What a Pre-Published Author Does

In a few months I will be a published author, a goal I’ve been working on more than four years. I want to share the steps I took to publishing, but first I’ll tell you about the book.

My story, “Jesus in My Pocket?,” is included in the anthology, Jesus Talked to Me Today: True Stories of Children’s Encounters with Angels, Miracles, and God. It’s due for release by Bethany House Publishers in July.

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“Jesus in My Pocket?” tells about when I tricked my little sister into trading her new doll for one of my old ones. I hid Dolly in my school desk so I could play with her when no one was watching, delighted I had found a friend who would always be with me. When a classmate spotted Dolly one day, I knew there’d be trouble. I feared Jesus saw my deception as well, so I slid her into my coat pocket one last time and took her home.

Find out how a child’s world became right again, and true stories of other children’s encounters with the supernatural. Jesus Talked to Me Today is available for preorder at Amazon.com.

Here are the steps I took to becoming a published author

Writing. This can be the hardest part to pull off consistently, so first thing in the morning, I get my heart and mind ready by turning my focus to God, declaring my love for him, thanking him for life, and giving him my concerns. Then I get something to drink and a little breakfast, kiss my husband good-bye, and write.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:2 ESV
  1. Free-write time: Once a week I set aside a couple hours to write without an agenda. Usually, I come up with a page full of thoughts and ideas. Letting my mind wander, I take notes like crazy. The value to me is that it helps me process what otherwise flits and floats around like butterflies in my brain.
  2. Heavy-duty write time: This is when I’m serious about working toward a goal or deadline. Sometimes I use a timer to make sure I take breaks now and again.
  3. My blog. Oh my, this may be the most important point! I’ve been blogging since 2007, but I’ve only been committed to posting every week for the last last three years or so. This has been a tremendous boost to my writing as I’ve practiced creating new content every week and meeting a deadline. Now anyone interested in me can see samples of what I do and learn about who I am.

Serving. Being mindful of other people helps me fulfill God’s command to love my neighbor, and brings a lot of joy with it. It also helps me improve my communication skills, making me a better writer.

  1. Watching people at writers conferences, looking for opportunities to be helpful, is a favorite activity of mine. Sometimes I move chairs, pass out pens, fetch a drink, introduce a newcomer, or assist staff. And most everyone appreciates a kind word.
  2. Serving can lead to surprise encounters with amazing people, like at the conference where I’d waited till everyone was seated for lunch before I chose an empty table in the back. Most the other tables were staffed by at least one author, agent, or editor in order to promote conversation and potential business relationships, but I’d had a turn at previous meals and wanted others to have a chance. Moments later I was joined by a best-selling author, the keynote speaker, and a couple workshop leaders. The last seat to be taken, right next to me, was filled by one of the most successful Christian fiction authors of all time, Frank Peretti. I’d never taken part in such a lively and entertaining conversation.

Talking. I haven’t liked speaking up, but I’m growing fonder of it with practice. In public places I try to reach outside my comfort zone and start conversations with people who are not like me and may not easily understand me. I’ve never regretted trying, and I’ve made some wonderful friends in the process of learning to be a better communicator. One of my contacts kindly introduced me to my current publisher.

For the past two years I’ve been privileged to serve as Media Assistant for Oregon Christian Writers, and whenever I’m at a conference I connect with industry professionals who might become interested in working with me in the future. This can be scary, but important nonetheless.

Reading. Having a small group of writer friends to critique my writing has been invaluable. They are the other half of the conversation, letting me know how my words hit a reader’s ears. Their help increases my confidence and prepares me for talking with potentially more intimidating people.

Searching. I keep a copy of a current Christian Writers Market Guide, by Jerry B. Jenkins, on my desk so I can find more opportunities for publication. It’s better to meet representatives face-to-face, but when that’s not possible, this guide is a great resource.

With the market guide’s help and the contacts I’ve made, I have become acquainted with publishers of devotional books. Two devotionals I wrote will be in print next winter. Another editor is working with me on a writing contest entry I submitted last year.

This was a terribly long blog post, so instead of the usual writers mantra, #keepwriting, I’m going to close with #timeforabreak !

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

By Kathy Sheldon Davis

Kathy Sheldon Davis, contributing author of Jesus Talked to Me Today and a finalist for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award, lives with her husband, Jerry, in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley. Kathy enjoys mentoring and editing for writers, making strangers into friends, and celebrating holidays with her extended family. She has written for the Warner Press quarterly, Pathways—Moments with God, since 2016 and posts free devotionals on her blog at kathysheldondavis.com .

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