Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Publishing Envy by Robin Johns Grant

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…
His glory.

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.

Robin now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.  She lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral feline, Mini Pearl. Robin is celebrating the release of her first novel, Summer's Winter, a romantic suspense about preacher’s daughter Jeanine and her obsession with troubled film star, Jamie. Keep up with Robin and her writing at


  1. We've been having a discussion about this on my Facebook page -- agreeing that we identify so much with this post. Love your reminder that we just have to be obedient, not matter what the outcome of our efforts.

    Thanks, Robin!

    1. Thank you, Angie! In addition to relying on God, it's so important for us to support one another.

  2. I think every time we do what God has for us to do, we're successful. Sometimes, the hard part is 1) doing it and 2) remembering to give Him the glory.

    Enjoyed it, Robin!

  3. Yes, I feel it and nowhere possess the trust you just shared, Robin. So I really enjoyed your post today. I sooooo love the title Summer's Winter! That's a terrific hook in itself!

  4. Hi Robin -

    I have three traditionally published books out there, and instant success is rare. My debut novel did well, slumped, and then rebounded. It takes time to gain traction and develop a following.

    Social media has been key for my sales, as well as guest posts. This is why publishers are so adamant about potential authors having a platform.

    Keep plugging away, and most of all keep writing!

    Susan J. Reinhardt

  5. Love your book title, Robin. Seasons come and go, and this winter season will eventually fade and make way for a glorious spring. God knows your heart. :)

  6. Love your post, Robin, your honesty, and your motive for writing, "bringing glory to God!" May he bless you and give you the desire of your heart. Keep up the good work! You have a perfect name for an author for sure! :-) xoxoox


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