Friday, August 10, 2018

Writing to Make a Difference by Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson

There are many reasons why we choose to write, but not all give us the stamina to do what’s necessary for success in the industry. Author Janet Ferguson shares her journey and what has motivated her along the way to publication. 
~ Dawn

Writing to Make a Difference

When I started writing, I wanted to express how God uses even our messes to make something beautiful. I had an idea that stayed with me for seven years before I committed to writing the story down. I kept waiting for the right time. I’d learned most novels are about 75000 words. What a daunting task, right?

But, in 2012 my mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s on February 29. My mother-in-law died suddenly of a plural embolism on April 6; then my elderly father passed away on May 6.

The grief at losing parents was hard, but the realization that life was short stirred my desire to write. More importantly—to write to make a difference. Every night I’d read the last scene I’d written and then start a new one. Within a few months, I’d written The End.

I had no clue what to do next.

I joined a local and national writers’ groups. I navigated the scary world of pitching to agents that first year after my I finished Leaving Oxford at the RWA National Convention in Atlanta. The agents were kind enough to request my manuscript, but suggested I was almost ready, but not quite. Both agents also suggested I should join ACFW and get a critique partner. I jumped in and acquired so many critique partners that I can’t even remember all their names! I attended more conferences, took online craft classes, and read books on the craft of writing. I can’t count how many times I rewrote Leaving Oxford in the four years I spent editing it. Meanwhile I wrote three other books in the series.

At some point, one agent suggested that I indie publish since the market was so tight after Family Christian filed bankruptcy. The thought terrified me, so I edited and pitched again at the ACFW Conference. And I waited. Meanwhile, several of my critique partners were doing really well as indie authors.

Finally, I asked one of them (Misty Beller) if she would mentor me if I decided to go indie, and she agreed. And so I began researching all that I would have to do to successfully indie publish.

I would need a good fiction editor (one specific to my genre) and a good cover artist. I worked on my platform, newsletter, and Facebook author page. I filed for copyrights and bought ISBNs. I filed my publishing company name Southern Sun Press with the Secretary of State. I set up with the tax commission—and so much more. My journey is not for everyone. Not all writers want to own a business, but I’m happy to have my stories out there, and I’ve earned a profit. But the amazing thing is when readers contact me or leave a review saying that the story helped them when they were going through tough times or that the novel was just what they needed at that moment in their faith walk. That is the reason I write! To God be the glory!

I now have five novels published, and that first novel Leaving Oxford is currently free. Check it out!

Southern Hearts Series ~ Book 1

Escaping home to Oxford, Mississippi, seemed like a good idea. Until it wasn’t.

A year after a tragic accident in Los Angeles flipped her world upside down, advertising guru Sarah Beth LeClair is still hiding away in her charming hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. And she may well be stuck there forever. Suffering from panic attacks, she prays for healing. Instead, her answer comes in the form of an arrogant football coach and an ugly puppy.

Former celebrity college quarterback Jess McCoy dreamed of playing pro football. One freak hit destroyed his chances. Although he enjoys his work as the university’s offensive coordinator, his aspirations have shifted to coaching at the highest level. His plans of moving up are finally coming together—until he falls for a woman who won’t leave town.

 As the deadline for Jess’s decision on his dream career looms, the bars around Sarah Beth’s heart only grow stronger. But it's time to make a decision about leaving Oxford.

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

I love to hear from readers! You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Bookbub, or use the contact page, or subscribe to my newsletter on the Under the Southern Sun page for exclusive book news and giveaways.

I also contribute at Inspy Romance and Heartwings blogs once a month. Check out the authors and prizes!