The writing journey can be a crazy journey, and along the way, it’s easy to get sidetracked by “myths”. While at the ACFW conference last week, a few of these myths kept popping up and I thought I’d share some of my answers :)
This is a quick summary. I could probably write a lot about each myth (so if you guys want me to go into detail about any of them in a future post, please let me know!!
Myth #1: Once I publish my first book, things will get so much easier.
Getting published is one type of challenge, but staying published is another. Once publishing happens, a new wave of expectations and considerations come into play and since most courses and blogs focus on the “getting published” part, lots of times folks aren’t prepared for the “after publication” part.
The God Factor: Those who God calls, He also equips. Yes, post-published life is crazy, but God is also faithful to give us the creativity, strength, ingenuity, and stamina to do what He’s called us to do. It may require a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and a lot of hard work, but He is more than able to be our strength, shield, and inspiration!
Myth #2: Writing book 2 will be a piece of cake.
Most of the time, we have months, if not years, to complete that first manuscript that catches a publisher's eye. There is an opportunity to refine it, edit it, and share it with trusted people to get their feedback. THEN…deadlines happen! So, you end up marketing book 1, writing book 2, and brainstorming book 3 (or 3 and 4) at the same time, while also managing family life, possible homeschooling, and maybe even a day job? One of the great things is, at least the editor knows you’re turning in a project that you didn’t have years to write and edit on your own, so…thankfully, there’s grace there!!
The God Factor: (see note in myth #1 :)
Myth #3: I have to join all of the social media outlets in order to really grow my platform and sell books.
Despite what you may have heard, being a social media king/queen is not the top seller of your work. Writing the next book and word of mouth are still the best!! But social media helps. Here’s the secret though, you will only burn yourself out if you try to do EVERYTHING. The best course of action is to pick one or two social media outlets and do those consistently.
The God Factor: Remember, social media is a tool not an identity. When we see it as a tool, we learn to use it in that way. Our true identity, as Christians, is in Christ and being His follower, not basing our worth on how many “followers” we have. If the social media tsunami starts to jerk you around, step back from it for a little while or reevaluate how you’re using your time and this tool.
Myth #4: If I published with a small press or indie, I will never find a publishing home in a big house.
Caveat: Publishing small press CAN negatively impact your ability to get into a larger publishing house because there are usually fewer resources to help make your sales numbers eye-catching. However, the right story at the right time is STILL the most eye-catching part of making an impression on editors/agents.
The God Factor: Making less-than-ideal publishing choices doesn’t stop God from doing exactly what He wants to do with our stories, but more importantly, with our hearts. The story HE is most interested in is our soul’s story. He’s more invested in how our personal characters grow to be more like His than our imaginary characters find their forever publishing home, so His priority is our hearts. However, because He’s given us our fictional stories, He cares about them too and will do what is best for them, the readers, and us in His time, in the right way, for our good and His glory.
Myth #5: Writing is a solitary journey.
If you don’t count the imaginary friends, a writing life can still be filled with community! You may have to seek it out, but there’s no reason in this day and age that you must travel the writing journey alone. I don’t have any author friends that I get to meet with in person regularly, but I have a whole bunch of bookish folks online (readers, authors, publishing teams) who build an encouraging community.
The God Factor: More than anything else, we have a Savior and Creator who is invested and intimately involved in every aspect of our Earth-journeys to prepare us for a Heavenly one. The Bible is very clear that Christ “never leaves us nor forsakes us” and that God is an “everpresent help in times of trouble”. He is near, shepherding and guiding us. Correcting and encouraging us. “Closer than a brother”. So...we can rest assured that He is co-creating along with us!
Would you add more myths to the list?
Pepper Basham is an
award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor.
Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her
native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her
stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where
she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a
speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her
nineteenth novel, Authentically Izzy, debuts in November with Thomas
Nelson. She loves connecting with readers and other authors through social media
outlets like Facebook &
You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com