In 2010, I sent a manuscript I had written to a publishing company. I had written the book on identity for two friends and I to work through in an effort to grow in our faith.
At the time, I wasn’t confident I was traveling in the correct lane for a few reasons: 1) I didn’t believe I was qualified, 2) I didn’t believe anything I said had value and 3) history had taught me that roadblocks and unexpected crashes often followed my attempts to venture out and try something new. Yet something about this felt right. So, I sent the first three chapters of the book to the publishing company for consideration.
Then… I waited.
And then… I forgot.
Until the day I received an email from the publishing company. They had received my manuscript, and asked that I provide them with a physical address should they decide to publish my book. Was I ecstatic? No. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do—I hadn’t told anyone about the submission. I had become embarrassed by my many false starts and unfulfilled plans. I felt it was best to keep this to myself and then--when the rejection arrived--I would be the only one to know. Now what?
They were asking for my address. What should I do? I remember the night I decided to give Pat a briefing of the situation. We had just returned home from an evening service at church. When I stood at the foot of our bed and said, “I might have done something,” his eyes shifted from the screen of the television and locked on me.
"What did you do now?”
After years of experience with my let’s-try-something-new adventures—that quite possibly could turn into a mess--I’m certain he felt panicked by the thought he was about to enter into another one. After assuring him I didn’t think I’d made a mess, I told him what I’d done. “Wow!” he said, “Is that all? Go ahead and send it to them!”
With Pat’s blessing I sent them our address.
And… I forgot.
Until one day while I was outside playing with my daycare kids and Fed Ex delivered an envelope requiring my signature. Inside was a contract from Tate Publishing. I was flabbergasted. I also wondered if this was too good to be true.
Research. Lots and lots of research.
Over the next few weeks Pat and I sought to do due diligence in our research of the publisher and if they could be trusted. We had family and friends assist in the research. Some articles said they were the real deal, while others said they were a vanity publishing company. What exactly did that mean? I spoke on the phone with an acquisition editor at the company who assured me there was a market for The ABCs of Who God Says I Am. They would be delighted to be the ones to publish it.
Finally, after weeks of prayer and listening to the counsel of others, Pat decided we would accept their invitation to publish. He took me out to dinner the night we put the contract in the mail to celebrate his wife--the author.
The next year stretched me in ways I had never known. There were deadlines to meet, words to revise, and thoughts to explore. I sat before a computer screen and poured my heart out. What an incredible feeling to hold the first copy of MY book, and in January of 2013 I found myself at my very first book signing. It was surreal and I knew God was opening the door to something new in my life.
When my eyes fell upon an advertisement for Christian’s Writer’s Conference in July of 2014, I registered. Honestly, I wasn’t aware there was such a thing! Unlike most of the authors I met that week, I hadn’t grown up with a desire to write. I did not believe my purpose was connected to writing. Granted, I had no idea what my purpose was, but I never considered it to be writing. Yet, spending the week with some of the most amazingly gifted people was life changing for me.
The week set me on a pathway to discover a gift and a purpose. It was also eye opening and—at times—quite painful. (Oh yes, a bit embarrassing when I walked through the lobby with my skirt stuck in my underwear. A shout-out of praise to the woman who ran to my aid and placed her bag over my backside while whispering in my ear, “You need to pull your skirt out of your underwear.”)
The truth can be hard to embrace, and the conference held plenty brutal moments of truth. Such as:
- The wince I saw on the face of--not one--but every professional who heard the name of the company mentioned as the publisher of my book.
- The list of reasons why there was concern when they explained the wince.
- The mistakes and missteps I was now aware the publisher had made throughout the process of publishing, as well as within the book itself.
As I sat in a class at the conference, I had an “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had actually started at the finish line of writing a book and now the Lord was now moving me back to the beginning. He had used the book as a tool to alert me to the gift of writing He’d given me, but now I needed to learn the craft of writing. I know why He did it, too. Rejection. I am confident that if I had received rejection letters from publishers, I would have ended my quest with the conclusion I had missed the mark—again. This set me on a course of learning about the writing world, and improving my craft. I met wonderful people at the conference and was introduced to Kathy Carlton Willis, and her writer’s group, WordGirls. I joined right away and spent three years learning from Kathy, as well as the other WordGirl members.
Then came the devastating news.
In 2017, I received an email detailing the publisher's decision to cease operations. I was also informed that for $50 I could request and receive the files to my manuscript. After seeking wise counsel, I was advised to refuse the option as my contract was proof that I owned the rights to the manuscript. Unfortunately, the founder and CEO of the publishing company and his son were arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to twenty years of jail time for fraud. They must pay back nearly one million in restitution. Thankfully, I received my book (some authors paid them and never received anything). However, I never received the manuscript. This meant my book The ABCs of Who God Says I Am was no longer in print.
Through the course of time I went to a writer’s conference hoping to find a new publisher – I did not. While at the conference my sister, Kara, passed away and any thought about the book was cast far from my mind. Then, the ministry of Activ8Her came along and I was pulled further away from the book. While attending a WordGirls Writer’s Retreat I met Michelle Rayburn who owns Mission and Media. She helps authors take their message and turn it into media. I also was introduced to Brandi Ginty, owner of Inkible, who began coaching Chrissy and I with our teaching videos and curriculum for Activ8Her. Each one a divine connection – I am certain of it.
In late 2019 I finally felt the Lord was ready for me to republish the book, but this time it would be done with care and excellence. I reached out to Michelle who accepted the project, and Brandi who agreed to edit the very first manuscript I had written for the book. They both had their work cut out for them – they are my heroes! We began work in November of 2019 and today the book is here.
It, too, has a new identity! A new title, #beYOU: Change Your Identity One Letter at a Time! What I believed was dead and had no life left to her, Michelle and Brandi have both assured me has value and purpose again. I am so grateful for these two who believed in the book so much they spent hours preparing her for resurrection.
I believe that even if you read The ABCs Of Who God Says I Am you will be blessed by #beYOU: Change Your Identity One Letter at a Time. If you’d be willing to be part of my Influencer Team and read the book and write an honest review, please sign up to receive email updates here. I will let you know when the kindle version of the book is available at no cost to you. Thank you so much!
I am thrilled to know God still has a plan and a purpose for this book. Thanks for sharing in my joy as I journey on in my desire to write for God’s glory and to encourage you to allow Him to change your identity one letter at a time.
PS. You may preorder the book on my product page or the Kindle version on Amazon.