Path to Publication

by Dani Pettrey, @DaniPettrey

The path to publication was a long one for me. Seven years from the thought of ‘maybe I’ll write a book’ to the actual contract. I have friends for whom it has been much longer and some for whom it’s been far shorter. I hate those friends. Just joking…sort of 😉

The truth is, everyone’s publishing path is going to be different because we are all different and God’s timing is perfect. For me, that timing was seven years. For others, it is three or ten years.

God’s timing is perfect. He knows you and the life he has created for you, the agent He’s created for you and the editor He’s created for you. For me, I was busy homeschooling my girls while learning the craft and practicing. I got published the year my oldest graduated from high school and my youngest was halfway through. It was a perfect time because while I couldn’t see it, God knew how much time was going to be involved once I signed my first contract, and I couldn’t have done that when my girls were younger. Many can. I couldn’t. Because…

God made each of us unique. Which means that each of us not only writes at a different pace but also learns at a different pace. For some writers, they may knock out a best seller with their first manuscript, while others struggle and wade through manuscript after manuscript. But, here’s the thing, you don’t have to stay stagnant while waiting for the time God has in store for you. He created you with a gift and He wants you to use that gift for His glory, and for you to be a light on a hill. He wants you to shine. Below are three ways to honor God and grow as a writer while awaiting that contract.

  1. Spend time in prayer. Share your publishing hopes and dreams with God and let this be a journey you take together. I recommend a time of prayer each day before you write and keep a writing/prayer journal where you record your thoughts about your writing, how you’re feeling each day, how God met you during that time, and how your conference experiences go. It’s great to look back over previous journals and see the fabulous journey He’s brought you on. 
  2. Get to know people. Attend writing conference, local writing chapters, and spend time networking. It’s great to get to know the agents and editors you might be working with some day ahead of time. It’s great to make connections. If you’re an introvert and the thought of the above terrifies you, join ACFW (which you should do either way), and get involved in an online chapter and on the main email loop. You’d be amazed how much you can soak in there, and who you can meet. For example, I reached out to Colleen Coble via the main loop after she had posted something I wanted to know more about and she was gracious enough to take the time to email off-loop back and forth with me. I ended up getting to know her years before I was published. There are tons of authors on the loop offering their time and wisdom. Take advantage of it. 
  3. Write. I know, this should be obvious, but you’d be surprised. A lot of aspiring authors spend a lot of time attending conferences and workshops, which I greatly encourage, but they don’t practice the habit of regular, consistent writing. Develop that habit now and it will make life so much easier once you are published. In addition, you learn and hone the craft of writing by…surprise, writing. You can’t grow as a writer, even a published one if you don’t write regularly. Make it a habit and watch your writing soar. 

Thanks so much for this time together. It was an honor being on Novel Rocket. I’ve read this blog since it was called Novel Journey when Gina first started it, and it’s been a great inspiration to me. I hope my advice and tips have been helpful to you. But, alas, it’s back to deadline land for me. I’m finishing up the last book in my Chesapeake Valor series, and wrapping up all those final threads can be tricky. Hope you’ll enjoy the series if you haven’t gotten a chance to check it out. Blind Spot launches in just a few months.

I wish you all the very best. Please ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer.




Path to Publication by Dani Pettrey (Click to Tweet)

3 ways to honor God and grow as a writer while awaiting that contract.~ Dani Pettrey (Click to Tweet)

Everyone’s publishing path is going to be different~ Dani Pettrey (Click to Tweet)

FBI agent Declan Grey and crisis counselor Tanner Shaw must race against the clock to stop an imminent terrorist threat that could cost thousands of lives—including theirs.

Called “a new author to watch” by Library Journal after her debut novel, Dani Pettrey has written bestselling romantic suspense that fans have fallen in love with. Each novel layers page-turning suspense with pulse-pounding romance, creating stories that Dee Henderson called “incredibly compelling adventures” and Publishers Weekly praised for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters.”

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Courage series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal described as “a harrowing and thrilling ride.”

From her early years eagerly awaiting the conclusion to a Nancy Drew book, to paging through Agatha Christy novels or on the edge of her seat in adventure movies later in life, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves—full of plot twists and peril, love and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart. She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. For more information about her novels, visit