Friday, October 13, 2017

Becoming an Overnight Success by Brenda S. Anderson

Brenda S. Anderson
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to become an overnight success? How do some writers manage to achieve it? Or do they? Author Brenda S. Anderson shares great insight on the subject. 
~ Dawn

Becoming an 
Overnight Success

One of my favorite songs from 2016 was “The River” by Jordan Feliz, a newcomer to the Christian music scene. I remember hearing “The River” for the first time, and being immediately captured by its unique, fluid rhythms, and driving music so much like a river itself. Add to that, the song’s catchy lyrics and Feliz’s vocal talents, and you have an instant hit. From Feliz’s very first release, I was a fan. And I was in awe of his overnight success.

Then I heard how many years it took him to become that overnight success.

Ten, to be exact.

His career began in 2006, touring with a heavy metal band. He transitioned to being a worship leader, and then he stepped out in faith and moved his family to Nashville where they scraped by doing odd jobs until he signed a record deal in 2015. Nearly a year later, “The River” was released.

Ten years of hard work, struggling, and persevering. Ten years of obedience and stepping out in faith led to his “overnight” success.

In Christian fiction, a few overnight successes come to mind:

Lori Benton’s award-winning debut, Burning Sky, came out nearly twenty-two years after she’d heard the call to write. And now, with each book, she receives more acclaim. Twenty-two years of learning and persevering and trusting in His plan led to that success.

Charles Martin, one of my favorite authors, received eighty-six rejection letters for The Dead Don’t Dance. How do you take eight-six rejections without believing those rejections are personal? By learning and persevering, by walking in faith and trusting. Now this bestselling, award-winning author has twelve books published, with The Mountain Between Us now a major-motion picture.

That’s success!

But let me give you another, different example:

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. In 2005, I took the call to write seriously and began penning my first novel. Six novels followed that one. After receiving forty-plus rejections over the years, I signed a four-book contract with a small publisher. That first book came out, and then the publisher went under. There’s no bestseller or award-winning flag next to my name, and my sales are plodding along. Yet, when I read reviews such as this one from Renee on Goodreads,

“The biggest thing that stood out for me is walking a life with God. I could relate to [the hero] and needing to reestablish my relationship with God. You never know what avenues God will use to reach you.”

Now that’s success.

Success isn’t found solely in the number of books sold or awards won, it’s also found in being humble, teachable, and obedient. God’s definition of success is not the world’s definition. We may never know, this side of eternity, who our writing has impacted, or how it’s impacted them, but when you step out in faith, and trust God to lead you on the long, rutted path of storytelling, know that you are a success.

What is your success story?

(Where the Heart Is #3)

When flowers and chocolate collide, romance is sure to bloom.

Family has always been the one constant in Jess Beaumont’s messy life, so when her parents separate, she puts “Operation: Planting Hope” into action. All she has to do is recreate the circumstances that helped her parents fall in love. Unfortunately, that includes the daunting task of restoring the family cabin’s gardens. When the handsome candy store owner shows up to help, she’s certain she has all the elements required for her parents’ love to bloom again. After all, flowers and chocolate are the perfect ingredients for romance.

Luke Harrison has spent his life trying to win his father’s approval, and a promotion in the family land development business would be a step in that direction. But when he inherits Gran’s candy store, his dreams of being promoted start melting away. Then his dad dangles a Vice President position in front of Luke, with one caveat—acquire the land on both sides of Gran’s store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin, and the promotion is his.

What at first seemed a simple challenge for Luke becomes a tangled mess. Buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip his blossoming romance with Jess in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading in his corner office for the corner candy store.

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 ACFW Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

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