By Donna L.H. Smith
I’ve always heard it said, “It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s the same for Christian publishing, too. When I first started writing, I knew very few people, and had few connections. But I continued to learn by attending larger Christian writer’s conferences.
My best connection came from my first ACFW conference in 2014. I met with a literary agent, who even though he eventually turned me down, did so in a nice way.
During that year, I started a state chapter, and had another agent from that agency (who was related to the agent who had turned me down), do a presentation about what agents look for in an author for one of our online meetings.
In the meantime, I was part of another informal writer’s network started by one of my mentors. She asked me to add this one guy to our Facebook group. Who knew the implications of that? I certainly didn’t at the time.
This guy went on to start a comprehensive training and social media building website, and he asked me to be in on the ground floor. He’d already been to my website. This was completely unexpected and “out of the blue.” I didn’t even have to create any new material for this website, just post something I’d already posted on my blog. So I did. It’s been about two years now, and statistics from that website are still growing very strong. I’m amazed.
As if that wasn’t enough. That fall, this young man (he’s a lot younger than I am) was invited to become an agent with the literary agency that turned me down. One other amazing thing happened. My novel, “Meghan’s Choice,” placed in a small, but prestigious writer’s conference in a couple of categories. The relative at the agency asked if they could review my book proposal again. Wow!
I happened to have dinner with her just before our first state chapter conference. She said to me, and I’ll never forget it. “We hated to turn you down last year, but I’ve kept my eye on you.” Another Wow! And it just so happened, that young man was recruited to be an agent with that firm. And he again pursued me and signed me!
All that from one ACFW conference. Even though you’re turned down. You keep going. I’ve wanted to quit so many times. I’ve surrendered my writing to the Lord. It’s in His hands. Oh, the literary agency is going to publish my novel through an Amazon program sometime this year.
You never know what connection will open doors for you. I am still in wonderment when I think of it.
Donna L.H. Smith is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Lancaster County, PA. She writes historical romance and serves as Mid-Atlantic Zone Director. Her novel, “Meghan’s Choice” was a semi-finalist in Operation 1st Novel 2015. It will be published this year through Amazon White Glove.