Friday, June 11, 2010

My Journey to Publication by Christa Allan

Welcome to another Fortifying Friday! Last week, author Christa Allan gave tips for making writing happen. We’re pleased to have her return today and share her journey to publication. Be encouraged by her story!

My Journey to Publication

In April of 2009, my agent Rachelle Gardner started shopping my novel Walking on Broken Glass.Visions of auctions danced in my head, and I was sure that at least one publisher out of that long list she’d sent my novel to would leap at the opportunity.

Not so much. In May, Rachelle called to tell me that the response from editors was the novel was “too issue-driven.” And my being a first-time novelist didn’t help either. She said she’d continue to look for a home for it, but I may want to start considering ideas for another book.

So, I spent my summer working on proposals for my editor appointments at the September ACFW Conference. As much as I loved WOBG, I understood that the subject matter being outside of the usual boundaries of Christian fiction and my being a new writer were risks for publishers. But Rachelle believed in the novel, and I believed in her, so I prayed God would teach me to “let go.”

Then, at ICRS in July, Rachelle met Barbara Scott, the editor of Abingdon Press, a Methodist publishing house launching fiction for the first time. A few weeks later, Barbara said she was interested in it, and after a few more weeks of my being on nins and peedles (as my children used to say), Rachelle called at 11:43 am on October 30 to tell me that Abingdon bought my novel.

I am so humbled by all that’s happened to me since that day. Excited? Yes! But, honestly, all I could think then and even now is, “Who am I that my dreams should come true?” God’s generosity stuns me. Since Walking on Broken Glass released, I’ve been so grateful that Leah’s struggle resonates in readers. And that’s my passion for writing, to expose all the “elephants in the room” we don’t talk about, but surely are stepping on our toes and squeezing the life out of many of us.

Throughout the time I wrote this novel, well-meaning people advised me that the Christian market may not be ready for a novel rooted in alcoholism and recovery, and that being a never-before-published writer would certainly be the death knell. A few times, I actually tried writing something else. It didn’t work. I couldn’t abandon Leah. Or she refused to go away! I just felt so strongly that there were readers waiting for her story.

I hope my being published encourages you to hold fast to your dreams. Don’t let someone steal those dreams from you. Be prayerfully persistent, and believe that every “no” brings you a step closer to a “yes.” No doubt there are those who are better writers than I; the difference is I didn’t give up. But I also didn’t do it alone. Find people who are where you want to be, and be teachable.

Know that people are waiting for your dream to happen because you’re going to make a difference in their lives.

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa Allan’s debut women’s fiction, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February. Her essays have been published in The Ultimate Teacher, Cup of Comfort, Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Divorced Soul. Christa is the mother of five, a grandmother of three, and a teacher of high school English. She and her husband Ken live in Abita Springs.

You can learn more about Christa Allan and her work by visiting


  1. Thanks for the post. It's so difficult to go from point A to point B, with all the ups and downs! I have a story coming out in the September issue of Guidposts magazine, and in the process, they have solicited another story, which they plan to publish several months after this one. I am bouyed, yet not sure which way to go, or how to use this success to promote any further writing. Do you have any ideas? Thanks again! Elizabeth

  2. Hi Elizabeth! Congrats on your publication in Guideposts, especially their asking you for a second story. That says a great deal about not only your writing, but your ability to follow their guidelines and the submission process, which are all important.

    Having these two writing credits will definitely help when you're querying other magazines (either online or in print)or if querying agents,if you're interested in pursuing fiction or nonfiction. I think listing Guideposts will be especially a credit because it is such a widely recognized, established, and respected magazine.

    If you're interested in pursuing more magazine writing, Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide ( is a great place to find listings. She also has a blog where she posts current info and updates (

    I hope I've helped. By the way, I cruised by your profile...congrats on being a Grammy! I have two grandgirls, 5 and 3, and they're precious gifts.

    Bless you in your writing, and I so appreciate your taking the time to stop by.


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