Platform, Publishing, Querying

Seven Practices for Writers Pursuing Publication

The pitching process can sometimes seem like a never-ending battle. Have you ever felt this way? I have. But when discouragement attempts to win, I go back to God’s Word over and over. Are you seeking confidence and direction in your writing career? I encourage you to consider these Scripture passages and seven practices for writers pursuing publication.

Read the original article on the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog

1. Meditate on Scripture

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8-9).

It’s tempting to skip this step and dive right into our writing. Our minds are full of ideas begging to be written. Yet, communing with God is a critical practice for Christian authors. We cannot bear fruit unless we remain in Jesus. He is the vine, and we are the branches. If we remain in Him and He in us, we will bear much fruit; apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:4-5). In order for us to communicate God’s words of love and healing, we must first nourish our own souls.

2. Ask for Direction

From newbie authors to bestselling writers, Jesus teaches all of us to continually pray to the Father, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Ask God if it is His will for you to pursue publication. Then, look for confirmations—a compliment from a professional, winning a contest, or positive feedback from your critique group.

We envision what will fulfill us. But God may have something better planned which may look very different or not include publishing at all. He promises that if we take delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). God dreams bigger. He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). 

3. Prepare Your Writing

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

Your job is to prepare the horses, so to speak—write your manuscript or piece, get professional critiques, then rewrite. Then rewrite some more. Continue to grow and become a better writer. Read. Attend conferences. Do your homework researching agents and publishers who are looking for similar projects. Work diligently on query letters and proposals. Pray about which agents or editors to approach. Then, send out your writing.

4. Petition for Protection and Success

I’ve noticed a pattern. When I begin to build momentum in my writing and ministry, I feel attacked by the enemy. Usually, it comes as a severe illness of a close family member. Recently, as I was preparing to attend a conference, it took the form of a serious accident in our business. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Then, boldly petition in the Spirit for God’s favor to be upon you and establish the work of your hands (Psalm 90:17). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  Doors may begin to swing wide open without you trying to budge the wrong ones.

5. Watch God Work 

Sending out query emails, submitting proposals, and pitching in person can be intimidating and stressful. But this process is not yours. The querying battle belongs to the Lord. Take up your position; stand firm, and see what God is going to do. And do not be discouraged (2 Chronicles 20:15-17).

Remember, this is just as much a spiritual battle as it is a mental, emotional, and physical marathon. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Trust in His timing, because it’s perfect. Wait. Wait for it. Then watch what amazing things God’s going to do.

6. Link Arms with Others

Don’t stand on the battle line watching alone. Link arms with other Christian authors. Join online Christian writers’ groups, connect on social media, or attend conferences and form relationships. Support and pray for one another. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

7. Worship with Thanksgiving

Months, years, decades—regardless of how long you’ve been pursuing publication, worship in thanksgiving for all that God has done and is going to do. Do not retreat or hide. And whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP unless you receive clear confirmation that God has other plans for your life, ministry, and writing talents. If God has called you to be a writer, you will become even more passionate and determined. Finally, “Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

What practices do you think are important for writers pursuing publication?

All Scripture references are from the New International Version

Kristin Faith Evans, MA, MS, LMSW

Kristin is an award-winning author, a mental health therapist, and a mother of two children with rare genetic disorders and complex needs. Her greatest passion is walking with others on their journeys to deeper faith and mental health wholeness. Kristin has written articles for Key Ministry, The Joyful Life Magazine, Alive NowThe Upper Room, and Different Dream Living. Her short story, “The Rare Gift,” is featured in the Triumph from Tragedy anthology. She lives with her husband, Todd, and their two children in the Nashville, TN area. When she’s not enjoying life with her family, writing, or working with clients, you can find her training for triathlons, reading, or simply being out in nature.

Ministry, Platform, Social Media

Reimagine Building Your Author Platform

Read the original article on the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog

“Your writing’s good. But you need to grow your platform.”

Can you relate? 

I wonder how many authors have abandoned their writing dreams at this stage on their journey to publication.

A few months ago I attended a Christian writers’ conference. As I chatted with other new authors, a theme emerged. Writers reflected on how they had envisioned completing their books, pitching to agents and editors, and securing publishing contracts. Then, one word quashed their expectations. While receiving feedback about their book proposals, they heard the term, “platform.”

The Disillusionment Stage

When I first began my journey to publication, I resented the need to build a following. Engaging on social media stole time away from working on manuscripts and articles. Nevertheless, I faced the reality of how today’s publishing market operates. I accepted the fact that building a large platform is just part of being an author. But the more I obsessed about social media numbers, the more spiritually-drained and discouraged I became. Disillusionment clouded my focus.

Then, I decided to attend the writers’ conference. While reviewing the schedule of workshops, the number of sessions focused on platform, websites, and social media surprised me. Other writers also felt intimidated by this emphasis and overwhelmed by the daunting undertaking of building a following. One conference award winner said she was working on her book proposal but quit when she got to the platform and marketing section.

“Why do we need to build a large platform on social media? And how do you even begin to get ten thousand email addresses?” These questions echoed throughout the dining hall. It can become easy to view this task as an obstacle in the way of our writing and publishing dreams. Have you ever felt this way?

Parables and YouTube

Following the conference, I continued to reflect on the conversations I had with established authors and agents. Their encouragement inspired me to reconsider my perspective on platform. I viewed their websites, blogs, videos, and social media posts and observed how they were utilizing their influence to minister to their audiences. In some ways, their priority seemed to be building a ministry rather than promoting their books. I wondered if their marketing platform had naturally flowed from cultivating their ministry.

What if we were to re-envision building our platforms as ministry rather than just marketing? 

But the emphasis the conference had placed on social media still bugged me. Then, it hit me—in Jesus’ day, traveling from town to town to speak to crowds was the most effective way to share the Gospel. Jesus spoke in parables to make His message relevant to each group of people by considering their culture and how they could best understand His teachings.

In today’s world, building a presence online is one of the most effective ways to share the Gospel. Traveling from town to town can now be accomplished through speaking on a podcast, posting a video, or going live on social media. Clips on Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram have become modern-day equivalents to parables.

The Great Commission and Social Media

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, ESV).

This idea got me thinking about Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. Then, an aha moment struck me. Social media has opened the door to a great deal of the world! We’re now able to reach people in many countries with just one click—even in some countries in which Christian missionaries are persecuted. What an opportunity we have to reach more people through our writing talents.

Once I began approaching platform from the perspective of the Great Commission, I realized that my message is not my message. Through my blog posts and articles, I share my story in the hopes that I will reach my niche audience and communicate God’s love and truth. But I must continually reflect—in sharing my story, am I sharing His story? Am I showing the world Jesus, His truth, and His love every time I click “post?”

I’ve realized that building my platform is not about me. It’s no longer a means to the end of getting published. The priority is getting Jesus’ story out to the world. Since I’ve begun to look at social media’s potential through this lens, I’ve become more passionate about connecting with other hurting people online. My focus has shifted. Even if my books never get published, I’m ministering to others through my writing and fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.

Our Calling As Writers

So authors, do we need to regularly post on social media? I dare say, why wouldn’t we? Now more than any other time in history, God has created the opportunity for us to reach people and fulfill the Great Commission. Social media swings the door wide-open for us to use our gifts and talents of writing to draw others to Him. Must we diligently build our following and email lists? Yes. An author’s platform is an essential component of publishing and marketing (both traditional and self-publication).

Can we view the priority of growing our platforms as ministry? Most certainly! Our first calling as Christian authors and industry professionals is to share Christ with others. Whether it be through our next book, article, poem, or post, Jesus charges us with the mission to share His love and truth with all nations any way we can.

What about you? What’s your vision for using your influence on social media to minister to your audience?

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