Friday, March 3, 2017

Everything Changes After Publication by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Everything Changes After Publication

Published authors advise new writers to enjoy the pre-publication stage of their writing journey. We tell them to write as many stories as possible while waiting and querying, so they have a pile of manuscripts awaiting their editing when the day arrives.

Why? Because life changes drastically after publication. There is marketing to do, a business to run as a writer, a blog to feed with constant content, a platform to maintain, and preparation of the subsequent novels. Time commitments alter.

After publication, writing is no longer the most time-consuming activity. That seems ludicrous, doesn’t it? The life of a published author today is not what we imagined.

The dynamics of indie publishing and the demise of a large portion of the Christian writing industry have demolished those expectations while at the same time opening many more doors. After publication, the majority of us can’t hide in our writing caves, basking in tranquility as we create more stories. We don’t have the leisure of turning over the publishing process and the marketing to a publisher. Few writers do.

One published author I met recently plotted her schedule. One-third of her work time was spent writing and the other two-thirds expended on her platform, blogging, and the marketing work that supports her writing. I realized this had become my life as well.

This is not what I wanted. I toyed with the idea of giving up.

Like you, I must keep my eyes on Jesus. He has given us stories to tell. He knew what that would require, even if we did not. We endure the hardships, so we can illustrate truth about the Lord in the most powerful way possible, through stories, exactly as Jesus did with His parables. This is why we keep pressing on.

But be forewarned. The reality of this feels different than the expectation of it.

We are pushed into arenas most of us never wanted to explore. We have to learn the necessary business, marketing, and tech skills, if we want our stories to find their market. Now, before publication, is the time to take those courses at the writers’ conference, to sign up for that how-to podcast, and to participate in those webinars.

There’s another surprise that comes after publication. Our relationship with our stories changes. I love my characters. Writing them, cavorting with them in our imaginary world, experiencing their emotions as I write from their points of view, anticipating their actions and thoughts in each situation—all of this ends.

After publication the story is no longer organic. It’s alive to your readers, but it’s stationary and unmoving for you. Your readers long for the story to continue, but when it’s in print, it no longer involves your imagination but theirs. You have left the building, leaving your characters in their 6” x 9” box called a book. Your relationship is reduced to parental nostalgia about how you used to play with them in your imagination.

But, have no fear, you’ll be spending your time with new characters, so you’ll hardly have time to miss your first imaginary friends. For now, enjoy where you are, bask in the presence of your characters before they’re set in stone, linger with them in obscurity, and be patient with the process. While you’re awaiting publication, establish your quirky and unique voice. Talk and write about your baby novels.

There’s a time for every purpose under heaven. This is the time to soak in the quiet and to listen carefully to the Lord’s direction for your ministry of the written word, so that when it gets noisy and busy, you will remember where you're going and why you’re following the Master Author, the One who gives you these stories. He directs your journey.

Love takes action: The Creator God establishes the cosmos and shapes a man. Adam rises from the dust. Envious, the powerful angel Lucifer despises him. Oblivious to the threat, Adam is captivated by his strong, intuitive wife Eve. In the Garden of Eden, they enjoy abundant food, gorgeous vistas, and intriguing challenges, including their budding love and passion. They have it all!

But Lucifer’s deceptive brilliance tricks them into disobeying God. They eat the one forbidden fruit. Their innocence is shattered. Their unity with one another and with God is destroyed. Death will follow. Lucifer’s jealousy threatens mankind’s tenuous beginning. But God is merciful. What astonishing promise does He make? How will Adam and Eve survive—broken, shattered, and separated from God?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in a storytelling family. There her roots were sunk. 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, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as He makes beauty from ashes. Fallen is her second novel; Refuge, the sequel, is her first. Melinda shepherds women in prison ministry and writes inspirational material at  With her family she is involved with Mission India/RIMI, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students.




  1. Adding my "Amen!" to your post, Melinda! Sometimes, I find it so hard to find the writing time. Truthfully, though, there are times I find myself taking advantage of the other commitments to procrastinate. :(

    1. I think the reason it's hard to recognize and then to grab the writing time is because the lines are blurred now. Everything we do on social media is now part of "author work." We must interact. We must post. We must create social media graphics. We must take marketing webinars to see what the latest algorithm news is about when and how to post on social media. We must take blog headline writing training. All of those things are the opposite of quiet creativity. I have a difficult time bouncing back and forth from creative work to marketing work. I have to preschedule most of my social media content, so I can jump in and out of social media interaction quickly. When I have to concentrate on a fiction project, I can't engage on social media. Before we were published, we could ignore our social media to write, and it had no impact on our writing, other than to make it easier and more productive. But now, the ease and productivity is offset by the loss of sales and online friends we've carefully cultivated, even if we announce we have to "disappear" to work on a manuscript edit. And, because all of that is difficult to balance, it's easy to then procrastinate getting back into our writing.

      I keep reminding myself of the challenges Christians have always had in serving Jesus, and that our challenges are unique to our era, but challenges have always been present. Paul, for instance, wrote the entire book of Romans while holed up in Corinth for about three months. Now, obviously, he was writing Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, but can you imagine how crazy his writing time must have been as he had to deal with church issues, workers, people with questions, and trying to write? The perfection of the letter in the midst of all that testifies to its inspiration by the Holy Spirit. I couldn't work in those conditions! After I remember all of that, I ask Jesus once again to help me to serve Him in my era for His glory and then give it to Him to sort out. Balancing this is my toughest challenge as a writer. It's easy to get discouraged and to forget that He superintends and sees my challenges and rewards us writers for our efforts to press on.

  2. On the down side, the non-work-and-family-obligation time that I used to spend writing is now divided into writing, blogging, and networking.
    On the plus side, it's easier to tell friends and family that you have to concentrate on your writing business when you've gotten an advance or royalties statement to point to. (Though for some reason they seem to think all writers get the same advance as Stephen King!)

  3. Marketing (märkediNG) n. 1. the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising; 2. the process by which introverts (namely authors, but includes other related fields) slowly slip into a psychotic state of paranoia and pseudo-schizophrenia bordering on delusional and delirious states of madness, followed by delusional and delirious states of joy.


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