I’m not sure I’ve ever kept a resolution for three consecutive years. Until now.
This year, two books stood out as all-time-favorite material. And you don’t have to take my word for it. They each have more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon.
But besides reading, I kept track of a few other things that didn’t appear on any list of resolutions.
To be accurate, it took me about three years to write a bunch of coherent pages of a book “idea.” In doing so I’ve discovered the book publishing industry is strikingly similar to the show Shark Tank. In case you haven’t seen it, here is the gist:Enthusiastic entrepreneur-contestants have the opportunity to solicit funds from six venture capitalists—also known as “the sharks.” The contestants create a prototype, make a business plan, summarize it all in a creative way to “pitch” to the sharks. If, the sharks like the person, the product and the potential, they make a deal. They invest loads of money in the business idea in exchange for a stake in the company.
It’s the same in the publishing industry. With the slight difference in vocabulary and the fact that it isn’t televised.
In publishing the writer is the creator-contestant. The prototype is in the form of three sample chapters of a book. The business plan is called a proposal, and the sharks are publishing houses.
On Shark Tank, some of the entrepreneurs have a partner who has helped them develop their product and pitch the idea to interested parties. In publishing, this person is a literary agent, (the agent functions like a real estate agent. You have something to offer, an agent has people in mind who need or want what you’re offering.) Together you make your pitch to the publishers through your proposal.
Publishers, review your sample chapters and business plan to see if you can string together interesting sentences or ideas readers would want. If a publisher wants to invest in you and your book, it’s called a book contract.
At this time last year, I put the finishing touches on my prototype/sample chapters. I wrote a business plan/proposal. Then, after signing with a witty, savvy, and kind literary agent, we made our pitch to the sharks–er… I mean publishers.
We are now at a commercial break, so to speak. We’re standing in front of the sharks, searching their faces (or emails) for interest or enthusiasm, waiting for an offer.
And when I review it all like that, I can see why those things didn’t exactly appear on a list of resolutions. I would have collapsed under the pressure of all I had resolved to do! Finish proposal, write chapters, find agent, submit proposal, pray like mad…hyperventilate.
Yet looking back, those things are exactly what the Lord allowed to happen, one baby step–one sentence, one paragraph, one email, one prayer–at a time.
Has God invited you to do something hard this year? Do you have a dream that seems too big? A goal that seems too distant? Can I encourage you to walk toward it one baby step at a time?
We will likely fail in some respect, but God has not asked us to be “successful.” He has called us to lean on Him and be faithful.
May 2016 find us faithful even in—especially in—the little things, so that God is free to accomplish whatever He pleases in us and through us this year.
The Giver, Lowis Lowry
The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippetts
Good News for Weary Women, Elyse Fitzpatrick
Hinds Feet on High Places (children’s version), Hannah Hurnard
Christ the Lord, Ann Rice
One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp
When I lay My Isaac Down, Carol Kent
For the Love, Jen Hatmaker
On Writing Well, William Zinsser
The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg
Lila, Marilynne Robinson