Jennifer Hudson Taylor has numerous articles published locally and nationally through such publications as Heritage Quest Magazine, Everton’s Genealogical Helper and The Military Trader. Jennifer co-authored a business book entitled, Ensuring Maximum Restaurant Profits: 365 Secrets Revealed through Atlantic Publishing Group. Most recently Jennifer's Scottish Medieval, Promised Blessings, and her first contemporary novel, By His Plan were finalists in the 2007 Genesis Contests, hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Also, in the summer of 2007 she signed a literary contract with Agent Terry Burns at Hartline Literary Agency. He will be representing her fiction to prospective publishers.
It’s More Than a Contest
Thank you for inviting me to be a guest blogger on Seekerville.
I started out writing romance in 1995 and submitted to agents before I entered contests, received critiques, or attended a writing conference. In fact, I didn't do any of the things I was supposed to do in the right order. I didn’t enter a writing contest until three years later in 1998, which was the RWA Golden Heart. After that humiliating experience I entered other RWA chapter contests.
Like most new writers I was creamed. The comments stung, hurt, and I cried. How would I ever achieve my dream of becoming a published author? I shied away from contests for a while. I was angry at myself, God, and whole publishing world. When my husband decided to start a business that spiraled my family into a difficult season, I stopped writing all together. What was the point? I wasn't getting anywhere and my family needed me.
I didn't write for three, long, grueling years (2003-2006). I changed a lot during those three years. I grew closer in my walk with God. One day a friend prayed that God would bring the desire to write for Him back into my heart. That's when it clicked. I had been writing for ME not HIM. I repented. I prayed. And God did indeed bring the desire to write back into my heart. But this time I would be writing for Him and that's when I discovered Christian fiction.
In 2006 I converted two manuscripts to Christian fiction and wrote two new manuscripts. Within a month of sending out queries, I had an agent representing me. I discovered ACFW and joined, but not in time to enter the Genesis. A year later my agent dumped me in March 2007. I was so depressed. After writing for over ten years, I started to wonder if I was wasting my time, taking money from my family for conferences, contest fees, writing group fees, not to mention the time I stole from my daughter after being at work all day to write in the evenings. I asked God for a sign. I NEEDED direction. Did he want me to keep writing?
A month later I received my sign. I had entered four manuscripts in the 2007 Genesis, my first time in this contest, and not one, but two finaled. I placed second in historical romance, and third in contemporary romance. I can't explain what a thrill this was for me! It was more than just a contest. To me, it was a sign from God. He wanted me to keep going and not give up. I now have a new agent, and an editor requested the complete from the Genesis.
While I had never done well with contests in the past, I knew why, I wasn't writing what I was supposed to be writing, and God was waiting for the right moment to inspire me when I needed it most. He knew where I would be at the end of my tenth writing year. I'm still praying and waiting for THE CALL. In the meantime I plan to enter more contests--especially the ones with editors I want to target. And I’ll keep writing.
President, Carolina Christian Writers