When our eldest daughter was learning about various religions in college, she told me that converts to the Greek Orthodox faith must make a lifetime confession. This would mean confessing all of your past sins. Don’t worry — joining our agency does not require a lifetime confession. However, we do need to know about your publishing past.
Poor Sales History
Poor sales of your books in the past can be a challenge. Major publishers always ask for these details because the accounts to whom they sell ask for those details. A poor track record can suggest more of the same with the next book. That is one advantage of a debut author…no sales history. However, when talking to us about your career, this is no time to be coy leave us uncertain about a less than stellar sales history. Instead, let us know so we can strategize how to overcome that obstacle. And if we can’t come up with a good strategy and you have to find a different agent? This is not the worst thing that can happen. Rather, it would be worse for both of us to waste everyone’s time if another agent can come up with the right strategy for your career.
Wish I Had not Written That
What if you have great sales history, but you’re embarrassed by one of your previous works? Perhaps you wrote steamy novels or published a strident political tome before your views changed. Fortunately the Christian community is generally a special place of second chances.
More than once, I have met authors who wrote steamy books in the past, but now want to embark on a career writing for the Christian market. Is this possible?
I believe it is. There are many examples of authors who have done so with great success. However, it is critical that you tell us everything so we can assess how to handle your past books with new editors. We will all have to work together to rebrand you, and that process may take several steps. Once we discuss your new goals, we can be at our most effective for you.
What you do not want to happen is to cover up something you wrote and hope no one finds out. The Internet is a powerful tool and you would be amazed by how much we can discover about you. And be assured that a major publisher is also going to do their due diligence and research an author if they are unfamiliar with them.
Rest assured that we treat your information with with very high level of professional confidentiality. Once you place your trust in us, we will do everything we can to further your career. And besides, as the Scottish proverb says, confession is good for the soul.
Have you written a book or article you wish had never been published?
What have you done to overcome that experience?
Tamela, I’m happy to say that I’m reasonably proud of each of my books that’s seen the light of day. (Note the “reasonably.”) However, I’m very happy that my first four novels are still tucked safely away on my hard drive. When someone asks me if I plan to dust them off and seek publication, I generally read the first chapter, shiver, and close the program.
We all have things we wish we had done differently. But, looking in the rear-view mirror at my own road to publication, I have to admit that God knew what He was doing–as He always does.
Thanks for sharing.
Well, I am rather embarrassed by the poor quality of some short stories I wrote in college, but thankfully, they were never published. 🙂
In all seriousness, I’m thankful that God has given me the patience I need, so far, to not forge ahead of Him. I want to be traditionally published and it seems that everything along my path so far has been leading me that direction. God did that, not me. I didn’t even know I wanted to be a fiction author until about 2 years ago, when I remembered that dream from childhood. Now that I know, I am carefully evaluating anything I post or put out there, via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, and asking myself if I’d be embarrassed about it later.
Still, I love what you said about the Christian market generally being a place of second chances.
I love what you say about the Christian Community as a place for second chances. Funny, I was just reading Jonah today. I have read a number of authors who were once secular romance novelist. Though I’d never read their previous work, so I don’t know how “steamy” it was, I do wonder about THEIR own stories. In some ways it enhances the author’s allure to me. How and Why did they change? What was it that finally spoke to them about Jesus. Still, there are times, after reading a story where the faith was tacked on, I wonder if the genre change was more about business then personal faith journey. Others, I can see the depth of how Grace has impacted who they are.
Thank the Good Lord HE allows second chances. And third, and fourth, etc. He keeps seeking us and drawing us to Him. I’m so very glad He didn’t give up on me!
Cindy R. Wilson
This post resonates with me. Not because I published something in the past I’m not proud of, but because I could have made choices that might have ended in poor sales. I had the opportunity to publish a few novels with a small publishing company, very reputable, but it was right after I became a Christian and I really wasn’t that familiar with the industry or marketing. I can’t say I would or would not have regretted my decision but I believe God took me on a different path that will ultimately be better for my writing career, and might have kept me from making poor sales simply because I didn’t know what I was doing.
Tamela Hancock Murray
Cindy, my daddy has a great saying about this. “Use the information you have at the time to make your decision, and don’t look back.” Your comment leads me to believe you have learned from this decision, and that is truly wise!
Heather Day Gilbert
I love your daddy’s wise saying, Tamela! I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written–it represents who I was at the time (though my rebellious post-Christian college stuff is kinda loathsome to me now). Yes, don’t spend time in regret, just move forward for God!
Love your reply, Heather!
Laurie Alice Eakes
Remember, Francine Rivers started out writing secular fiction. I found one of her old books in a library. Loved it, but … um… Not Christian. she rewrote a couple of her old books for the Christian market. The rest is history.
Me, I want to forget about my early stuff and indeed don’t ahve it because of a computer death without good backup ended their misbegotten lives anyway. the ideas remain in my brain though and may be resurrected in a new skin and redeemed life.
I am embarrassed by all the typos my publisher missed in my book, “The Dragon Forest” however, I don’t think they detract from the story all that much.
But I would like to go back, correct the typos, rewrite some of the chapters, then re-release it as a second edition when the sequel comes out. That would be great!
Will that happen? Probably not, but I am not ashamed of the book. I still stand by the story and think it’s pretty good.
If we’ve ever published anything, there will inevitably be things we’d like to change, including fixing typos, correcting errors, rewording poor conclusions, adding a missed point or removing a misguided point, and so on.
As long as these blunders are not fatal, the key is to forget them and look forward.
There is a parody I wrote in college out there on the web, and I’d just as soon have it gone. I haven’t reread it in years, so I’m not sure how good or bad it is, but it’s very silly. And a handful of other little things from that era when I didn’t think about the importance on anonymity. Nothing truly embarrassing, and nothing career-hurting, but if I could expunge them from the web, I would.