Please welcome this weeks guest Lena Nelson Dooley for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
God in My Writing Journey
I can’t really tell all He has done, because it would fill more than a month’s worth of blogs. He has been ever-present in all my writing journey. He’s opened a number of doors that probably wouldn’t have been opened without Him. I’ll mention a few.
Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary Agency, and I met at the first American Christian Fiction Writers conference in a Kansas City hotel. We became friends right away. At the time, I was an established author for a publisher that used a standard contract. An agent couldn’t get anything more for the author, so we just continued as friends for several years. Then she encouraged me when I was ready to move to the next level of publishing, and I signed with her. She is a real gift of God in my life.
Each year, my church produces a devotional book the whole congregation uses the first month of the year. Several years ago, we were going to start building a larger facility. I knew we’d have a miracle offering to facilitate the building. We also learned a lot about the First Fruits offering—giving the first to the Lord.
During my private devotions on a Monday, I felt the Lord asking me to give Him all the money from the first contract of that year. I had to really consider this, because Joyce was shopping a book that would be my first trade-sized book. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to give away that book if it was the first contract signed. But knowing that God opens doors we don’t even know are in front of us, I did covenant with Him for whatever book was contracted first to be my First Fruits offering.
The next day, the editor of my first publishing house contacted me, asking if I could write in six weeks one of the novels I’d proposed to her. Someone who had a book releasing later in the year couldn’t fulfill the contract. The editor needed a book to fill that slot. That was my first contract of the year, so it was the book I gave to the Lord.
Soon after that, I received two contract offers in one day for writing novellas. So I actually signed three contracts within a few days. By the end of the year, I had signed five contracts. The only time that ever happened. Amazing things like this have occurred throughout my career, both with receiving contracts and winning awards.
Don’t misunderstand though. I also received rejections as well. I’ve learned that if I a publisher rejects a proposal, that’s not the publisher God wants to publish the book. I’ve learned things from each rejection that has helped me grow as a writer, so I’m thankful for them. I’ve also learned to lean on the Lord for my direction. Joyce may have to send proposals to several publishers before we find a buyer, but I always see God’s hand in it.
I’ve published a collection of Christmas short stories in ebook format. The title is: 24 Christmases. Included in the ebook is instructions how you can sign up to be on the mailing list to receive the Christmas stories I write and send out each year.
I’ve also published backlist titles as ebooks on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Several of them are Christmas titles.
I will give away one of the Christmas ebook backlist titles, winner’s choice:
The Best Medicine, Charlsey’s Accountant, Christmas Confusion, No Thank You
Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 800,000 books in print. Her book, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, was given the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western literature. The first book in her McKenna’s Daughters series, Maggie’s Journey received the 2012 Selah Award for historical novels, and the second book, Mary’s Blessing, was a 2013 Selah Award finalist. Book three, Catherine’s Pursuit, released this year.
In addition to her writing, Lena mentors other authors and received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award. She is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blogtalk radio show.
Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin, Pinterest, The Bookclub Network, and with her internationally connected blog (http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com ) where she interviews other authors and promotes their books.
Kristena Tunstall says
Lena, I wanted to personally thank you for sharing your encouraging journey with us. I love reading it.
Casey Miller says
Thank you for sharing Lena…I enjoyed reading it this morning!
Carrie Turansky says
Hi Lena and Kristena, it was wonderful to read Lena’s story of her writing journey. Lena, you have been a wonderful encouragement to me! May God continue to bless you and use you to share his love with many readers. Carrie
Lena Nelson Dooley says
Thank you, Carrie.
Ane Mulligan says
Lena, you always bless my heart. But then, you’re a fellow redhead, so why wouldn’t you? Hugs!! 🙂
Cathy Richmond says
Lena, thanks for sharing your story – and your encouragement about rejection letters!
Lena Nelson Dooley says
Ane, yes, we writing redheads seem like magnets that draw together, don’t we? I know I always look for the others at conference.
Cathy, I could paper more than one wall of my office with my rejection letters/emails. But that’s just part of the business. The thing to realize is that it’s not a rejection of you as a person. It just means that publisher didn’t need that particular story or topic at that time.