by Karen Ball
2013 was an amazing year full of ups and downs, gain and loss, joy and sadness. I lost 3 dear friends, one of whom was in his 30s, one of whom was just a few years younger than I, and one of whom I’ve known since I was 2 years old. We in the industry lost so many–some, like wonderful agent and friend Lee Hough and the amazing Diann Hunt–far sooner than any of us wished. The joy? They all were solid in their faith in Christ, so we’ll see them again. But saying good-bye is never easy. Thank God for his peace and comfort. And HOPE!
Professionally, it’s been a whiz-bang year. It’s always such fun to discover and sign new clients, and it’s even more fun to see clients, existing and new, find publishing homes! As I’ve walked through the many steps on this publishing journey with clients, from the blissful “We’ve received an offer!” to the turbulent “Whatever made me think I could write??”, I’ve been reminded why I love this industry so much.
The people. Publishing people–be they writers, editors, agents, marketers, readers—are a breed apart. They ooze creativity and passion. Their words range from succinct and beautiful to gritty and authentic. They live each day with such…determination! Such drive for excellence. I see it everyday in my clients–these people devoted to serving their readers, to honoring God in their work and lives. I see it in the agents I work with in our agency. Steve, Tamela, and Dan are not just talented professionals, they are committed to living, speaking, and serving as Christ leads. I’m honored to be a part of this amazing team.
I traveled more in 2013 than I’ve done in years. Twelve trips in all! I got to take part in writers’ conferences and industry conventions, to lead workshops and women’s retreats, to brainstorm and be blessed. From Canada to California, from Indianapolis to Idaho, from Washington State to Oklahoma City to Michigan, I’ve met and talked with people who are passionate about words and God. As they—you!–shared the ups and downs of 2013, I saw more courage, more reliance on God, more grace than ever before. I’ve been humbled and inspired. You, all of you, make this publishing gig a gift. Thank you.
The projects. Be it a novel that captures and transports me, a humorous book that leaves me aching from laughter, a nonfiction book that sparks a realization that changes my thinking…whatever the kind of book I work with, I’m constantly amazed at the ways God speaks in our words and messages. He created the world with a Word. How kind of Him to invite us to join Him in that creative process with our own words.
The purpose. It’s no secret: the world continues to grow increasingly hostile toward God and His truth (as evidenced by December’s Duck Dynasty dust-up—sheesh!) . Over and over again this last year–as industry changes pulled the rug out from under so many, as publishing imprints were dissolved and contracts cancelled, as doors closed and new opportunities opened–I saw and heard people in the industry reminding each other that our purpose is more than just writing and selling books. We’re bringing people more than just words on a page. We’re bringing them the living Word. We’re sharing encouragement, hope, and TRUTH. When we continually submit our painstakingly crafted sentences to God; when we trust that HE is in control of not just our careers, but our lives; when we remember that none of what we’ve faced has come as a surprise to Him—the results are amazing. We can face each day in the sure knowledge that we’re doing what He’s asked us to do. And whether our books change the world or one aching and weary heart, it’s worth it. Every moment of struggle, work, and vulnerability is worthwhile. Because we’re serving Him.
Yes, 2013 held it’s challenges—what year doesn’t? But it also overflowed with moments of true joy and celebration. With constant reminders that we aren’t on this journey alone.–that the God of all creation, The WORD, is with us. And just as He held 2013 in His hands, he’s got this new year covered as well. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for all of us. Whatever that is, you can be sure it will serve to refine us, to make us into clearer reflections of Him. And my friends…
You can’t ask for better than that.
Have a truly blessed 2014.