Do you have a book that you’ve been wanting to write? Do you think it’s a great idea, but it’s hard convincing a publisher the same?
In 1999 I had an idea for a book for young people called Prayers that Changed History. As a homeschooling mom I kept coming upon these GREAT stories of prayer such as:
- Governor William Bradford praying for rain for the failing crops in the New World, and nine hours later clouds rolling in after a severe drought.
- John Newton (who penned the hymn Amazing Grace) nearly sinking in a storm on his slave ship and crying out to God for mercy. God saved the ship and John’s soul that night.
- And Florence Nightingale who, at sixteen years old, feeling called into God’s service. She prayed and committed herself to God and years later she became the “Mother of Nursing.” Nursing practices around the world have been transformed because of Florence.
As a homeschooling mom I knew that Prayers that Changes History was exactly the type of book I would buy for my kids. Afterall, I want my kids to know about heroes of the faith. I want them to understand the power of prayer.
This book was finally published in 2015 … sixteen years and I first got the idea and pitched it to a publisher. I LOVE getting feedback from parents and kids who are so excited about this book. I love that kids are learning about historical people and answered prayers. I love that they’re learning how to pray.
I’m so thankful that I did not give up on the book of my heart. And I encourage you not to give up either.
To encourage you to keep going, here are a few things you need to know:
1. Know that writing is a challenge.
It is hard work, and a great idea doesn’t automatically translate into a great book. Every writer struggles. Don’t feel as if you’re not the only one. Everyone has fears about not being good enough. No one writes great stuff in their first draft. Writing is supposed to be hard. Overcome those fears one word at a time on the blank page.
2. Understand that not everyone will get what you’re doing.
There are some agents, editors and publishers who will not like your idea or your writing. But then again there will be someone who does. I happened to connect with an editor who immediately understood and loved my idea for Prayers that Changed History, but before that there were many editors who turned it down. Not every idea is a good fit for every editor or publisher.
3. Know that some projects take time to flesh out.
Sometimes a manuscript needs to be rethought or reshaped. When it came to writing the final manuscript of Prayers that Changed History I spent more time teaching children how to pray than I’d originally planned. My book idea changed for the better, and I’m excited that it did!
4. Know that sometimes God needs to mold you—to make the message mean more.
I personally learned a lot about prayer from 1999 to 2015. I know that book is different (and better) because of what God taught me.
5. Know that God’s timing is perfect.
God know when a book is needed. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Prayers that Changed History was released around the same time as the movie The War Room. There is a theme that’s happening in this year. God is bringing people to His knees, and it’s amazing that He desires for children to learn about prayer, too!
To encourage you to keep going, there’s also a few things that you need to do:
1. Keep writing, researching, and praying.
I started a filing drawer filled with stories about answered prayer. Whenever I’d come upon a story I’d photocopy it and put it in a file. Then—when the time is right—I had all the material that I needed. Even as I worked on other projects I kept this one in the back of my mind.
2. Keep studying the writing craft.
Like any career, writing takes time, effort and knowledge. The more you study the craft of writing, the better you become as a writer.
3. Consider self-publishing.
When I first came up with this book idea in 1999, self-publishing was an expensive venture. You had to hire an editor and a printer, and the end result was 1,000 copies of your paperback book in your garage. Today self-publishing is all together different. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s a great way to get your book published and in the hands of readers.
If you have a book that you’ve been wanting to write … keep going.
If you have a great idea … trust your gut.
During this time in history we have amazing opportunities to share our words around the globe. If you have a book on your heart don’t give up!