I attended the Christian Book Sellers (CBA) convention in 2003. The event was included as part of a Christian Leaders and Speaker Seminar (CLASS) conference for writers who wanted to learn about the publishing industry. The secondary goal of the seminar was to secure an audience with publisher’s acquisition editors. I met my publisher at this event, and a year later, I experienced a milestone in my publishing journey when the UPS man knocked on my door with two cases of my newly minted book.
While I walked the convention floor, looking for the perfect publishing partner, one of my most memorable events was a conversation with a house wife, and mother of a handful of young children that I met on the shuttle bus.
At the end of along day, I stood in front of the Indianapolis RCA Dome, waiting for the bus to our hotel. When the commuter bus arrived, I coaxed my tired feet up the steps, and found a seat toward the back. Across from me was a woman I remembered from the prior year’s Write to Publish writers’ conference in Chicago. She’d won the “New Book of the Year” award at the conference, and I remembered her because of the mental note I made as she went forward to receive her prize. “Someday, I would like to be in her shoes.”
I smiled and introduced myself, and as the bus lurched from stop to stop, we talked about the publishing process. Like most writers I’ve met, she seemed interested in passing along a bit of encouragement. As we talked about the submission process, she asked how many book proposals I’d sent out.
“Oh, eight, maybe ten.”
“Don’t give up.” she smiled. “I submitted the proposal for my first book 63 times. The award I won in Chicago was for my eighth book. Keep if up, you’ll find the right one.”
The crowded bus shuddered to a stop, and she said this was her hotel. As quickly as our conversation started, it came to an end. But nine years later, I haven’t forgotten that God-moment on an Indianapolis commuter bus. Sixty-two failures to get a “Yes” on number 63 could sound discouraging, but I took it as confirmation. I was doing the right things. I was walking a road that other successful writers had blazed before me. I could make it as a writer; it would simply take persistence, patience and perseverance.