Like all of us who take this writing for publication life seriously, Robin Johns Grant has had her share of ups and downs, but she's looking to the right source for help. -- Sandy
Robin: I confess. My name is Robin Johns Grant and I suffer from publishing envy.
I pursued a traditional publishing contract literally for decades, and that’s when the envy first started to creep in. While I submitted and suffered rejection and waited, I read about newbie authors who seemed to land contracts with no effort at all.
Then the self-publishing explosion came along to level the playing field, and I truly believe God guided me to go indie. I came out with my first novel, Summer’s Winter, in January.
For a while, it was a blast. No, I wasn’t selling thousands or making lots of money, but I seemed to be developing momentum, and I was getting endorsements and great reviews. I was out there! Published! And then…
Even as I learned about marketing and increased my efforts, sales tanked. I feel stuck again. It’s hard not to feel like a failure.
Meanwhile, I read stories like Colleen Hoover’s. She self-published and put very little money or effort into it. She simply decided to publish a book so she could give copies to her family. Then a popular blogger reviewed her book, she started selling like crazy. And two years later, she has had five NYT best-sellers and two books optioned for movies!
And here I go again…publishing envy.
Does it ever seem to you that when God wants to communicate with you, He sends you the same Bible verse or story from all different directions? As I’ve been experiencing my slump, over and over God has sent me the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. You know, Elijah going against the prophets of Baal to see which one could call upon their god to bring down fire from Heaven and ignite the wood on the altar? (SPOILER ALERT: Our God wins!)
It really excites me that God is sending me this story even as I’m praying about igniting my writing career. I mean, fire from Heaven would be like what happened to Colleen Hoover, right? Instant gratification and success. Yes!
God even told Elijah to soak the altar three times with water, so the success would be even more amazing. So maybe He’s just soaking my writing career to show His glory even more when the success comes…
This is where I need to stop myself and get real. Elijah did not win Prophet Idol on Mount Carmel, bring himself fame and fortune and a movie deal. The whole competition was not about Elijah—it was about bringing glory to God. Actually, for Elijah, brought about death threats and exhaustion, even depression, all in the service of the Lord.
I call myself writing and publishing in service to the Lord. So maybe instead of revving me up and promising me that I, too, can be successful and famous—with very little effort! Fire from Heaven!—God is reminding me why I write. Reminding me that at times, however we serve him, it may be exhausting and discouraging. But that just as he did with Elijah, he’ll renew us and comfort us and get us going again. (SPOILER ALERT: God takes care of Elijah in a totally cool, supernatural way. It involves ravens.)
Do you ever feel that "publishing envy" when looking at what other writers are accomplishing?
ROBIN JOHNS GRANT has been writing for most of her life. While waiting for her writing to pay off, she wrote and edited university publications; managed an office for a team of private investigators; and worked as a university financial aid counselor. She also did a lot of crazy fan stuff and developed fascinations with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie for Summer's Winter.