Sunday Devotional

Proverbs 30:18-19
There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.

Are romance novels wrong for Christians to read? Are romantic songs wrong for Christians to listen to? Since God is love, I’m of the humble opinion, that He might be okay with a good many of them. This is my husband’s birthday present to me. Nowhere does he mention the name of Christ, but can you hear God’s heart beating inside his chest as he sings it?

A Taste of 11 Secrets: Honest Answers about Editors

This is an excerpt from my latest publishing endeavor, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published. The ebook is only $2.99 and contains over 60,000 words of everything I know about writing and publishing. You can order it in any e-format you like. Find details about 11 Secrets here. 
This excerpt comes from Secret # 8: Understand the Key Players. I pray it lights a fire under you! 

Editors: how to know them
Here are some questions I commonly get asked about editors and publishing.

How do you approach a new editor for the first time? E-mail? Cover letter? Send clips? What?

I usually try to make the most of my conferences by meeting as many editors as I can—both in magazines and books. I bring high quality chocolate and hand it out. This hearkens back to the adage of doing unto others as you would have others do to you. If I’ve had a memorable conversation, meaning the editor has asked for a manuscript or seem to be interested in what I’ve pitched, I’ll write a hand-written thank you note before I follow up with a query letter or proposal.

If it’s a cold call, I’ll write a professional query letter, listing the articles and books I’ve published. I almost always query by email, but I’m sure to keep it professional. Just because my follow up involves email doesn’t mean it should be lax or casual communication.

What if you send a manuscript and don’t hear for a long period of time? How long is too long? When and how do you follow up?
I would give it at least four months. After that time, drop a quick email that’s friendly and inquiring. “I’ve not heard from you and wanted to check on the status of my proposal.” If you don’t hear back after 8 months, consider your proposal as free game and resubmit elsewhere, but let the editor know.
If an editor rejects a manuscript with a form rejection, is it okay to ask them to explain why?
No. I wouldn’t do that. Editors are very, very busy. They have a form for a reason because they simply can’t write handwritten, personal responses. Chalk it up as a no and leave it at that. If you’re truly curious, ask your critique group why it might have been rejected, or hire a professional to give you pointers.
If an editor rejects a manuscript with suggestions for improving it, is it OK to make those corrections and resubmit it?
Only if the editor says this is okay. If an editor says no and is kind enough to give suggestions, use that as an impetus to improve the proposal. I would not resubmit unless they specifically asked you to.

Is it ever okay to send a manuscript back to the same publication if you have revised it and enough time has passed?

In my opinion, no. Once the book has been passed over, it’s been passed over. An editor will most likely not be happy to have the same (albeit reworked) proposal again. However, I will say that if a house has changed editors, you may consider resending, 

Another thing to consider. My first novel was rejected by a house within a few months. A year later, an editor remembered it, read it again, and acquired it.

Are there ways to follow-up with editors you have met at a conference?
As I mentioned earlier, a nice hand-written thank you note is appropriate.

At what point do you start calling editors by their first name?

I’ve always done that, but that’s because I usually meet editors at conferences, which goes to show just how important conferences are.


Author Update ~ Gayle Roper ~ Revisited

The three P’s –

perseverance, preparation, and prayer…

Gayle Roper is the award winning author of more than forty books. She has been a Christy finalist three times for her novels Spring Rain, Summer Shadows, and Winter Winds.

Gayle enjoys speaking at women’s events across the nation and loves sharing the powerful truths of Scripture with humor and practicality.

Gayle is married to to Chuck Roper and has been “for more years than seems possible!”. Gayle and Chuck live in southeastern Pennsylvania where they enjoy their family of two great sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, and the world’s five most wonderful grandchildren.

When she’s not writing, or teaching at conferences, Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and eating out every time she can talk Chuck into it.

I know you’ll credit God with your long career in Christian publishing…but….what do you believe are key characteristics to develop to stick around for the long haul?

The three P’s – perseverance, preparation, and prayer.

Perseverance is necessary because it is the long haul, and it isn’t a straight path. In the more than forty years I’ve been involved in Christian publishing, I’ve had thirteen different publishers depending on the topic, genre and what was selling at the time. Before Christian fiction became such a powerhouse, I wrote nonfiction and children’s fiction. All that time I considered mysel f a novelist, but novels were still a hard sell. So I persevered.

And I became involved in Christian writers conferences. First I just attended. Then I became a volunteer. Then staff. Then a teacher. It was through conferences that I both prepared and persevered. After I sold seven books, I had a five year fallow period where I couldn’t place anything. It was writers conferences that kept me going. And I couldn’t think of anything else I’d like to do.

Of course I’ve prayed hard through the years. And I’ll tell you, my main prayer has been, “Lord, do whatever you want to do with this manuscript. I’d love it to be a best seller, but that’s Your choice. Do as You will.” For me, an achiever, this prayer is gut-wrenching, but as a Christian, I didn’t know how else I could pray.

Do you still struggle in an area of writing? You teach, you publish, but is there one area that really is challenging for you?

The biggest area of challenge to me is sales–or lack of numbers I’m happy with. I’ve won numerous awards for my stuff including a RITA, two Carol Awards, and I’ve finaled for a Christy three times. But my sales numbers have never been what I want. I think this is the story of most writers, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. It’s my dismal numbers that make that “Do what You want” prayer so hard to pray. But somehow, is spite of this disappointment, I’ve been able to continue publishing. It’s truly a God-thing.

Do you have an area that used to trip you up that you have finally conquered? What is it and how did you wrestle it into submission?

I hate self-promotion. As the industry has changed through the years, authors are expected to do more and more of their own promotion. The thought of it makes me shudder. I’m sure I drive my publishers nuts. I’ve a new title just releasing, SHADOWS ON THE SAND, and I’ve tried a couple of new avenues of promoting the book. We’ll see if they make a difference. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew what it was that made a book catch on? Then we’d have a plan that, while painful to writers like me, would at least work.

If you didn’t put the effort and heart and soul into your writing, where would you invest it?

Do you know, I don’t know the answer to this question. Back when our sons were getting ready to go to college, my husband and I had several discussions about my going back to teaching school. Regular income and all that, you know. The thought of going back into the classroom made my stomach hurt. I knew I wouldn’t have the emotional energy to teach every day and still write anything much. Not that I don’t like teaching; I love it. I’d just gotten used to teaching at writers conferences where people came on purpose and actually listened to you. He and I both decided I was a writer and teacher of writing through and through, and we needed to honor that calling in spite of the financial cost.

What are the top three things you think newcomers need to know about publishing today? Why?

1. It’s a highly competitive field, so be prepared for the emotional cost of competing.

2. Learn the craft. Study how-to books. Sit under established writers. Read like crazy in the genre you want to write, both general market and Christian. Listen to audio books of good writers to hear things like rhythms and tone. Never stop learning how to write better.

3. Take the time to do it right. Anyone can slap up something as an ebook, but is it worthy of your name? How embarrassing to have to send out corrected versions because you jumped the gun. How sad to blow your chance by showing an editor or agent a book that’s not ready.