It Takes A Village to Publish a Book

Tim SullivanI’d like you to meet my friend Tim Sullivan, a cowboy singer/songwriter from Durango, Colorado.

Tim once said something to me that felt so important and generous that, years later, I quoted it in my book.  I sometimes write about how our words can ripple through people’s lives long after we’ve forgotten saying them and Tim did that for me.

I’d written an article for the local newspaper about Tim, who says he’s just a guy who loves to sing and play music. It doesn’t matter if five people show or 5,000 do, Tim is happy to play for them. When the article ran, he said it was one of the best anybody had written about him, and he was grateful. After that, every time I’d see him in town, he would say to me:

“Are you writing? You need to be writing. Whatever else you are doing that’s fine, but just make sure you are writing.”

Today is my 43rd birthday, and the book I wrote three years ago is gathering dust in a drawer. People ask me all the time what’s happening with it, and when I answer I feel like a nine-year old who can’t tie her shoes. I don’t want to admit I need help to get it out of the drawer, but I do. Specifically, I need you to help me grow.

Incredibly, Going to the Sea – A Sassy Liberal Wades in with Jesus made it, unrepresented, into a publishing committee last year, where it was shot down by marketing people who likely said:

Who is the author? Who? Somebody Google her. Nope. Next.

Maybe that should freak me out, but it doesn’t. The proposal got into a publishing committee on its own merit; it died there on mine. That’s not really bad news, because I can work on my Google rank. That’s where you come in.

It feels chancy and self-indulgent to ask your help because I have to be vulnerable and admit how important this is to me. It’s hard to lay your dreams bare for others to examine, but if people love you and/or your work, they will hold you accountable and encourage you like Tim did for me.

 

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So, in my 43rd year, I am going to do everything I know to get that manuscript into print. If I have to rewrite 90% of it, that’s fine, as long as someone will hold my hand in the process.

All I can do is write a little each day and talk to you as I go.

All you can do is share. So, if you like something I post, will you share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?

The rest of it is up to the Lord.

I have agents who are still interested in the book, they’ve just got to know they can sell it. How do they know? How many people already read and like your work? Thousands? Great, let’s do business.

And we can complain about that all day, but if Tim were here I think he’d say, who cares? Just like he is a guy born to sing and play music, I am a gal who was born to write and speak about Jesus. He’s the reason I can do it at all anyway.

So if you want to join my little team, here are three things you can do right now.

Follow Erin Kirk Writer on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Keep reading and sharing.

Thank you friends.


Your Opinion Please.

IMG_2476If you’re much of a reader, you know back cover copy is often what prompts a book purchase.

Do you know who writes that copy? The author does, or at least takes a crack at it, and it’s torture….

In 300 words or less, explain your 60,000 word manuscript. Exhibit all your marketing savvy but don’t be cheesy – be compelling, clever and original.

So here’s the shot I took in the proposal I’m sending out this week for Going to the Sea: A Sassy Liberal Wades in with Jesus. Since you’re my tribe, I want your opinion.

Would you pick it up? Comments welcomed and appreciated.

When outspoken, West Coast, liberal feminist Erin Kirk quit corporate America and moved to Texas to farm organic vegetables and beef cattle, she thought she had it all figured out.

But Texas ripped away her Whole Foods-hip exterior like an old house dress, revealing decades of loneliness, anxiety and fear. Desperate, Kirk looked for a remedy in the one place Liberals in America supposedly never look: The Bible.

Thus began a fiery, yearlong experiment.

Rather than shouting, “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE” every day into dust devils of bone-colored sand, Kirk read The Bible – the whole thing – and attempted to do as it says.

Irate at the church but weary of freewheeling theology, Kirk excused everyone from the discussion and gave The Bible one year to convince her the transformative power of God is available to anyone who will seek it. She asks:

  • Must I be a pious, well coiffed, sweetie pie to follow Jesus? Or can I just be myself?
  • Am I short-changing my life, just to avoid obeying God?
  • Why bother with Jesus in a culture that often doesn’t, or worse, pretends to?
  • Is there value in…gulp…submitting to my husband?
  • Can God tame my smart mouth and the angry voice in my head?

With rangy, open prose rooted in her wild and willful past, and a journalist’s eye for detail, Kirk drifts from Northern California, through the Colorado Rockies to conservative West Texas, landing firmly on both sides of America’s religious culture wars.

 Speaking gently to those outside the church gates, and boldly to those within them, Kirk explains with kindness and heart why Jesus still matters.

 

God Needs Your Art.

IMG_2321Slipping off to adult summer camp for a week is one huge benefit of being a Christian. I came home yesterday from the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference, brimming with the joy of the Lord and holding the business cards of three agents and four publishers who asked to see my book.

I had a large time.

Mt. Hermon is a 107 year-old Christian conference center, nestled among the Redwood trees, high in California’s Santa Cruz mountains. It’s a place bent on reminding weary adults how alive and organic Jesus was when we were kids. Just breathing under those giant centurions robed in red bark is a relief I didn’t know I needed, like stepping off a crowded street into a store playing Bach.

At Mt. Hermon, Jesus is taken seriously in the best way possible.

In between pitching our stories to agents and editors, we gathered to sing and pray, remembering that while we are all building writing careers, Jesus is the foundation.

At Mt Hermon it doesn’t sound weird when strangers stop you and say: “You know you’re glowing right? The spirit of the Lord is all over you.”

Nor is it strange when someone promises to pray for you, but then rethinks it, sets down her coffee and does it on the spot, praying a rangy, open-sky prayer that echoes something you were thinking five minutes before.

At Mt. Hermon creativity is treated like the gift it is. At each gathering, the person known to be the funniest delivers announcements while some marketing-department creative explodes with a little audience-participation stage art.

IMG_2331I’ve wandered through a lot of wilderness since I decided to follow Jesus, but at Mount Hermon, I finally found the meadow I was looking for. I was perfectly myself there and perfectly peaceful at the same time. This is no small thing.

The good news is: God is no respecter of persons, so you can do it too.

All the creative energy relegated to your daydreams is there for a reason. Use it. Or as key-note speaker McNair Wilson said:

“What if you really are as magnificent as God made you to be? If you don’t do you, you doesn’t get done and God’s creation is incomplete.”

Jesus is the foundation for everything I want to build, but that wasn’t always the case. I built many high-maintenance structures without him, but they were shifty and eventually crumbled. What I’m doing now satisfies me in ways I can’t explain without crediting Jesus. He is the reason I write.

So, what are you born to do? What daydreams are trapped by your cubicle? Need some practical tools for freeing them? Mt. Hermon gave me a bunch, I’ll share next week.