Desperate to get a publishing contract, I spent the better part of 2011 writing a contemporary romance that I was sure would awe every editor at the ACFW conference in St. Louis. The first night in the conference bookstore I was discouraged to see most of the titles on display were nothing like mine. I know it’s good to have a distinct style, but if you want to get published you must write what the reading public is buying. The stories I wanted to write didn’t fit into what I saw on display.
After the book I had worked so hard on this summer was firmly rejected by my dream editor, I began to rethink my publishing strategy. Was I missing the point? Was I writing for the market instead of writing the stories the Lord had placed in my heart, even if they weren’t the most popular topics and genres of the day?
At a mentor appointment on the last day of the conference, my suspicions were confirmed…and validated. Andy Meisenheimer from The Editorial Department advised I write what I am passionate about instead of writing for the market. Who knows? I could be the forerunner for the next big trend in Christian publishing.
“Give it two years,” Andy said. “Write your dreams first. If after all that time, you have no success, no one says you’re growing or headed in the right direction of achieving your dreams, then sell out.”
Good advice, Andy, and something I’ve taken to heart. Instead of working on projects that don’t speak to me, I’m going to write the stories that burden my beleaguered writer’s heart. The projects that excite me. Not what might be the hottest trend on the market today, but the stories that speak to me.
What about you? What did the Lord teach you at the ACFW conference? Did a meeting or encounter impact your life or career? How has your writing focus changed since the conference? Most importantly, how have you put it into action? Please share that we all might learn and become better writers and disciples of the Lord we serve.