Rejections & Rejoicing

Congratulations to Lynda; timestamp April 29th at 4:48 pm. You are the winner of the weekend’s giveaway. Send your home address to me at karen@proverbs31.org right away!

As I poured over the comments that came in on my post on ‘answer envy’ that ran last Friday, I felt a little overwhelmed. While I knew it was a topic I’ve struggled with most of my life, I had no idea it would resonate with so many of you too!

Women wanting to get married; wives longing to have or adopt children or for their husbands to come home; daughters desiring that a parent get their life right with God; friends in financially tight places watching others take trips and make luxury purchases.

While we desire to be genuinely happy for others, that ugly monster ‘answer envy’ lurks in the corners of our minds whispering, “Gee, must be nice to have what she has”.

And then, it tempts us to commit the oldest sin in the book: ungratefulness.

Eve, who’d been given so much by God, dwelled on the one thing she couldn’t have and it brought her down in a private, personal and even public way.

It really is Satan’s standard go-to play in his sinister play book.

And way too many of us women are still falling for it!

I shared that throughout my life, I have been envious of others.

As a young girl from a broken home watching in-tact families enjoy life; a sports editor in high school who was every guy’s pal and nobody’s gal. (Try going and setting up for the senior prom since your father was the caterer and then going home to an empty house to watch TV that night. No date. No fun.)

Once married after college, I experienced miscarriage while many of my friends were trekking off to their baby showers. Now, with a husband who is a factory worker in the shaky Michigan economy, at times he experiences temporary lay offs.

Then, as a writer and speaker who gets to go to conferences and events, well you think it would be all fun and girl-friendy, right?

Yes. Most of the time. Most of the time it is fabulous, encouraging and “we-re-all-on-the-same-team” wonderful. Really it is. The others I meet blow me away with their kindness and their desire to make God, not themselves, famous.

But there are those times when the snake of envy slithers out of the corners of my mind tempting me to through myself a big ole’ pity party, with me as the only pathetic guest, as others talk about how many publishers are bidding on their latest project. All they have to do is spin the wheel on the pick-a-publisher game and voila! Their next book is a done deal!

Now, don’t get me wrong. They aren’t bragging. They are my friends and we are sharing information so we can be praying for each other. We do it all the time. But the snake slithers in and, while not envious of these women—I love my own life—I become envious of the answers they seem to be getting quickly while I turn yet another page on my calendar of hopes.

Many of you know that I have written four books and also contributed to others for MOPS and Proverbs 31. I love writing and, until the past two years, it honestly has been a relatively easy road for me.

Our first book (I wrote with my best friend from college and a close friend from now) was self-published until being snatched up pretty quickly by a publisher.

Our sequel to that book was requested by that same publisher. Yes…they asked us to write it.

My first solo book proposal (in shortened form) was met with a “Love it! How fast can you write it?” response.

My forth book was with my beloved Hearts at Home and a new publisher. It was meet with enthusiasm and a  rather speedy “Yes! We’d love to have you publish a book with us”.

That book released in early 2008. I took time to breathe and then began pitching book ideas again–three of them, to my two current publishers.

And a few others.

And a couple more.

And, well….. didn’t try this one, I’ll send it in there too.

Can you say “rejection”?

I knew you could. (Mr. Rogers would be proud)

As an author with no agent (I think my first sentence was “I do it myself!”) I reasoned that perhaps with the tight economy and many companies scaling back on the number of books they produce each year, perhaps I needed to get myself an agent. Then I’d have “people” and sound so much more official than “Midwest homemaker who answers her phone in the home office (laundry room) and prays no kids are fighting in the back ground”.

After interviewing a few prospects, I found a publishing dynamo who agreed to take me on (even though most of her clients have very recognizable names as in country music stars, politicians and big time authors!)

So, since the summer of 2009 she has coached me on my proposals and then taken my little ideas and “pitched” them as it is called in the industry.

While over a half-dozen companies were interested and most of the time my proposals made it through the many hoops required to get to the final committee, each time they were met ultimately with a “no”. Many said, “We love her, just not these ideas”

Or…..”She’s a medium fish” they’d say meaning, while not unknown and just starting out, still none of my books were runaway, smash hits. One was listed as a best-seller in the Christian market for a while, but no huge numbers to wow the publishing people who decide whose names get on the covers of their books.

Now understand,  I had always been okay with my numbers. Not wanting to blur the line between money and ministry nor one bit interested in going around kicking down doors, I’d let God open them instead.

I was a Michigan stay-at-home mom, not a Christian celebrity and that was just fine with me.

But now, with the circumstances so different and a few burning messages in my heart, and my love of helping women live life and—okay….I’ll shoot straight–three kids nearing college and needing more income, I really wanted to land a book deal.

Any deal. Any company. I don’t care if they are tiny. Why, I know…….here,  just let me type the thing on my laptop and take it to Kinkos and I’ll publish it myself!!! (my thinking got a little skewed!)

Thankfully, my wise agent would not let me. She kept encouraging me. Believing in me. Oh yeah, and making me start ALL OVER again!

Let’s just say that writing a 17 page book proposal and a sample chapter is tough and time consuming. Doing it three or four times over again is true torture!!!!

So, after now after nearly a year-and-a-half of a constant cycle of high hopes and dashed dreams; of learning to trust Him and others who told ‘hurried-up me’ to be patient; of learning that hard work is required, the drawing board revisited is part of the refining process and starting over does not mean failure, I can announce to you here that…

In January I was made an offer and on Good Friday I received in the mail  a signed contract for a new book with a fabulous company with even more fabulous people who caught a vision for my message!!

Oh….and, along with it, I’ll be writing a Bible Study companion workbook and recording a dvd teaching series too for women’s groups to use in their Bible studies or moms groups.

I can hardly wait!!!

Now, If you’d like to be a part of the party, here is what you can do:

I have a ‘cyber sisters’ group who I email occasionally to ask for prayer and to keep them informed of some behind-the-scenes stuff too. (They’ve known about this book deal process throughout the many long months it took and got to scream with me –via email—when the offer was accepted.)

They also are women off of whom I can bounce ideas, or give surveys on possible titles and which topics I should include or not. They are my information gathering team and trusted advisers.

If you’d like to join, simply send an email to me at karen@proverbs31.org with the words “cyber sisters” in the subject line. I’ll add you to our group.

Then, watch for a survey on the title and content of this book to be emailed to you this week.

And if you don’t have the time or desire for this, don’t worry. I’ll occasionally be asking for your input here too in the months to come. Especially when the topic of the book—which is very related to answer envy—is being discussed.

In the mean time, please know that I have not dropped you and your answer envy struggles off my radar. While I’d like to say I prayed over each and every one of them already, the truth is, I am doing my best.

I’m leaving my computer open to the comments and, when I get a few minutes when not needed by my hubby or Spence (Mitch is in Florida at the homeschool world series. Prayers appreciated!) I’m reading and praying for you.

Thanks for doing life together. I cannot tell you how much you all mean to me.

I treasure your comments. I learn from you and together we get to obey God by sharing burdens and joys, by sharpening as iron sharpens iron and by making Him famous!!!

Grateful Blessings,

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  • Ok, I am just getting to all my blogs now! So glad your story had a happy ending.
    Am going to join your group, I love to give ideas, I hope you love receiving them!

  • Karen,

    This sounds so wonderful!!! I am going to send you the e-mail as I would be very honored to be praying for you along the way. Sounds like this will DEFINITELY be a Bible Study I will be interested, too, when it is finished :)

  • HALLELUJAH!! What amazing news praise God! God is blessing you for not being weary in well doing and you are most certainly reaping the harvest as a result of that. I am praising the Lord and rejoicing with you!