Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If You Don’t Try by Jeanette E. Levellie

Jeanette E. Levellie
Although I know it's rude, I always want to laugh when a non-writer says, “You should write a book,” like they’d say, “You should eat another chocolate.”

For several years, sweet, loyal readers of my newspaper column told me this. I usually answered, “No, I shouldn’t.” Then I’d say, “It takes a galaxy of work and time to write a book, and attempt to get it published.” They’d smile and nod. But I knew they didn’t understand.

Then my son joined the campaign. After reading a column I wrote about the culture shock of moving from L.A. to the Midwest, he said, “Have you ever considered creating a book from some of your best columns, Mom? People seem to like your stories.”

“No,” I nearly shouted, “it may take me ten years to find an agent and get my writing sparkly enough for a publisher to look at.”

He stayed calm. “Well, you’re going to be doing something for the next ten years anyway—you might as well take a stab at it. Then if you don’t find an agent or a publisher, you can self-publish. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you can do.” I hated to admit it, but he had a point. What did I have to lose?

I began to consider it, even pray about it.

“But Lord,” I mused, “where do I start? I have no idea what to do, who to talk to.” No sooner had I thought that than a sweet lady who lived nearby came to mind. I knew Clella Camp had published a book of devotions a few years earlier. I gathered up my courage and called her.

“You have to go to a conference and meet people,” she said, “and learn to pitch your book idea.” She gave me the website address of a well-known publisher who helped newbies create proposals and pitches. I slaved from June to November, choosing which columns to put in my book, writing my proposal, and creating a one-sheet.

At my first conference, I met the director of a larger conference being held the following summer. I signed up to attend, and for weeks beforehand, I researched the editors and agents on the faculty, planning which ones I’d pitch my book idea to.

Several showed little or no interest, but one agent seeking new clients liked my ideas, and offered me a contract a couple months later.

That was three years, dozens of rejections from publishing houses, and three conferences ago. Last spring I finally published my book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top with a small publisher in North Carolina. Although the sales haven’t broken any records, they’ve done well, and I’m planning a second book.

Yes, it was as hard—no, it was harder—than I’d originally thought. But I must admit my son was right when he said, “If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you can do.”
About the Author
“Nutty with a dash of meat” best describes Jeanette Levellie’s speaking, writing and life. She has published hundreds of humor/inspirational columns, articles, greeting cards, and poems. Her first book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top released in April, 2012 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. A spunky pastor’s wife, Jeanette is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress to four cats. Find her mirthful musings at www.jeanettelevellie.com

Two Scoops of Grace
by Jeanette Levellie
An Amazon bestseller in the humor category, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top is an inspirational/humorous gift book brimming with amusing, and heart-warming stories of ditzy adventures and hellish nightmares. Laugh with Jeanette as she prays for a wife for the lonely new minister and ends up answering her own prayer. Squirm with her as she attempts to answer, “Can preachers have sex on Sundays?” Finally, grow with her as she seeks God’s face and some sanity through all the cow pies and chocolate éclairs of life in the real lane.

Two Scoops speaks to the average Christian woman or man needing reassurance of a God who is interested in their hectic, often-frustrating life. They need confidence in their value to God and His kingdom. They long to laugh more, at themselves and their crazy world. The humorous stories and caring suggestions in Two Scoops offer courage, hope and contentment.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Denise! How kind of you to stop by today. I appreciate you,
      Jen

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  2. Jeanette Levellie, thank you for encouraging and inspiring us today! What an awesome post!

    I'm so thankful for the encouraging friends and family members in my life, especially my hubby who continually prods me out of my comfort zone.

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    1. Dora: Thanks! We need those human cattle-prods, or we get stuck in our familiar pastures and never go past the gate!

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  3. Jeanette,

    Thanks so much for visiting with us today. My husband and I love your devotional. Your illustrations are right on-point, just like this post.

    Thanks for reminding us that we have to try if we're accomplish anything.

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    1. Thanks for inviting me today, Angie. I'm so glad you and your husband like my book; that is an answer to prayer! I always pray for my readers.

      Grace and laughter,
      Jen

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  4. I love the fact that the encouragement came from your son, Jeanette. I bet you used that line on him occasionally. :-)

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    1. Sandra: I like that fact, too. Wisdom from the young is humbling, but in my case, it was what I needed to hear!

      No, I've not used that line on him--thanks for the idea!

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  5. When my daughter would complain that she didn't think she could do something, I'd tell her she'd never know unless she tried. I need to remind myself of the same thing sometimes.

    I love Jeanette's book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top.

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    1. Thanks, Barb. You are such a wonderful cheerleader!

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  6. It's wonderful that your son was so instrumental in encouraging you to do this. What a gift to you!

    Once again, you've given very good advice for aspiring writers. And for those who are en route. :)

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  7. Good one, Jeanette. I too always laugh at friends who say "Well, I could write a book." Well then, do it LOL. One thing I've learned, well, two. Having a manuscript moulder in your hard drive (or under your bed in the old days) gets you nowhere, and rejection doesn't kill you.

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  8. This was so interesting and informative. I don't know that I'll ever write a book, but this was an eye opener!

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  9. Such good advice from your son (don't you just love that). Mine tells me not to eat sugar. Anyway, yes - what would you have been doing all this time if you hadn't chosen to slave toward the book? Eating chocolate? Well, okay, you can do that AND write a book. And it sounds like you've got a winner.

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  10. We moved from SoCal to South Dakota in 2004. Just got my first book contract. Now I just gotta try and finish the darn thing.

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  11. I'm so glad you wrote your book, Jeanette. As well, I'm glad you wrote this blog post informing wannabe writers that it takes years to write. Many think their masterpiece is finished at the first draft. Your book is excellent! To God be the glory!

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