Monday, October 26, 2009

P’s to Publishing Per Pam

We’ve all heard that there are three P’s to publishing. Well, I’ve come up with a lot more than three!

Saturday, I purchased an interesting book titled Where to Find It in the Bible by Ken Anderson, published by Thomas Nelson. I thought it would be a wonderful resource for devotionals when I bought it, but then realized it’s also great for blog posts that are due today!

I searched the entire section under “P”. Words like passion, persistence, and preparation popped out at me, and I immediately thought of ways to apply them to writing.

So, I decided that I would!

I’ve taken some of the scripture references out of context to shine the spotlight on publishing, and the writing life. I won’t quote these scriptures because of time and space, but will only excerpt short pieces. If a particular section speaks to you, feel free to look the scripture up. Maybe some of these vignettes will be helpful and encouraging to someone today.

Partnership: Ministry partnership, 2 Corinthians 8:23
In some ways, writing is a solitary occupation, but at some point you will experience a partnership with agents, editors, and publishing houses. Relish this partnership. Embrace it. Learn from it. You’ll be glad you did!

Patience: Patiently see what God will do, 1 Samuel 12:16
We’re all anxious to see something happen with our writing. We want publication now. We want recognition now. We want our efforts to be rewarded. Now. But sometimes we have to be patient, and “…stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.” Stand still, and wait on the Lord, but while you’re waiting, write!

Penmanship: Writing with clarity, Habakkuk 2:2
Before I read this verse in Habakkuk, I thought that penmanship would be to write carefully, clearly, and concise, to make every word count. However, the verse states, “Write the vision, and make it plain… .” I realize that Habakkuk’s vision was more terrible and dreadful than my fiction, but I do need to write with clarity, and make every word count. Or, in the words of Habakkuk, make it plain.

Perfection: Aim for perfection, 2 Corinthians 13:11
On the heels of penmanship is perfection. Same thing, maybe? 2 Corinthians 13:11 tells the brethren to “Be perfect”. Let’s aim for perfection in our writing. Many times we do this through studying the craft, working with critique partners, going through the editing process. It’s not a one-stop-shopping experience. Keep learning. Keep growing, and … keep aiming for perfection.

Persistent: Never give up, Luke 18:1-5
You may have read the story of the persistent widow who kept petitioning the unjust judge to grant her request. Finally he gave in, because she had just about worried him to death! No, we shouldn’t worry industry professionals to death, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be persistent in our desire to perfect our writing. Write, write some more, then turn around and do it again. Persistence for some of us might mean it takes years to see any fruit from our labor, but take courage. The persistence you display today might yield fruit tomorrow!

And, when you’ve perfected that piece through persistence and penmanship, that might be a good time to petition that judge (editor/agent) again!

Plan: Estimate the cost, Luke 14:28-30
Whether you are a plotter or a pantster doesn’t really matter. Each of us figures out where our stories are going at our own pace, and in our own time. Experienced pantsters might not plot, they tend to write intuitively, and a lot of that intuition comes from the penmanship, perfection, and persistence already mentioned above.

Position: Asking for prestige rather than earning it, Mark 10:33-40
People appreciate what they have if they have to work for it. It’s the same with the writing life. Work to improve your writing, and you’ll be doubly appreciative when your efforts are rewarded. And the reward isn’t always a contract. There are different rewards. One reward is the satisfaction of a manuscript that is top-notch quality and ready for publication. A manuscript that you know without a shadow of a doubt is ready to be read by an editor. It might not be a contract, but it’s earning another step up the ladder. A step you’ve earned!

Prayer: Persistent prayer in time of need, 1 Samuel 7:8; God listens when people pray, 1 Kings 8:52; Psalm 6:9; Unanswered prayers, Job 30:20; God’s varied answers, Job 33:14-17; Persistent daily prayer, Psalms 5:3
There are almost 3 pages of scriptures on prayer listed in this wonderful book called Where to Find It in the Bible. Even if there isn’t a specific prayer that speaks to your heart regarding your writing, prayer can soothe your troubled spirit, and help you make it through your day. Pray for your writing to be all that it can be. Pray for God’s will in your writing life. And then turn it all over to Him.

Preparation: Spiritual preparation for future victory, Joshua 3:5; Dig ditches to receive water, 2 Kings 3:15-17; Break up unplowed ground, Hosea 10-12; Advance preparation, Mark 11:1-2
No matter what we’re doing, we need to be prepared. That might mean plotting our stories, or researching the publishing houses and agents we submit to. We need to study the industry, know which editor likes cowboys and which ones like firefighters. Which houses are publishing more historicals, and which ones are looking for contemporaries, or futuristic, or suspense. Plan ahead. Be prepared.

Well, apparently, I was having way too much fun with this, and my “P” words and ideas kept growing and growing. Finally, I just had to stop. No need in bombarding you all with so many “P” words that you don’t have time to stop by Ruthy’s Sideboard!

I've listed more "P" words below, and I can think of several ways to relate them to the writing life.

Can you?

Productivity: Time to enlarge, Isaiah 54:2

Progress: Staying too long in one place, Deuteronomy 1:6-8; Growth takes time, Mark 4:28; Progress toward perfection, Philippians 3:12

Project: When God terminates a project, Genesis 11:1-9

Prolific: Prolific wisdom, talent, 1 Kings 4:29-34

Proposal: Fear of refusal, Genesis 24:5

Protocol: Going through proper channels, Philemon 12:14

Publicity: Let others praise you, Proverbs 27:2; Word-of-mouth publicity, Matthew 4:24, 9:26, Luke 5:12-15

Prestige: Humility before honor, Proverbs 18:12

Positive: Message not yes or no, 2 Corinthians 1:18-10

Possessive: Greedy for gain, Jeremiah, 8:10

Power: Nothing to hard for God, Jeremiah, 32:27

Enjoy your day ... and think on these things.


  1. I enjoyed the "P" words. One of my favorites is perseverance.

    Romans 5: 3-4 talks about suffering producing perseverance and that perseverance contributes to character.

    Personally, I've always thought character is overrated. Ha As a kid, I got so tired of people talking about all the hard stuff as contributing to character-building.

    I'm having scrambled eggs today. Maybe I'll add green tea, since it's chilly and dark (thank you, daylight savings time--not). Care to join me?

    It's basketball training time in Hoosierdom so I'm up early!


  2. Oh, Pam I love this! What a great way of applying that book to life and work!

    So wonderful.

    One of my favorite "P" words is persecution. When I think of what people suffered to get us where we are today it humbles me (no easy task as you all know) into working harder and whining less.

    (Another daunting task, LOL!)

    Great post. Inspirational and credit-worthy.

    I made coffee since our buddy Cathy brought the tea, and I stirred up some fresh pancake batter to tempt you this cool, crisp morning.

    And Cath, I SO remember those basketball practices. And those hockey moms, God love 'em. Any sport where gym/ice time is scarce. Late nights, early mornings. You rock.

    For the sweet eaters I brought Dunkin Donuts donuts, their harvest ones. Pumpkin spice, apple, and glazed fried cakes. Soooooo yum.


  3. Pam,
    What a wonderful post! I'm printing it off. Love the "P's" and the scripture references. Thank you!!!

    I'm meeting a woman at church today who has just started writing and wants some pointers. I've been thinking about what we'll discuss... persistence, preparation, penmanship (love the mention of writing with clarity), patience and, of course, prayer! I'll also tell her about the Seeker blog where she can pick up great writing tips!

    Patience has been speaking to me recently. Seems I can't rush a story when it's in the development stage. God reveals the characters in increments, sometimes more slowly than I would like. But he's teaching me to put his will above my own, which is sometimes a hard lesson to learn.

    Cathy, thanks for the tea! Ruthy, thanks for the coffee! I'm trying to be good this week so I'll skip the donuts and opt for a couple slices of high-fiber, low-flavor toast.

    Have a great day, everyone!

  4. High fiber toast.


    What we won't do to stay healthy. Why can't there be a magic pill, totally harmless, that prevents absorption of chocolate calories.

    Or maybe just total carb calories.

    Sorry, off-topic.


  5. Thanks, Pam, for the terrific post and fun title. I love that everything we need to handle life is found in Scripture and that includes our writing. I'm off to work on another "P" word.


    Thanks for breakfast!


  6. Given my denomination, I had to at least add in one more "P" word.

    The time between sending in a request and waiting for the answer.

    Purgatory. :-)

  7. Hey, Pam -- very cool!! Talk about a GREAT kick-start to the week and my devotion time -- thank you!!

    One of the "P"s that speak to me today is "progress." In the last year, I have felt a bit like the chosen people who wandered in the desert for 40 years, wondering how many times they will have to go around that mountain. For a while now, I have been feeling pretty much the same thing, worried I am not making any progress in writing books, meeting deadlines, learning discipline with things like e-mails, blogs, etc. But I realize this morning (through your wonderful post) that when God is in your life, progress is a given, it's always within His timing, and you always get where He wants you to go ... eventually. Thanks for the mind nudge.

    Gotta go ... one more time around that mountain. :)


  8. Cathy, I think perseverance is one of the key elements of writing too.

    We can have talent, and desire, but if we're not in this for the long haul, our talent and desire might not get us far.

    Hmmm, pass the scrambled eggs. No ketchup for me, please.

  9. Oohh, Ruthy, Dunkin Donuts. I just polished off my eggs, so now I can have a little carbs to top off my breakfast. Yumm!

    Yeah, finding that book was a lifesaver. Tina had sent her third warning (uh...gentle reminder) about my post. I'm afraid to think what the fourth would be like.


    Wow, Ruthy, what a reminder. Many times we think we're all that, and don't give credit to those who've paved the way for us.

    Think about all the writers who've fought for excellent stories, a fair wage, and respect in this industry!

    That just gives me one more reason not to let them down by offering less than my best.

  10. Patience is a virtue I have yet to attain, Debby.


    But we have to have it to survive. Patience is an integral part of every facet of life in general, and even more so in the writing life.

  11. Janet, work on that proposal, girl!

    Here, have another cup of coffee.

    Cream and sugar?

  12. Walt, I love your "P" word.


    Too funny, but all too true!

    Debby, can you hand Walt a little patience, please?

  13. Julie, your comment reminds me of our guest speaker last night at church.

    He's an older man with a great sense of humor, so I always enjoy hearing him speak.

    He said that we might not know where he was going (with his topic) but he knew, and he knew where he'd be when he got to the end. know, he was right. He started with a scripture, and some questions about those verses, and lo-and-behold, he brought the whole message full circle back to those verses in the end.

    God knows where you're going, even if you don't!

    So, just keep going.

  14. Walt, baby, you Catholic???

    Me too.

    So is Deb.

    The cool thing about Seekerville...

    We just all love God, love Christ and know the Holy Spirit rocks the big Kahuna.


    One of the big reasons I'm a clover lover. :)

  15. All Pam's P Words makes me a little jealous.

    I need to come up with a list of M words.


  16. Morning Pam, (one of my favorite P words-Pam) Thanks for the reminders. Janet, you are funny, proposal. Yeah and Walt ROFLOL Purgatory. too funny but true.

    Guess I need to get busy on some of those p words but truthfully I'm off to go play pickleball which is another p word totally unrelated to writing. Sigh My problem is finding other things to do when I should be sticking to persistence, perseverance, proposals, and publishing. LOL Oh yeah remembered another p word. Post. I need to get busy for my post tomorrow.

    And Ruthy, love the pancakes. Did you pick those because they start with P? I have some maple syrup and also blueberry syrup from Knotts Berry Farm to go with those. yum.

  17. Perfectly practical, Pam. Practically perfect, too. ;-)

  18. Hi Pam:

    Parables: stories Jesus told. Simple but unforgettable. Paragons.

    Thanks for your energizing Monday morning jump-start.


  19. I received a parcel with 2 books; one from Camy Tang and one from Cheryl Wyatt. I trust it is okay to thank the authors for these books on this blog. I didn't know who to send the thanks to as they came in one package and it was marked Seekerville.

    Thanks so much for what seems to be some very good reading - 'Deadly Intent' and 'Soldier Daddy'.

  20. Thanks for this list! I think I'll go buy one of those giant, pretty letter "P"s that craft stores sell and hang it over my desk to remind me :)


  21. My P word today is pedaling. As in "I'm pedaling as fast as I can." Then I hope to peddle the polished product.

    (PS Vince, I was thinking of you today for my own blog post, but I couldn't find an address to Prompt you to come over)

    Mary, I've been trying, but I'm not coming up with a lot of M words.

  22. Yes, Ruthy, I'm one of those who grew up slightly confused about the difference between the big "C" on the sign outside and the little "c" used in the Nicene Creed.

  23. Deb, you do D words.

    I'll sit here and try with M.

    Right now all I'm getting is MOROSE

  24. Mary,

    The way to beat MOROSE is to MAINTAIN MOTIVATION.

  25. Walt...


    The capital letter thing? One is a title, so a proper noun...

    One is used as 'universal' the actual meaning of catholic.

    But I digress because what I really want to do is make fun of Mary.

    Deb and all, feel free to help me here.

    "M" words:




    Misty (that's how she gets when she reads a Ruthy book... I'm so touched.) :)


    Ah, well, it's a start!

    Laughing in upstate.

    And we all know that Ruth means 'beautiful friend, compassionate', so DON'T EVEN TRY TO GO THERE, MARY!!!!

    No sane person will believe it.

  26. Walt, oops, forgot, my bad, Sandra's Catholic (note the capital 'c') too.

  27. Oh wow. Now I feel inspired. I'll have to get my copy out when I feel down.

  28. I got my package today for the books I won during BIAW! Thanks to all those in Seekerville. I'm looking forward to reading Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman.

    Pam, these P's are great! I Personally need more patience.

  29. Hi Debra:

    My email is: vmres @ swbell dot net. Always happy to visit.


  30. Wow, I didn't realize that many "P" words apply to writing! :-) Prayer and spiritual preparation are sometimes the hardest for me to do but they are the most important! Thanks for the fun list!

  31. WOW! Very impressive list of "P" words, Pam : ) I could've used a few of these yesterday when I was writing my essay on the movie What Dreams May Come! Lol...anyone seen it? It is such an amazing words can do it justice!

  32. I received some books from Seekerville and didn't know how to respond either. I really liked Julie Lessman's (the only one I've read so far) and since it has two "P's," I can say it.

    A Passion Most Pure....


  33. How fun, Pam!

    One of my favorite P words is pucker : ) Hmm, I'm sure it's in the book somewhere. I happen to own a copy of Where To Find It In The Bible. I'll have to search : )

    Great reminder that God has all in hand. P-words and all!

  34. Mary, the majesity of your manuscripts are like manna, so magnificent men commit them to memory.

    There's more where that came from.

    Or not.

  35. Sarah, I could probably bridge the gap between a lot of "S" words and writing! lol

    My mind does tend to jump around like that.

    Sometimes that can be a real headache, know what I mean?

  36. Audra, could you please expound on why your favorite word is "pucker"?


    Seriously, here's an example:

    Taste of bridal lips, Song of Soloman 4:11