Idea to-proposal-to-contract started with a two-minute chat
Aloha, I’m Karen Whiting and have been attending and helping with the Florida conference for many years. I first attended in 1996 and so many articles and most of my 16 books have come from this conference.
Last year I chatted briefly with editor Rick Steele. Several years ago they published two books I wrote and last year, shortly before the conference I received a rejection on a proposal.
(Now we do come in contact with editors who accept our writing and ones who reject it as that’s part of a writer’s life. We must not consider a rejection as a personal rejection, but understand it doesn’t fit that house at that time).
Rick mentioned he felt bad the committee didn’t want the book because he had championed it Then he tossed out a new thought and asked if I might consider writing something in their God and Country division.
(Now in submitting to a publisher you should get to know the publisher and what they produce. I knew that line though I had never considered writing anything for it. But, I’m good at instant brainstorming and instant prayer).
I said a silent, speed prayer and an idea popped in my mind. I responded that if I wrote in that division, it would have to be stories of faith and courage on the home front of American wars. Rick said that sounded interesting and that hadn’t done that perspective. I mentioned it would be a huge project I would not want to write a lone and I couldn’t even start a proposal until the end of June. I thought of my friend Jane who wrote for the series (but knew she was busy) and Rick mentioned an author (Jane’s co-author) I didn’t know. End of chat and we moved on. Didn’t chat about it again at the conference.
The end of June I finished writing a book (The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for Women due to release in April) and started to pray about the Home Front idea. At ICRS (a huge convention for book store owners) I chatted with Jane as well as some of the marketing people at AMG. Jane pitched the concept to AMG’s president. They all liked the idea and even gave me some input on what they’d like included. Jane had for the project, but put me in touch with her co-author Jocelyn who would be available. Joceyln and I worked up a proposal (not polished but presentable and close to completed) just in time for the August conference in Philly where Rick and I were both on the faculty. I asked Rick to set aside time to meet with me and showed him the proposal. He really liked it, but had forgotten our short chat. He asked for us to write more content and finish polishing the proposal by September. We did and in September the committee accepted the proposal. (This happened much, much faster than normal timelines and it helped that we both had written for the publisher in the past). I met Jocelyn a week later as we had planned to do research together when she came east to speak in PA.
So, listen to editors and needs.
If an editor asks you to consider writing within an area, or on a topic, take him or her seriously. Pray for God’s direction and inspiring ideas.
Move past rejections and be available for conversations God orchestrates.