A song which has meant a great deal to me throughout my writing years, has been "God will make a way, where there seems to be no way." As a writer based in South Africa, I had hung onto those words, reminding myself that publication wasn't my problem, it was God's. As long as I remained faithful and wrote what He wanted me to do, He would guide me each step. This certainly seemed to be coming true. That I'd even been to the conference in America was amazing. The way my book ended up with Revell/Baker's acquistion editor, after I deliberately tried to prevent that happening, was incredible.
A conference: After I returned from the Florida Christian Writers Conference, I shared with excitement the response I had received from Vicki Crumpton of Revell. The family shared my feelings. It all seemed to be a series of God-incidences.
A conversation: A few weeks later, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, my son who designed my shirleycorder.com website, called me on Skype. He had spotted a typo I'd made on another blog, and he wanted to point it out. (Wonderful things, sons!) We got chatting (aka Skyping) and during our conversation, he suddenly announced, "I think it's time you opened a website geared for the cancer journey."
Over the years, we had watched as I posted more and more articles to my website related to cancer. We had agreed that the time would come when I would have to divide the site in two. I was in no hurry, as I knew it would involve more work.
A new domain? Steve went on to say he'd noticed the domain name, riseandsoar.com was available. Now that of course was the working title of the book I had just had at the Florida conference, the book Vicki Crumpton was interested in--Rise and Soar above the Cancer Valley. I pointed out that if Revell did accept the book, they were bound to change the title.
"Then we can change the title of the website," Steve said.
A new website: Now when Steve decides "Now's the time," things tend to happen. And sure enough, within 24 hours, we had a new website almost ready to run. Steve did the technical work while his wife, Hannelie, helped me move all the existing cancer-related articles over onto the newly emerging site. That Tuesday, riseandsoar.com, went live. It's goal? To encourage and inspire those affected by cancer, whether as survivors, patients, or as those who care for them. Even though it would entail a lot of work, I knew the timing was right. It would help to build my platform on the Internet. I intensified my prayer for the book. What a let-down if it was turned down. After all, this was the first publisher to see the proposal. Was it really possible they would agree to go ahead and publish it?
A new proposal: In March, I submitted my official proposal to Revell, via Vicki Crumpton.
Over two months later, on June 30th, she wrote to ask me if it was still available, as she wanted to submit it to the editorial committee. It certainly was. I had made no attempt to try and find another home for the book.
A week later, I again heard from Vicki. The book had been forwarded on to the "full committee".
One more week, and there was another email.The committee liked the proposal. Next step? It was to move on for a costing and management review, which was likely to take some weeks, especially as there were some holidays (vacation days) ahead.
A message? On Sunday, 25th of July, the strangest thing happened. Rob and I attended church as usual, but it seemed every song and hymn spoke about eagles.
The Scripture reading included Isaiah 40:31, They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles." The very verse my book, and my working title, were based on.
As the service continued, my mouth grew dry, my eyes brimmed with tears, and I thought the people in the seats in front of me would be turning round to ask what was wrong with my heart, it was beating so hard. I knew--I just knew--the Lord was telling me: Rise and Soar was about to take off on wings like an eagle.
An answer: Several long days went past, and then on Friday the 30th July, exactly one month from the day the process began, I received that email every author longs for. "I just got the happy news that Rise and Soar has been approved for publication by Revell."
Woohoo! The eagle had taken off.
A Contract? Help! The editor included the terms of the contract, saying if I was happy with them, she would get the contract drawn up asap.
At this point I panicked.
I had read so many warnings about the need for an agent--about never trying to negotiate a contract on my own. I nervously wrote and asked her if I could have a short delay while I tried to find an agent. (What if they changed their mind in the interim?)
Revell would have waited for me, but after a few emails between Vicki and me, I decided to rather send the contract to a "contract evaluator" for legal advice. And so I gave Revell the green light to go ahead and draw up the contract.
I was now moving into totally unexplored territory. How scary. How nerve-wracking. How utterly amazing.
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