Thoughts on Finding a Publisher

First of all, I did peruse my bookshelves, and I really like the books published by Harvest Books, Nelson Books, and Riverhead Books.  There are a number of Christian publishers whose books have a good feel and look to them, but I want to try a mainstream publisher before I try submitting to the Christian market.

That said, I looked on one Christian publisher’s page, and they recommended submitting my manuscript to ChristianManuscriptSubmissions.com, a service which, supposedly, many Christian publishers use to find new authors.  Problem one: I don’t want to start with the Christian market.  Problem two: It costs $99.98 for 6 months.

Another thought I have had recently regards literary agents.  I’m sure they cost money, but I have no idea how much.  Many publishing houses won’t even consider submissions unless they come through an agent, so perhaps I’ll need to go that route.

Next steps:
1.  Research the publishing houses I am interested in, find out their guidelines, see if I need an agent.
2.  Look up the 2010 Writer’s Market at my local library to get some reference points and help with this.
3.  Read blogs by literary agents: The Writing LifeMacGregor Literary/Chip’s Blog, and Rants and Ramblings On Life as a Literary Agent.

Please Stand in Honor of…

…God’s Word.

Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.”  (Nehemiah 8:5)

Wow.  What was this “book” that precipitated such a response?  The book Ezra opened was “the law,” according to verse 1, and the people stood to reverence their God and what He had to say to them.  I don’t think I have that attitude when I come to my Bible reading time, but I yearn to approach God in this way.

The story continues:
“Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God.  And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  (Nehemiah 8:6)

It didn’t take a fanfare of stirring music or an emotional charged sermon or a rousing spiritual leader to awaken worship in these people.  All it took was a simple man, opening the Book of all books, and blessing His God before he began to read.

“Bless the LORD, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”  (Psalm 103:1)

Status Update

I figured I should let you in on what’s going on behind the scenes.  You know, with the actual writing of a book, getting it published, the whole shabang.  I mean, that’s the purpose of this blog, after all.  :)

I realized last night that these posts have been somewhat random: a recipe here, a story there, an epiphany or two, and there isn’t a real direction.  Then it dawned on me.  I don’t actually have to have an entire book written to submit the idea to a publisher.  (pause for freak-out time here)  Yeah, so I think I’m going to take a step out and try to sell Trugars to a publisher.  THAT should be motivating.  And, bonus for you, much more interesting to read about.

Next step: Browse my bookshelf, possibly followed by Barnes & Noble’s bookshelf, to see what style of books I like, and, therefore, which publishers I should consider as my top choices.  Here we go!

Inappropriate?

Lately several issues have confronted my sense of what is or is not appropriate. Tell me what you think.

1. “No, David!” This child’s book is wildly popular. Barnes & Noble recently featured it as their story-time book, the librarian highly recommended it to me, a friend told me how much she liked it, and the kids I have seen absolutely LOVE it. If you haven’t seen it, just so you’ll know, the story is all about a boy misbehaving and being chastised by his mother. Each page is a new adventure in wrongdoing, until the end, when his mommy gives him a hug. Sweet ending, but encouraging my children to laugh at misdeeds truly is not high on my priority list. On top of that, the illustrations have a rug-rat-ish feel to them which I don’t care for.

2. Spaghetti straps. I was looking at really cute summer dresses yesterday in Ross and realized that just about all of them were spaghetti (or close-to-it) straps. And yet I hadn’t paused to think whether or not I’d wear them. They were so cute! A few years ago, I wouldn’t wear them in public, EVER. But now, I wonder if it’s okay. Is it?

3. Jokes about sexual intimacy. Here’s where Big Mommy comes in. :) Not really, but as I was thumbing through her recipe book, I found a recipe for (gasp!) “Better than sex cake.” Why can’t it just be “Really, really good cake”? I don’t know; it just seems that titles like this cheapen something God intended to be healthy, good, and set apart as sacred for two people alone. I have a friend who is incredibly guarded in this area, and I come away from my conversations with her feeling refreshed and encouraged, always.

So, what truly is appropriate humor for children? What is appropriate dress? And what is appropriate in everyday conversation? Hmm….

A Peg

Today I read Ezra (trying to finish up my reading so I can begin the 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge!), and came across this verse:

“But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.”  (9:8)

A peg?  Why would they want a peg, and what would they use it for?  I tend to view myself in the place of Israel when I’m reading the Old Testament, so it got me curious.  I’m wondering if I need a peg.

The cross-reference in my Bible is Isaiah 22:23-24: “I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house.  So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house.”

Wow!  When I read that, I immediately decided that I want to be a peg.  I want God to hang His glory on ME!  What an honor, that I could have the opportunity to be driven deep into a firm place — in His house! — and then to be graced with the glory of God Himself.

So, do you want to be a peg?  That would definitely be a finer thing, as well as company worth keeping!

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday and Company Girls Coffee.

Sin

It was a sin for us Baptists to dance but some of them loved to square dance so after a party all together some went home thinking time was to leave but the ‘dancers’ knew to stay later and had a square dance that caused the gossipers with talking matter.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

One Thanksgiving, my cousins and I were sitting around a card table, playing—you guessed it—cards. Big Mommie walked by and make a sharp retort about the game; later I asked my grandmother what was wrong and she said that Big Mommie disapproved of cards. I guess card-playing was a sin too. It made me wonder, how many times do we worry so much about what is a sin and what isn’t that we miss the point entirely? The sins about which God laid down the Law were all harmful and destructive. Maybe card-playing can be a sin if the player is gambling away the money that would pay for his children’s food and clothing. Or maybe dancing is a sin if the parties involved are arousing sexual desire in an inappropriate relationship. Eating can even be a sin, if the diner gluts and starts to gain weight, slowing down the function of the body, preventing the possibility of a normal life, or bringing on a heart attack. On the other hand, any of these activities could also bring glory to the Creator; after all, He created food, fun, and relationships. Dancing is even in the Bible, if you read it closely—or perhaps at all. David danced, Miriam danced, I think even the angels dance!

How many times does the idea that something is sin stop us from enjoying something that God intended for good? And, by the same token, how many times do we talk ourselves into harmful things because God didn’t specifically tell us not to do them?

We need to learn God’s heart and follow the spirit behind the rules, rather than toeing a line to keep an authoritarian judiciary at bay.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy this amazing Friday that He has given us and praise Him for His goodness!

Try New Adventures Thursday

Bible in 90 Days

So, I thought I would post how exciting it is to start a weekend off with a completely clean house, since that truly is something new around here…. :) But actually, I really am trying something new.

Amy, over at Mom’s Toolbox, is hosting a challenge to read your Bible in 90 days. I guess I haven’t really tried it as of today, but I’m going to! I have read through my Bible before, several times in fact, but never that quickly! I think it will be a great overview, and a really great challenge to read my Bible every day so I don’t fall behind!

This opportunity came just at the right moment, since I’m finishing up this round of Bible reading within the next couple of weeks anyway. Whew! It should be an adventure! I’ll keep you posted as I go.

This post is linked to Try New Advntures Thursday at AliciasHomemaking.com

Thoughtlessness

For a while it seemed as though I couldn’t steer clear of thoughtless people.  I was trying to be selfless, but was wowed by how little my needs were taken into consideration.  The interesting side to my dilemma was that these people were in general very generous, giving, sweet people; they were just totally unaware.

A pastor I know has always said, “Maturity is being aware,” and when I think of that, I begin to realize how truly immature I am.  And to top it all off, I had a run-in with someone, in which I was rather desperate and blinded to that person’s needs, right in the middle of my complaining about thoughtlessness.  Boy, was that thoughtless of me!  And again, totally unaware.  In fact, that person told me I was not only immature, but had a short attention span.  At that moment, though it hurt, the comment fit.

Oh Lord, give me a longer attention span as regards the needs and wants of other people!  Grow me in maturity as You make me aware of the world around me.

Top Ten Fears

Did I ever tell you that I’m petrified about writing this book?  I think that’s why I’m not finished already.  Fear definitely creates writer’s block, and writer’s block translates into an unwritten memoir.  But my God is not the God of fear, and I’m determined to conquer!

1. It’s not going to be good enough.  I know that’s vague, and it probably encompasses all the other fears, but overall, that’s the problem.  But honestly, who cares if it’s good enough?  I need to remember that I write for a readership of One.

2. I might offend my family.  I want to be honest, but I also want to honor them, especially Big Mommy.  How do you address hard issues and still come out smelling rosy?  Prayer.

3. I won’t get published.  I know that sounds arrogant, but I really do want a “real” publisher to take this book.  I’ve seen some of the stuff out there that gets published, and despite my fears of not being good enough, I know I’m at least that good.  And I can’t really afford the time or money it takes to self-publish, aside from the blow to my pride.  But that’s the issue, isn’t it?  My purpose and goal must be far beyond a published book; that should keep me humble.

4. I won’t have enough material.  But….  Big Mommy wrote a lot.  There’s a lot on my heart.  And what God wants me to write will be just enough.

5. My heart is in the wrong place.  I already mentioned the pride issue.  Sure, I’d love to have a book in Barnes & Noble and at the library.  I’d love to receive some kind of monetary compensation for my work.  And those goals can supercede the right ones.  Lord, please remind me daily that You are my audience and that You have a purpose for me and for Trugars!

6. I won’t see a positive change.  Beyond my selfish goals, I truly do want to see lives changed.  I’d love to get fan mail one day, talking about how restoration occured because of what someone had read.  But even more than that, I want to see my family healed and whole.  Will I be able to play any kind of healing role?  And then I remember, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I honor Jesus, and that He loves them even more than I do.  I just have to write what He tells me to (which means listening).

7. And that brings me to #7.  Am I listening?  Jill Bond, who wrote Dinner’s in the Freezer! and Writing to God’s Glory, says that she prays 10 hours for every one hour that she writes.  She recommends that beginning writer’s at least try for a 3:1 ratio.  Not sure I have that down.  But I need to!  Thankfully, God’s pretty good at using a two-by-four when my ears are stopped up.

8. Nobody will like the stories (or me!).  But people have told me that they DO like them, and even if they didn’t, I would still have a purpose in writing.  My identity must be found in Christ alone.

9. The words won’t come.  Each and every time I sit down to write, I worry that nothing new will come.  Even today, even with this list, even with all my trembling trepidation, I worried (feared!) that I couldn’t come up with 10.  And here we are….

10. I won’t know what step to take next.  But I just need to keep walking.  Which is why I’m writing this blog in the first place, to be a reminder and an encouragement to write, write, write.

Now, all that admitting makes me feel the need for a little pat on the back.  Would you mind reminding me that this really is a good idea?  More importantly than your encouraging comments though, would you please pray for me whenever you think of this endeavor?  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

          ~ Audrey ~

 

"Top Ten Tuesday"This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.  Thanks for the inspiration, Oh Amanda!