Friday, December 10, 2010

My Journey to Publication by Lorna Seilstad

This Fortifying Friday, author Lorna Seilstad is here to share her journey to publication. I know you’re going to enjoy her story and the encouragement it brings! Welcome, Lorna!

My Journey to Publication

I’ve said before that Moses and I have a lot in common. About three years ago, I realized that God wanted me to take the passion He’d placed within me for writing onto a new level. I’d been writing fan fiction on a wonderful site for several years, but I felt a tug that it was time to work toward publication.

When God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he made excuses. When I felt God calling me, I pulled a Moses and spouted off a long list of excuses. God, in his infinite patience, removed each one.

“What if no one wants to read what I’ve written?” I asked.

“You’ve still obeyed me.”

“I can’t go to the conference alone.”

“I’ll send a friend to go with you.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“You won’t have to say a thing. Just write.”

Finally, I had to come to a point where I didn’t care if I never became a published author, I was going to write because that was what God wanted me to do. I developed a new mantra of “God’s words. God’s will. God’s timing.”

God should have just said, “Hold on! I’m going to take you on the ride of your life.”

In April of 2008, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers. I read everything I could, participated in online classes, and read through archives. In September, at my first ACFW conference, I met with Andrea Doering, Revell’s senior acquisitions editor, at my editor meeting, and introduced myself, praying she didn’t see my legs shaking. Then, the worst thing happened. I forgot every word of my pitch.

Blank. Empty. Gone.

I remembered reading that Myra Johnson said she often handed her one sheet to the editor and sat quietly while they read it. After all, she said, they were used to making decisions on what they read. That’s exactly what I did.

When Andrea finished the one sheet, she asked me a few questions and then asked to see my chapters. I again sat silently while she read two of the three chapters. Thank goodness she laughed at the right places. I knew I was in trouble if she didn’t.

She then set it down, complimented me on my fresh voice, and asked me to send a full manuscript to her.

I just tried to not fall out of my chair.

I sent her the full manuscript a few months later. She then asked if I could come up with two more book ideas so she could present the idea as a series. I wrote two more book synopses in two weeks. Within the month, I had a three-book contract with Revell and the agent of my dreams, Wendy Lawton.

I’m so glad that God didn’t accept my excuses any better than He did those of Moses. God had a plan for me, but fear almost kept me from realizing it. If you’re on the publishing path, don’t let fear hold you back. Remember. “God’s words. God’s will. God’s timing.”

Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she quit teaching and became a professional wiper. "I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor, and lives in Iowa with her husband and three children—ages18, 16, and 11.

To find out more about Lorna and her work, please visit:
(10 writer blog)


  1. Congratulations, Lorna! I'm so glad my one-sheet advice worked for you! And your book cover is absolutely stunning!

  2. Lorna, I'd never heard your Moses analogy before. That's perfect for the neurotic writer, isn't it? And I love your mantra: God's words. God's will. God's timing." That's going above my computer.

  3. Oh, Myra, I am so thankful for your one sheet advice! You can only imagine how I felt when my mind went blank. God certainly used you that day!

    Brenda, I have to admit it's easier to say, "God's words. God's will. God's timing," than it is to live it. Especially that timing part. But we have to trust His plan is far better than anything we can ask or imagine.


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