Here’s an article by my new writer friend Cindy Thomson. Please read it and prayerfully consider how you can help.
It’s tough to get traditionally published today by a large publisher. It’s even tougher to keep publishing. That’s the cold, hard fact I have been faced with. I have been publishing fiction and non-fiction, articles and books, for over ten years now. I have enjoyed my journey, met wonderful editors, literary agents, and fellow authors. I don’t regret the long, sometimes lonely hours writing my heart out (and sometimes banging my head on my desk when inspiration fails me.)
I often talk about my seven years spent in a writing desert, the time between my first novel, Brigid of Ireland, and my second Grace’s Pictures. Historical fiction has always been favorite genre to write and it took seven years from the first publication to the second. That is why when I landed a three-book contract with a large publisher I felt as though I’d emerged from that trial.
But then that cold, hard reality hit. There is a vast sea of books published in the English language every year. So many that mine ended up as a speck on the radar. Why? It’s hard to tell. My covers were great. The response to my books has been overwhelmingly positive. I had wonderful reviews in some of the better known journals. I worked really, really, really hard getting attention. I did radio interviews, tons of guest posts on blogs, sent out a boatload of review copies in addition to the vast number my publisher sent out. I gave away books in contests, did Facebook parties, book signings, talks, and probably a hundred other things I’ve now forgotten. Still, my books did not sell well and the publisher, making a business decision, decided to cancel book three in the series. The cold, hard truth is readers mostly buy books by authors they recognize.
I know I’m not the only the author this has happened to. I have lots of friends who have been dropped from their publishers. Some of them were publishing for years with the same house when their new proposals were rejected. I believe it’s more commonplace now than in years past. But knowing I’m not alone only softened the blow a bit.
HOWEVER, I did not want to throw in the towel. Today authors have more options than ever before. Readers have more say than ever before. I decided that the readers who said they enjoyed my first two books should be able to get the third one despite my publisher’s decision. It’s the wrap up of the series, a promise I felt I made to readers that I should fulfill even if I have to do it on my own.
But there is still reality to deal with. The fact that it’s expensive to publish a book—a book of quality that I would want my name on. Cover design costs money. Editing costs money. And to do it right it takes thousands of dollars. I used to make money freelance writing. I put that aside to work on my series—something that involved far more work than I had realized it would. I was still mentoring with the Christian Writers Guild, but as some of you know, it went under this year. I have one student I’m still mentoring until her course finishes later this year, but that only brings in a tiny, tiny amount each month. I’m working on freelancing articles again, but it takes time to build up. So I decided to ask for help and crowd fund my next book. There is only a week left in the campaign, and I’m so very grateful for those who have supported it. If you’d like to check it out, and read the first two chapters of Sofia’s Tune for free, go to https://pubslush.com/project/5010.
Prayers and rooting me to the finish line are hugely appreciated. If you’d like to keep up with my new adventure, sign up for my newsletter at www.cindyswriting.com.
Cindy Thomson’s newest novel is Annie’s Stories (Tyndale House Publishers, July 2014,) the second in her Ellis Island series. She is also the author of Brigid of Ireland, Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland, and co-author of a baseball hall of famer biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story. She has written numerous magazine articles mostly on Irish genealogy, and blogs at www.cindyswriting.com.
- Have you ever made plans you refused to give up even when it became clear they were not what God wanted for you? What were the consequences?
- Can you pinpoint problems in your life/your family that are a direct result of the sins of your (or your family’s) past?
- As Patience learned, truth and mercy go hand-in-hand to make the way to forgiveness (Proverbs 16:6). Have you ever erred on the side of speaking the truth without mercy? Or on the side of showing mercy to the neglect of the truth? What were the consequences?
- Have you ever wondered, like Patience, if the people you loved were lying to you? How did you react? How should you react?
- Patience is totally impatient and plowed ahead with things when she, at times, shouldn’t. Would you categorize yourself as a patient or impatient person? Think of a time when you acted with impatience. What did your impatience get you? Think of a time when you acted with patience instead. What was the result of your patient attitude?
- Responsibility is a minor theme in the book illustrated through the two dogs in Whitewashed. Compare and contrast Honor’s dachshund Chigger with Poppa’s coon dog Keynes. What do the two dogs show you about their masters’ views on responsibility?
- The biblical story of Esther is interwoven throughout the plot. What does Patience learn from Esther? Compare/contrast the two women.
- The book’s title, Whitewashed, has reference to Jesus’ indictment against the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 when he calls them whitewashed tombs. How does that label play out in the novel?
- Does Patience ever live up to her name? If so, when? When have you had trouble living up to your name (or calling)?
- What do you know about the Underground Railway movement? How would you feel being historical Simon, Peter, Abe, or Sadie? If you are a mother, can you imagine being in Hannah or Eve’s shoes?
- What are the implications of the Underground Railway movement for human trafficking today?
- I implied in Whitewashed that Hannah and Eve poisoned both Simon’s grandfather and uncle because of the way they devoured innocence. Do you think the women were justified in their actions? Why or why not?
- Racism is a sin of our nation, including the church. How can you, as a Christian, repent of that national/church sin? What ways can you root seeds of racism from your own heart?
- Vengeance is a big issue in the book. The Bible states in Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs to the LORD. In what way did the Vengeance character misuse that verse? What in the person’s past led to that behavior?
- Are there sins/crimes a professing Christian would never commit? Consider the Vengeance character.
- In college life today, the emphasis on academics versus athletics is often glaringly unbalanced. Do you think that’s a problem? Why or why not? Why did the Vengeance character have such a problem with it?
- Have you (or anybody you know) ever embraced darkness as Lily Rose did, i.e. struck rose and manacle tattoos, countless piercings, goth makeup, abusive boyfriend, disdain of school, family, church, etc.? Why did Lily Rose behave as she did? How should Christians respond to people like her?
- Have you ever known anyone caught in the agonies of Alzheimer’s? If the person was a Christian, you may have noticed a marked calm when the Bible was read and/or hymns were sung. Why do you think that is?
Here are a few pictures from today’s book launch party for Whitewashed, my new adult suspense novel. Thank you to everyone who helped and to all who attended! Whitewashed is available on Amazon at this link:
The Crosby family has a frightening problem. Is it psychological? Supernatural? Or something entirely unexpected? In 1984, seventeen-year-old Rose and her fiancé discover an injured girl with no memory. The girl, Jordan, is in Rose’s life for a brief time but leaves her world shattered. Twenty-five years later, Rose Crosby’s daughter Ginny can’t understand why her relationship with her mother has fallen apart. Ginny could swear that Rose is terrified of her lately. Then one awful day, Ginny overhears Rose confessing that she truly is terrified of Ginny—because to her, every day Ginny grows more and more and more like Jordan, the girl who’s been dead many years. In fact, she swears that somehow, Ginny is turning into Jordan.
Is Ginny’s mom insane? Is there a ghost in their house, threatening to possess Ginny? Or is the demon in Rose’s past, forcing her to confront what happened on that horrible day in 1984 when Jordan was killed? As a new girl in a small town, Ginny doesn’t have much of a support system. Her old girlfriends from Atlanta have drifted away, and the only friends she’s made are, strangely enough, guys. Alec Matthews is gorgeous, but is he really interested in Ginny’s well-being? And then there’s Max Ferguson, the recently-born-again science nerd. He’s definitely on Ginny’s side, but is he a little too strange? Strengthened by a deepening relationship with one of these two, Ginny undertakes a mind-bending journey of discovery—discovery about faith, eternity, and love beyond the boundaries of space and time. She will put to rest a mystery that has haunted her family for two generations—if she can survive.
Robin Johns Grant published her first novel, Summer’s Winter, in 2014, and her second suspense novel, Jordan’s Shadow, has just been released. Summer’s Winter won a bronze medal in the Romance – Suspense category of the International Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, and Robin was named 2014 Author of the Year by the Georgia Association of College Stores.
Family and friends are happy that Robin’s imagination is finally paying off. She’s always had way too much of it. She started making up stories before she could write them down (dictating them to her mother) and always had her head in the clouds. She was obsessed with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars and did a lot of crazy fan stuff, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie’s story for Summer’s Winter. It’s a romantic suspense novel, but as John Granger (author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures) said, it’s also “a romance-thriller about fandoms…and explores the important intersection of literature, spirituality, and imagination.”
As a Christian, Robin can’t help but explore spirituality in her writing, but wants to do so in a way that reflects the awe and wonder of God and eternity.
With a degree in English, several non-fulfilling jobs under her belt, and a mid-life crisis coming on, Robin returned to school and earned a master’s degree in library and information science. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.
With her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral felines Mini Pearl and Luna, Robin lives in Georgia. She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a pit bull named Pete, who showed up as a starving stray puppy at her mother’s house.
Keep up with Robin at these sites:
Amazon (read about and purchase her books): http://amazon.com/author/robinjohnsgrant
Website and blog: http://robinjohnsgrant.com