Monday, May 16, 2022

Writing: Art or Business?


Hello, Seekerville!

My husband and I (along with our youngest son) just returned yesterday afternoon from a trip east to visit family. From South Dakota to Iowa, to Indiana, to Michigan, to Minnesota, and then home. Nine days, 3000 miles. We're glad to be home again!

But in spite of all my planning, I had no internet access for the entire trip. The wi-fi card in my little traveling computer didn't work and my phone isn't set up to be my #1 computer. So my vacation was a true vacation, right? Except for the work I had been planning to do while we traveled, including writing today's Seekerville post. 

No worries! Welcome to Jan Drexler's blog from March 2015! I hope you enjoy it!

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Last year I joined our local writers group. It’s a secular group with a broad range of writing experiences and goals among the members. And like any group of writers, there are a lot of aspiring authors who come to learn and grow. Several of the members have had some success in the indie publishing field, but I’m the only regular attender who is traditionally published.

The Prodigal Son Returns
Published by Love Inspired, May 2013
order HERE

That, plus the fact that I’m new means that they really aren’t sure about me yet. (That’s okay. Sometimes I’m not sure about them, either!)

One of the other members and I walked out to our cars together last month. She hadn’t realized before that meeting that I’m a published author with multiple contracts waiting to be fulfilled (i.e. I should spend all of my time writing!).

“How did you do it?” She thought she really wanted to know.

I hesitated for a half-minute. She wasn’t going to be happy with what I wanted to say, so I started with my standby answer for that question:

“I entered contests that put my name and my story in front of publishers and agents.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“You’re published by Harlequin, right?”

“Yes, by Love Inspired, Harlequin’s Inspirational line.”

She looked past my shoulder and unlocked her car door. “Don’t they have pretty strict guidelines? Don’t they make you change your story?”

“They expect you to make revisions to improve your story and so that it will fit their style. Every publisher does.”

She tossed her bag into her car. She said goodbye. She drove away. No, she didn’t really want to hear what I had to say.

If she had stayed around, ready to chat under the street lights on that unusually balmy February evening, I would have told her a secret.

A Mother for His Children
Published by Love Inspired, August 2014
order HERE

Writing is an art. But once you hit the send button, it becomes a business.

When you’re in your writing cave, your story is all your own. It’s a wonderful thing to spend an hour or two every day in a world peopled by characters you’ve created. At this point, writing is all about imagination, craft, and answering the “What if?” questions.

I love this part of the process. It’s a little like giving birth, with all the pain, agony, and delight that accompanies bringing a new life into the world. It’s exhilarating! And it’s all yours!

But if you want to become a published author, once you’ve finished your story you need to switch modes. This story needs to have a life of its own.

Let’s take the birth analogy a little bit further. If you’ve raised children, you know that it is unhealthy (and impossible!) to force them to remain babies forever. They need to walk, to explore, to become separate people from their parents. As much as we delight in babies, we don’t want them to turn into some twisted copy of ourselves. We want them to become the people God intended them to be. To become adults.

The same goes for your story. If you have any desire to publish your work, you must put it out there for others to see. You have to listen to and evaluate comments from critique groups, contest judges, and eventually, potential agents and publishers. Why? Because these are the people who are helping your baby grow into a self-sufficient adult.

A Home for His Family
Published by Love Inspired, September 2015
order HERE

Some authors hold on to their stories too tightly. They keep their writing snagged within their prideful grasp, thinking no one else understands their story like they do. They refuse to accept help to make it better, and they refuse to change anything to make it fit someone else’s standards.

If you want to be published, you won’t be that kind of author.
You’ll be the kind of author who understands that once you hit “send,” your story is now a business. Rather than keeping it close to your heart, you humbly open your hands and let it grow.

If an agent suggests that your story will sell better told in third person rather than first person, you start planning how to make that change and still keep the meat of your story intact.

When an editor sends you a list of revisions that need to be made and invites you to resubmit your story, you put everything else aside and make those changes.

When you get a request for a partial or full manuscript, you comply in a timely manner because that’s good business practice.

Soon you’ll find that those changes and revisions make your story stronger. More complete. Saleable.

Hannah's Choice
Published by Revell 2016
order HERE

And when you see your book for the first time, you’ll cry. You really will. Because that’s what parents do when they see their babies all grown up.

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Welcome back to 2022!

I'm still treating my writing as a business. Next week, on May 25, my first indie published book will be released! You can preorder it NOW!!! 

Ebook is available for preorder now!

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.
When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.
As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky, and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?

Which kind of author will you be? What do you need to do to move your writing from art to business? #NoLimits!

One commenter will win an ebook copy of "The Sign of the Calico Quartz!" 


  1. Good morning, Seekerville!
    We have tea and coffee ready, and virtual cinnamon rolls straight from Indiana's Amish Country.
    So help yourself to the breakfast buffet and let's talk about writing!

  2. Jan, I love your new logo. It encompasses everything you do,
    This is a tough one and I've run the gamut of just about every attitude to my writing. There was a time when I wouldn't accept criticism because I couldn't "see" my precious darling with someone else's eyes. There was a time I was TOO focused on the business end and didn't let God lead. There's a balance, and we need to keep going till we hit it.
    There's nothing wrong with having a "dream" publisher or a "dream" agent. There's nothing wrong with dreams, period. But we've got to 1. do the work and 2. remain open to what He has for us.
    This year I readopted the Jabez Prayer and I'm praying that He will expand my territory. Preferably to paying readers, but what do I know.
    Interesting times in the Kaybee-verse. I just got over a two-week viral infection which left me housebound. I could sit at the computer but not much else. But during that time I got to go back to the novel I abandoned in October (with three chapters left, don't get me started), and I was able to finish those three chapters. So I have a book. A vastly imperfect book and even I don't like it all that much, but it's a book and now I can rewrite it.
    This is also a busy week in the Kaybee-verse (you like that? It's new). I have TWO sets of galleys to proof, one for my Western Dreams book that comes out July 22, one for my next nonfiction local history book which comes out Aug. 8. It's a great problem to have and as Ruthy would say, best job in the world. Planning on bulldozing my way through tomorrow, don't be surprised if your calls go to voice mail.
    Congratulations Jan on your indie work and new genre
    Kathy Bailey
    Your Kaybee
    Making it all work in New Hampshire

    1. Good morning, Kaybee!
      You are busy! So sorry you've been sick, but it sounds like you got some work done!
      And you said "There's nothing wrong with having a "dream" publisher or a "dream" agent." Exactly! Those dreams are what push us to produce and tell our stories! The "business" side of the work comes later. :-)
      Enjoy your bulldozing day. I'll be bulldozing for the rest of the week after playing catch-up today!

  3. An internet free vacation. Sounds wonderful...and I'm panicking a little as I try to imagine life without access!!!

    1. The internet-free week wasn't planned, but it was just what I needed!

    2. Hahahahahaha! I would go crazy.... but... I also would love that time to be fully present. And we know that's why I do the middle of the night or pre-dawn thing... because my habit gets fed (I'm safe to drive with, that's my benchmark) and I can then set it aside... but still, I do check my phone now and again!!!!! EEEK!

  4. Great advice, Jan! Sadly, I've know too many writers who refused to edit their stories to fit a publisher's need. As you can imagine, those writers didn't get "The Call!" or the contract.

    1. It is sad when that happens - a good story often doesn't get published because the author won't do what it takes to make a good story a great story!

  5. Jan, your vacation sounds fun. I can't wait to read your cozy mystery. Please put me in the drawing!

  6. So excited to read your next book baby! I love the cover. And no need to put me in the drawing, I've got it preordered!

    1. Thank you for preordering, Glynis! I know you'll recognize some Black Hills sites while you read!

  7. I love this post!! I want to print it and pass it out to aspiring authors everywhere. Can't tell you how many times I've had similar explained it perfectly, Jan!

    1. Thanks, Laurel! It's hard enough to break into the publishing world without setting up roadblocks for yourself, isn't it? I'm thankful that I found Seekerville back when I first started to write for publication - those wise ladies disabused me of the notion of "my way or nothing" early on. :-)

  8. What a great post, Jan! I'm both climbing back on the horse after being thrown by rejection AND dealing with issues with my grown kids in which I'm trying to discern how much I should be helping and how much I should not be minding my own business. Your words were such an encouragement.

    1. Oh, man, Terri, that was me in early 2020! After a couple stinging rejections and some no-so-good advice from someone I trusted (no one here on Seekerville!) I thought my writing career had hit a brick wall. BUT God...
      And those grown children. Uff dah! I thought parenting toddlers was hard!
      Glad I could send some encouragement your way. :-)

  9. Great advice, Jan! I would love to be entered to win your book!

  10. I’m glad you had a vacation. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.

  11. I love your new series & the cover is perfect! Well done on branching out into Indie publishing, Jan!

    1. Thanks, Beth. And your editing polished the rough edges!

  12. I just preordered this mystery!!!! Welcome to indie publishing, my friend! And I can't wait to read it... I hear from a reliable source that it's WONDERFUL!!!!!! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks for the preorder, Ruthy! With a mystery, I find it hard to keep from sharing too many details about the story - I can't wait to start getting feedback from readers.
      And I'm pretty sure I know who your "reliable source" is. ;-)

  13. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations! I'm excited to read about your mystery. Please include me in the chance to win. Blessings!


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