Friday, June 5, 2015

What’s a Writer to Do? by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Recently I made a decision that many writers are contemplating. Maybe you're one of them. After researching, mulling, and head scratching, I've decided to independently publish my next novel and utilize crowdfunding to both promote and fund it. My Kickstarter campaign runs this month.

If you're new to publishing, you may not be aware of how rapidly our industry is changing, almost daily. When I contracted for the publication of my first novel, a major shift in attitude toward indie publishing had just occurred.

A bestselling Christian writer had just launched his own self-publishing company, first aiming predominately at writers who had been trained by his Christian Writers Guild. It was as if a bomb had exploded.

At his writers' conference a few days after his announcement, every agent, editor, and publisher asked me - a writer at the conference - if I also planned to self publish, as if this were now the expected norm. They all encouraged it.

Everything had changed.

Between 2011-2013, it was estimated there were 1 to 2 million books on Amazon. By the time my novel reached publication in early 2014, there were 8 million books on Amazon. That is an enormous glut, if you're an unknown writer promoting your first book.

As I considered this market, often completely overwhelmed, my autoimmune disorder worsened. And as I talked with my readers, I became even more acutely aware of their needs. I spent a lot of time crying, feeling hopeless and frustrated for them and for me.

Even if you're completely healthy, this writing world may prompt you to feel the same. What's a writer to do?

We must remember this: God is still God. None of this surprised him.

He created humanity to work and to create. Innovation brings change. Therefore, change is a mark of the image of God within mankind.

With change come challenges, which have always simultaneously inspired and plagued creative people. This time in literary history is similar to when the printing press was created, and everyone's words could garner a hearing if they were willing to embrace a new writing world.

As I prayed and considered, the Lord brought encouragement from unlikely sources, including strangers (now friends) I met on ACFW Group boards and social media. Simultaneously, the Lord impressed upon me his deep love and his gentleness with the speed at which I can now work with a chronic illness. He gave me hope in him.

Eventually, my way became clear. The decision was made easier by the fact that my publisher, a small traditional house, will be providing the editing and design, as well as the distribution connections for my indie project. I love my publisher, so his creative input made this even more enticing.

My decision is unique to my health, my personality, my savvy publisher, and my readers. Another significant consideration was the fact that I've already been published traditionally. This was a very personal decision. What was right for me may not be right for you.

Our God is innovative, and so are the brilliant human beings he created. You are one of his marvelous creations! As a writer, he designed you to tell his stories.

My encouragement to you in this crazy publishing world is that the Lord will help you to make these decisions. He will lead you. No matter how he directs, he will get your stories to the market he has planned for them.

God is sovereign over all. Never forget this.

Nudged toward evil by Satan, Cain 's hard-hearted hubris results in Abel's murder and Lilith's broken heart when he is banished, splitting the family and propelling mankind toward ever-increasing violence as their siblings seek revenge. Crushed by what he's done, Cain runs, certain he's destroyed Lilith, his parents, and the entire family. With Satan hounding his every move and no idea of the forces arrayed against him, can Cain ever find God after he's committed a sin of such magnitude? Can he ever be forgiven?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S.—Wakita, Oklahoma, of "Twister" fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refuge is her first novel. Melinda shepherds women in church and in prison ministry and writes inspirational material on her biweekly blog at With her family she is involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students—
You can learn more and connect with Melinda here:



  1. I never thought I'd consider taking this route to publication and have no plans to do so now, but I won't say "never" for the future. It seems to me, to make it easier, it's better to have a bit of a following first or, at the least, know marketing inside and out.

    1. I agree with you, Sandra. Having a following and knowing marketing make all the difference! I never thought I would do this either!

  2. Hi, Melinda:

    Well put, and I agree with you. But being a glass-half-full kind of person, I also see these changes as an opportunity. The big difference now is the need for individual marketing, because no one else is going to do it for you. So instead of trying to sell your book to everybody, knowing that not everybody will be interested in it, figure out who would be most likely to buy it and pitch it to them. The best salespeople are those who truly believe in their product -- and if you don't believe in your book, you probably shouldn't have written it.

    1. Good points, Darrell! True! I'm going broad with my appeal, but I'm also pitching specific with #FallenNovel. I know so much more about the process of marketing than I did with my first novel! I kept it "secret" until publication - that was not a good marketing strategy!

  3. You're so brave, Melinda, and I admire and applaud you for taking this step. My dad has been prodding me since book #1 to self-publish, and I'm just now considering its merits, especially control over release dates and working at my own pace. Great post!

    1. Courage is pressing into it and doing it, even when your knees are knocking. :) While I was mostly bedridden all winter, I spent the time researching and trying to hear how the Lord wanted me to deal with the pros and cons of both publishing options combined with my health and family. It was a tough decision. And now, in this Kickstarter campaign itself, I'm throwing it all out there. Just like writing a novel strips us naked since the characters are all pieces of our emotions, lives, and inner conflicts, this campaign is another bare-it-all moment!

  4. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey, Melinda! As you know ... I've also decided to go indie, and it's been a blessing to have the opportunity to encourage each other on this path.

    1. I agree, Dawn! Sharing the decision-making process we each experienced was encouraging! We're blessed to live in a time with so many options!

  5. Melinda, you are an inspiration -- for going the indie route while navigating through the land minds that chronic illness plants along our path. It IS scary. Life is scary!

    And I've been right there, too, crying in pain or desperation, wondering what on earth our Father had in mind calling us to write. I'm so glad to have found a fellow "overcomer" (I refuse to describe us with any of the words that mean chronically ill). God is in control -- our illness is NOT.

    Love and hugs!

    1. When you all invited me to contribute regularly to Seriously Write, God's hands were all over it! My connection with you all was an answer to prayer and has blessed me tremendously with so much professional, personal, and spiritual encouragement. It was such a blessing, Angie, to discover that we share a common chronic challenge that God uses to draw us closer to him in order to teach us to rely on him alone. We are overcomers. You are right! We press on, moving forward at a different pace now, but our Shepherd is gentle. Moving slowly gives us the space to rest in his grace. Love and hugs back!


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