Friday, October 26, 2012

Silencing the Slithering Snake: 5 What-If Questions Answered by Jocelyn Green

The road to publication can be filled with dips, bumps, and holes. How do you handle them while on the journey? Author Jocelyn Green shares some tips that will help keep you moving along! 
~ Dawn

Silencing the Slithering 
Snake: 5 What-If Questions Answered

I just returned from a Christian writers conference last weekend where I gave a couple of workshops and thoroughly enjoyed participating in the rest. One thing I noticed, though, was this undercurrent of “what if?” that seemed to snake its way around many of the attendees, constricting their confidence and leaving a slimy residue of doubt. It happens to the best of us—and for some, those two little words are so paralyzing it prevents them from taking the next step.

That’s just not right. In fact, that’s what Satan wants us to do—quit. Today, I want us to crush that snake with our collective heel by answering five questions that haunt so many of us.

1. What if I ask someone to be my agent and he or she says no?
You ask another agent, and then another, and then another, until the answer is YES. Remember, the answer will always be no if you never ask.

2. What if the book I write doesn’t match up with my vision or expectations for it?
If your book doesn’t satisfy you, pinpoint why, and fix it. Don’t be afraid to get help from others to do this, whether it’s a critique partner, hired book coach, writing books, etc.  Be grateful that you can identify what needs improvement—that is the first step! Then get to work.

3. What if people don’t like my book?
Make sure you are teachable and get others’ feedback before it goes to print. If people you trust can point out weaknesses, take the opportunity to strengthen those areas. Then, when it’s published, be confident! Your work will bless many, many people. Some people won’t like it just because you can’t please everyone, but don’t let that bother you.

4. What if my book doesn’t become a best-seller?
It might not. So ask yourself right now, are you writing in order to become rich and famous, or are you writing because you have a story to share, and you can’t imagine not sharing it? I don’t think any of us would mind also making gobs of money with said story, but I believe writing is a calling, especially for the Christian writer. Trust that God will use your book to touch the lives of people he has hand-picked to receive your message. Yes, there are many things we can and should do as writers to make sure others know about our books, but ultimately God is in control of it all, including our sales histories.

5. What if I can’t do as well on the next book?
You’ll do better. Put as much thought and work into it, continue to improve your craft, and keep asking for feedback. If you’re stuck, try using a professional service such as My Book Therapy ( Pray against self-doubt and fear, and let God use you to tell a compelling story that has the power to change lives.

The next time a “what if” question slithers around your spirit, answer it or rebuke it—and get back to writing.

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Jocelyn Green is an award-winning author and freelance writer. A former military wife, she authored, along with contributing writers, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Jocelyn also co-authored of Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, which inspired her first novel: Wedded to War. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at



  1. Dawn, thank you so much for having me on today! What a great blog for writers you have here.

    1. Our pleasure, Jocelyn! Thanks for the lovely compliment. We owe this blog to authors like you who are so generous in sharing their experiences, wisdom, and encouragement!

    2. I have been so impressed with the authors I have met and interacted with. Publishing is a tough industry, but these Christian authors are so supportive it has been really wonderful to see and experience!


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