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.