I was stuck in a rut. Uninspired. Bored. Yes, I was writing – and getting paid for it, too – but writing had lost some of its appeal. The thrill was gone. Most of my work was coming from the same publishers I’d been working with for years. It wasn’t that I wasn’t thankful for the work. It’s just that “the work” left me craving something more creative.
I had an idea for a new book – but the nagging, negative voice inside my head kept telling me I could never get it published. It was about weddings, and why would any publisher consider me for a book on weddings? Other than being married myself, what were my qualifications? Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nonetheless, the idea was always in the forefront of my mind.
Finally, after a dull day writing on a topic I’d written about a thousand times before, I worked up a query letter. It made the rounds for two years, until one editor said she had an almost identical book in the works. That had me moping for a few weeks – until I woke up in the middle of the night with a new thought. What if I took the topic of a single chapter in my original book idea and made it the sole focus of a different book? The idea excited me, and despite the fact that my negative voice kept saying, “Nobody will hire you to write this!” I got up the next morning, typed a query letter, and began sending it to editors.
Six months later, I received an email from an acquisitions editor at Zondervan, a subsidiary of HarperCollins. He said he was also a minister, and was about to marry a couple. “I wish I could give them your book as a gift,” he said. “It’s something they could really use. Why don’t you send me a proposal?” I could hardly believe it. An editor at a major publishing house had dug my query out of the slush pile and he liked my idea…he really liked it!
After I submitted my proposal, the editor asked me to make some changes to the sample chapters. I listened carefully to his requests and did my best to improve my chapters. Then I waited. Over a year after I sent him the query, the editor emailed me again. “Good news,” he said. “We’d like to publish your book!”
To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. My dream had come true: I’d be writing in an entirely new field, with a new publisher (the largest I’d ever worked with), and was offered a great advance and a fair contract. I was on Cloud Nine! Now my book is scheduled for release in the next few weeks, and I’ve already queried the same publisher with an idea for another book. To my utter delight, they’ve asked me to work up a proposal. No longer can my nagging, negative voice tell me I can’t write about anything I desire. I have a whole new lease on writing!
Kristina Seleshanko is the author of thirteen books, including Wedding Traditions for the Christian Bride (Zondervan, 2005). To learn more, visit her website: http://www.kristinaseleshanko.com.