to have a freer relationship with the publisher. I had to find an agent. 

Most writers have as standard proposal that they copy and paste and send to hundreds of agents. I knew this just wasn't the method for me. I didn't want just any agent. I wanted a real partner. I needed to respect and trust and want to learn from this person. I needed to know the book would be better with this person as the other advocate for it. I didn't want just any deal, I wanted to best deal, the right deal for me and my book (and all the future books to come). 

So I made my list of dream agents and narrowed it down even further. I followed the instructions for submitting a proposal, which ended up being a document more than twenty pages long: book summaries, book outline, chapter summaries, primary and secondary audience analysis, author bio and profile, competitive analysis, and more. I wouldn't call it hazing, but this is where they can weed out any one who isn't serious about writing a book. You will have a really good idea of your book, your audience, your competition and yourself after you've finished your proposal.

So I submitted it and I waited. I had a whole tribe of friends that were praying this whole thing into existence and cheering me on. 

A couple of days later I got a response! Interest and meetings and all was looking good! Then on my birthday of all days, I got the email that said it wouldn't work out. I was so discouraged because things really seemed to be looking like it would happen... and it was my birthday. Major womp womp, y'all. 

Then just a few days later, that generous and talented agent, who wasn't able to represent me, passed along my proposal to an agent she thought would be a better match for me, and they were interested! A few days later we talked and then both agreed to work together! 

It's funny because just a week before I had been crushed, and as soon as I got off the call with my new agents I turned to Chris and said this is the perfect team for me! I needed to go through the first step with the first agent or else I wouldn't have been connected with who represents me now, and I couldn't be more thrilled than to be working with Blair & Rachel Jacobson with  D.C. Jacobson & Associates

One of the things I say most about wanting to go with the traditional route of publishing for the books is because I feel I have the most to learn in the realm. Having run Sacred Holidays for two and a half years now, I know the value agents and publishers bring to the table. So I feel like I struck gold with Blair and Rachel because Blair is a writing coach and Rachel is a creative. I want to grow as a writer, but I also want to put out products that push the norm and what's expected when people pick up books and Bible studies. 

So I am incredibly honored to join the team at D.C. Jacobson & Associates. They represent some of my very favorite authors: Jess Connolly, Vicki Courtney, Joshua Harris, Tammie Head, Jamie Ivey, Kat Lee, Kelly Minter, Hayley Morgan, Tsh Oxenreider, Jessica Turner, Kasey Van Norman, Logan Wolfram, and Alli Worthington. 

I can't wait to share more about the book and this process with you all! It's a slow process, so know it will take some time. You all will be the first to know when I can share about the book, when launch team sign ups start, etc. 

Does His Word Fall Flat?

If you ever feel stuck in studying the Bible or like it just always seems to fall flat, know you aren't alone. I've dealt with this, like yesterday. And every where I go speak or women I interact with through Sacred Holidays, I hear this again and again: "I want to study His Word but I just don't know how!" or "I want to have some big 'Aha!' moment but I feel like I keep checking out or I just don't get it."

This isn't a How To post because I don't believe that actually works when it comes to studying His Word and knowing God. There isn't one right way. But I hope what I share with you today encourages you to not let it become something you dread or something you feel clueless about approaching. 

I've been reading through the Minor Prophets, all those books between Psalms and the New Testament. For me they've always been neglected. They are either last up if I've done a read through the Bible plan or get overlooked simply because they are harder to connect with, for me, than the gospels or other New Testament books.

Honestly, I've been so surprised by how much I love the minor prophets. It's been a beautiful journey.... until I hit Ezekiel. I don't know why but I just haven't connected with it. I just couldn't get into it at all no matter how much I'd muster to get there. 

Yesterday, as I sat down to read again, I stopped and I just asked God to blow fresh air on His Word. That I wouldn't just come to it out of duty or discipline but that His Word would come alive right smack in the middle of Ezekiel. I remembered Hebrews 4:12 and prayed that over my time: 

"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." 

I stared at that verse I'd read and said so many times and the words popped afresh: 

Living. 

Active.

Piercing.

Discerning. 

This is His Word. It is not dead. It is not stagnant. It is not flat. It is not random. 

This is what I needed. This is what we need. 

So I flipped back to Ezekiel and prayed that verse again over my reading and asked with great expectation that the Spirit of the Living God would breath life into my soul and actively work by piercing me and discerning my thoughts. 

And I began to see phrases come together that have been repeated again and again. Words like, "then they will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel is a lot of "This person did X, so this happened as a consequence. I'm over it." Rinse and repeat. (I'm sure there is a whole lot theological off about that summary, ha!) All of a sudden these stories of failure and judgement came to life-- All of it was so they would know Him.

All of life's circumstances are for Him and to bring us closer to Him. Not a thing is wasted on the Lord.

Also, I saw the power of what God was doing with Ezekiel. Each time the Lord would say to him, "Speak X..." This man's job was simply to open His mouth and say the very thing the Lord had given him and he did it. Without question and without addition or buffering. As a teacher this was wildly powerful to read. 

So what about you? Where are you at with your time in the Word? Remember, friend, it's not an obligation deal. Are you ready for something to pierce you? Does being a Christian feel like a flat thing sometime or a just an emotional response on Sundays? His Word is powerful. His Word is for you. Let's go after it!

If you ever need suggestions or advice on studying His Word, just ask! You can find me on Instagram (@beckykiser)

Top Tips for Making Your Dream a Reality

Are you considering starting a new business? Maybe a wild dream of a business plan, maybe joining a network marketing company, maybe starting your own ministry, or maybe something else totally new! Kinda scary, right? Exciting, but scary. 

Or maybe you've already started and you felt like you need a do over of sorts. Yeah? 

OK, I feel 100% confident this will help you.

These are are some of the things I share with my clients when we first start meeting. Obviously we get way more detailed and specific because it's one-on-one. BUT I didn't want to hold some all of the info secret, I wanted you to get started on your dream! 

I have to warn you, I shoot it to you straight. You may not like me at all during most of this, and that's OK. I don't sugar coat things with my clients, and I won't sugar coat it with you. Sometimes it's easier to hear the things we really need to hear from someone who isn't our bestie, our parents, our spouse, or our counselor even. Sometimes it needs to be a total stranger to kick our butts into action... or into quitting.

But you'll have to keep reading to find out more. 

So proud of you! Let me know what your biggest takeaway is for you and/or your dream.