write it…maybe?

It felt a little like InterVarsity Press’ version of Carly Rae Jepsen- “we like your concept, so write it maybe” when I got the email with a solid “not yet” regarding my book proposal.  I have been putting off writing this blog post in part because I’ve been sorting through next steps of where to go from here with their suggestions to resubmit my proposal, staffing a student conference in MI, throwing a pity party, and getting advice from other author friends.    Though I was pretty down when I got the email, especially because Dave was out of town and I was with the boys by myself (and my analytical thoughts) all weekend I’m feeling better about where to go from here.

I’m really grateful that Al, the editor I’ve been communicating with had some very specific next steps to take to resubmit in the next 3-6 months.  In part I thought I’d blog about the process of trying to become an author to be open about what it’s like, invite you to take this journey with me (please pray! please post encouraging comments!) and give you insight into the process of what it takes if you have ambitions to write as well.  So, what does this game plan look like?

  • Rewriting my intro chapter which the proposal committee was not wowed by.  They liked my other chapter based on a blog I wrote about Burning Man so that was encouraging! And, to be honest the intro chapter felt really forced- I had psyched myself into writing what I thought an IVP book should be as opposed to just writing my my own voice and experience.
  • Developing a marketing and promotion plan.  So, this is where you, blog friends will be able to help me.  Basically IVP wants to know that this book will sell if they take the risk on me as a new author.  Any places I can guest post on blogs, get my number of blog followers up, have speaking engagements and demonstrate to them that yes, people would actually want to read and buy the book. I will likely be asking for your help in specific ways over the next few months! You can actually help me get published!
  • Work the networks.  IVP wants endorsements for my book before I write it from credible people who would endorse that yes, the topic that I’m writing about (the integration of evangelism and spiritual formation) would indeed be a helpful contribution in these areas.  Though I will need some big wigs to give me mad props it is just as important and needed for you my blog friends to lend your voice/blog/networks to make a way to grow an audience.
here we go.
  • Create practical ways that this book could be used for teaching, training, etc.  This looks like not only writing a book, but perhaps a training curriculum or study guide that could accompany it. I really like coming up with stuff like that and have for years so this actually feels exciting to me!

So, there you have it!  Commence becoming a marketing machine.  Internally, I’ve found that this process of trying to get published has caused weird things to happen in my mind and heart.  Obsessing about my image, fantasizing about becoming famous and what I would do if “my name got out there”, trying to control the outcome of things.  Basically freaking out realizing that this book process is in many ways out of my control, that it is going to be a new way Jesus teaches me to depend on him, listen to him and be inspired by the Holy Spirit. I’ve been re-reading Richard Fosters Freedom of Simplicity and have found that Jesus has some helpful things to say to me about ambition, possessions and obedience to Jesus.  Good stuff.


  • Grace Biskie (@gabwithgrace)

    you can do it, Jess! I think many aspects of marketing, platform building etc. are the most fun…sometimes more fun for me, than actually writing…which has undoubtedly set me back sometimes! Speaking of platform building, I was thinking of reading Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform,” maybe we could read it together? Hyatt has a lot of great resources on his blog as well… http://michaelhyatt.com/ rah rah rah rah =)

  • Julie Longacre

    praying for you, jessica! some things that are worth it – are just so hard! hang in there. thanks for the update. i was just about to ask. 🙂 forward ho!

  • fwinslow

    JUST KEEP GOING!!! You are not alone in this crazy process- and you will make it out on top as you keep running with HIM as your sole desire. He is leading you and will continue to lead you. Proud of your first steps!! Just keep going- your heart, voice and life are important for our generation.

  • April

    I somehow missed this post. 🙁 Sorry about the Pity Party. But did you really want to publish a book whose intro was “forced?” No. Now you can make it totally rad. You can do it. I think you are a good writer, but even more than that, a good thinker. Writers can’t get anywhere if they don’t have good ideas, but you DO have good ideas. I believe in you! I’ll be praying over your specific steps that you want to take next.

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