I am a stubborn woman (I think my husband just said amen to that!). I figure out my goal and throw myself at it. I strategize, plan every minute detail, and calculate my odds at achieving that which I want most. I subconsciously live by the belief that if I just work hard enough at it, I can have it.
But sometimes what I want and what God wants for me are two different things.
Sometimes He says wait.
I just received my first book rejection two weeks ago. Now at first that would seem like a bummer. No one likes to be rejected. However, this person had a lot of nice things to say about my manuscript. As a writer, I needed to hear that. But she let me know, in the end, that the Christian book market (at this point) is not looking for a book like mine.
Anything else I could work with. If my manuscript needed more work, I could do that. Better writing, a thorough grammar check, a stronger main character: those are things I have control over. But the market? No matter how hard I work, I cannot change the market.
I stared at the email a couple more times, elated that someone liked my work and yet disheartened about the state of the market. Why write then? I thought. Then God pointed out two things:
He is not confined by the market. He can do what He wants when He wants. If God wants my book out there, then He has the power to do it (that if is a scary word).
Only He can make it happen. I can write the best book I can, but only God can bring together the market and the people to make it happen. That is out of my hands. Believe me, the stubborn side of me wants to. But I can’t.
So what do I do now? I write and wait on Him. Waiting is not easy, but it produces patience and self control. Instead of barreling on ahead with my own agenda, I am learning to quiet myself and wait for God to move. That might be months or it might be years. I might not see it in my lifetime. But I believe that I am supposed to write. So therefore I will continue down the path God has shown me and trust Him with the ending to my own life story.
I wrote that post back in September 2010. Two years later I published my first book, Daughter of Light, with Marcher Lord Press. The next year Daughter of Light finaled in many prestigious awards. Along with that I published the second book in the series, Son of Truth. I am now finishing the last bit of rewrites on Heir of Hope, the third and final book in the Follower of the Word series.
God has done so much with my writing since I received my first rejection, above and beyond what I ever imagined! Sometimes I need to remind myself that I have no idea what God is going to do, but to just trust. Writing is hard, very hard, and I want to know that I’m not wasting my time. But the future is not mine to know.
I want to encourage those of you who are writing to keep on writing. Place your dreams and stories before God. I don’t know what He’s going to do with them, but when they are done for Him, they won’t be done in vain, even if it touches one soul. In the end, it is worth it.
12 thoughts on “My First Rejection”
There are so many options for publishing now, that — even setting self-publishing aside — finding a publishing house is now a matter of persistence more than market forces. Just keep trying. Try here, try there, try yonder. You’ll find one!
Congrats on finding a place for your work! I’m glad it’s doing well for you. 🙂
Thanks, CCKoepp 🙂
Very true, Morgan. We can’t control the market. All we can do is be the best writers we can through perseverance and dedication, by not ceasing to develop our craft. The rest is in His hands. He reminded me of this after my first couple of rejections. My job in this partnership is to write. His job is to get it published according to His time frame, not mine. We have to trust He will get it published in His perfect timing.
Thanks for reminding and encouraging us.
Yep! But many times we want to take control of everything. I’m glad I could encourage you, Henry.
I really needed to hear this right now. I’ve been struggling between the calling of being a writer and the constant doubts of “why bother, who is it actually benefiting anyway?” It’s rather funny that God placed a relentless dreamer and a relentless pragmatist in the same body. Anyway, thanks for sharing! God bless!
Janeen, I struggle with those doubts all the time, even now as a published author. So you’re not alone!
Thanks for the encouragement. Needed to hear about the importance of waiting on God’s timing. That is so hard.
The other struggle I have is, out of the billions of published works out there, who would want to read what I write? It’s good to remember that it’s not about me or how many will read; it’s about what God can and will do. Thanks again for the encouragement.
I have a question: can I order your books through the library?
Hi Heather! Glad I could encourage you. Yes, most libraries are willing to carry my books. If they don’t have it, you can request it 🙂
Hi Morgan, my first spiritual fantasy manuscript has received 4 rejections, the most recent mentioning how unmarketable spec fiction is in the CBA arena. I’m still hopeful and am re-writing it, to make it irresistible. 😉 Your post encourages me. I must be faithful, no matter what happens. I get lazy and distracted. I enjoyed Daughter of Light very much and celebrated the accolades you received for it. So great to read Christian fiction that celebrates the power and presence of God. Marcher Lord Press brought new hope. Jeff’s groundbreaking company put Christian spec fiction on the proverbial map. I pray and anticipate Steve Laube’s leadership will push it several notches higher.
On another note, I think you received a Masters in Spiritual Formation. Was it an online program? I’m devoted to supporting Christian spiritual formation in others and in me, too. 😉 Please let me know. While there are several seminaries nearby, none offer MASF programs.
Yes, that is the same objection I received: no market for spec fiction in CBA. I’m glad I was able to encourage you with my own story 🙂 (and thanks for reading Daughter of Light!). God is in control, but sometimes it is hard to wait.
I don’t have a masters in Spiritual Formation, but it is a passion of mine. It helped me as a young adult to understand who I was, that I wasn’t a “mistake” as a Christian. I have a couple blogs about it (SHAPE, understanding your personality, etc…). Dallas Theological Seminary might have a program (that is where I first learned about spiritual formation).
Thank you, Morgan!
This post was great and not just for writers. It was encouraging to read as someone who is waiting for God to fulfill a promise He made me a long time ago about a certain prayer. Waiting is HARD but I try to remember that His ways are not my ways and HIS thoughts are not my thoughts. 🙂