Two years ago, I opened the first post of this blog with the statement,
I am waiting.
I had finished the first draft of GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE and was waiting for “an agent, a publisher, and an audience who know my name.”
More than that, I was waiting on one whose name is above all names, in the light of whose story all other stories pale. I was waiting not only for His light to guide the refining of the stories I strive to tell and to open to readers the possibility of more than they’d hoped to find between the pages of my story, but for Him to lead my story to an agent or editor who would fall in love with GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE.
I felt a quiet grace in waiting, and so I waited. I revised. I waited. I revised. I waited.
Earlier this year, I noticed that the manuscript wishlists of a couple editors from a small Christian press described my story well, but still I waited. (Because, as I have come to accept about myself, I can be… slow… to… warm… up… to new ideas, and it hadn’t really occurred to me to pursue the small press route). Then, in April, I participated in a Twitter Pitch Party, and lo and behold, three editors from the above-mentioned press requested my query and sample pages. This time, I didn’t wait long, but sent the requested materials that evening. A request for my full manuscript came soon after, and at the end of June, an offer of publication.
I waited again… to notify other agents and publishers who had my manuscript, to read the contract, to have a published author and a lawyer read the contract, to ask questions… though by the time I got around to asking questions, it was all I could do not to sign the contract. Everything was in order, and when everything is in order, waiting seems more tedious than grace-filled.
On July 1, 2014, the very day Anaiah Press launched, I signed on with their YA Surge Imprint. In one of the many emails that passed between myself and the Anaiah team in the following week, an editor mentioned that several of them had fallen in love with GRIT. Because names are so much a party of my story, I looked up the meaning of Anaiah.
I don’t want to get all sappy-Susie on you all, but there is satisfaction in that name which says so much, and it seems fitting to end one phase of the journey to publication and begin another with a publisher that makes this simple statement: God answered. At the risk of overdramatizing the path to publication, the words of Psalm 40:1 have been on my mind since signing with Anaiah: I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. I can’t claim to have always waited patiently, nor do I mean to suggest that I just sat around waiting for a publisher to find me. It was work, folks. Blood, sweat, and tears work. (Tears, anyway). But I can say, “God answered,” and he answered with a wonderfully supportive team of editors and fellow authors.
I thank God for this time of waiting and refining my manuscript and self, and I thank Laura, Eden, Kara, and the entire Anaiah Press family for believing in the story and committing to helping GRIT fly on her own.
Now, if we can just wait for March 2015…