A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, Perseverance, tips, writing 4 Comments

By Michael Jack Webb

Okay, it’s not really “funny.”

I began brainstorming about becoming an author in my mother’s womb. As a child, I loved to make up and tell fanciful, exciting stories, or act them out. A couple of the kids I grew up with formed a neighborhood drama company, and we put on plays. The first one was about kings and queens and dragons and mythical characters.  I wrote the stories. Later, I switched to poetry in high school and college, hoping to catch the ear of a fair maiden, then tried my hand at short stories.

I soon realized the stories I wanted to tell wouldn’t fit into either of those molds.

I started thinking about writing novels in my late twenties but didn’t begin working at the craft until 1984. I spent the next six years researching and writing a novel longer than Moby Dick, War and Peace, or Atlas Shrugged. When I finished, I sent it off to an agent and received an eight page, single-spaced, typed rejection letter. I had to pay this NY Agent a fee to read the darn thing, so the rejection letter cost me a little less than $100/page. That attempt at “The Great American Novel” eventually became a trilogy. The first two books were published as paperbacks in the early ‘90’s by a traditional Christian publisher. Then, my editor left the publishing house. The new editor wasn’t a fan of trilogies. Or my work. So, I got one of those “don’t call us, we’ll call you letters.”

My novel went into the writers “black hole” for twenty years.

I kept writing–and getting rejection letters.

Then, in August 2011 I entered a contest sponsored by Risen Books, submitting a novel I’d written in 1999. Much to my surprise, it won. The Oldest Enemy was published in October 2012! I’d worked hard for years trying to get agents and publishers interested in the fast-paced supernatural thriller.

Suddenly, I’d found a way out of the black hole!

Then, Risen Books went out of business shortly after my novel was published.


That’s when it hit me.

Just keep writing. Keep self-publishing. Because I’m writing to glorify God.

If you’re discouraged, don’t be. It’s selfish. Been there. Done that. Have way too many T-shirts. As C.S. Lewis once remarked, “The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self — all your wishes and precautions — to Christ.”

Stay focused on the main thing. Write because you have to. Write because God inspires you to tell stories that need to be shared with a lost and dying world. Write because your inspired words are salt in the Earth. Write because you are passionate about glorifying Him who sits on Heaven’s Throne.

One day the Lord said to me: If you focus on things important to Me, I will focus on things important to you. He was, is, and will forever be faithful to that Word He gave me.

I’ve just released Devil’s Cauldron (The War of Men and Angels Book 2), my sixth Supernatural Conspiracy Thriller and intend to release a new suspense thriller each year. I’m currently researching Light Bringer (The War of Men and Angels Book 3) and writing Ghost Hunter, my eighth Supernatural Conspiracy Thriller.

Just goes to show that persistence and God’s timing are everything!

Oh, by the way, I still have the rejection letter, and no, I didn’t frame it.

Too long—just like my first attempt at a novel!

Persistence and God’s timing are everything! @mjwebbbooks #ACFWBlogs #writetips #writingencouragement #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet

Michael Jack Webb is the author of six novels and one non-fiction book. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a BA degree in History and American  and received his Juris Doctor from the same university. Over the past forty years he has travelled the world in search of adventure.






Comments 4

  1. Michael is an inspiration to me. His love for God and his wife are impeccable. His words deluge you into the story. His research is so in depth. His work belongs on the “big” screen.

  2. These are very encouraging words! Thank you Mr Webb for being so transparent!

    I’m going to forward this to some author friends!

  3. Amen! We write for an audience of One and it’s up to Him how many more read our words.

    And congratulations on your perseverance and success!

    My question is, did the rejection letter help you rewrite your book?

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