About Lucille Zimmerman

Lucille published a book about self-care with Abingdon Press. She and her husband are celebrating 27 years of marriage and are experiencing the "empty nest." She has a private counseling practice in Littleton, Colorado and teaches psychology courses at Colorado Christian University. On a typical day you will find her walking her dog Chipotle, reading, writing, and seeing clients. She loves good coffee, belly-laughter, fly-fishing, and Honey Nut Cheerios. www.LucilleZimmerman.com Twitter: LucilleZ

What Olympians Can Teach Us about Getting Published

Recently I read an article about the cost of becoming an Olympic athlete. It mentioned that former U.S. speed skater Eric Flaim, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, estimated that his decade-long training amounted to at least $250,000.

“. . . Like many Olympians, Flaim describes plenty of tough times, when he and his parents faced having to pay for big-ticket items (say, a pair of custom-molded boots for $1,500) or ongoing expenses (private coaching could run up to five grand annually.) To make ends meet, Flaim often worked in gyms, cleaning lockers after patrons departed. Even with a medal around his neck – he won his first at the 1988 winter games in Calgary — life didn’t become particularly easy. Flaim says in his best years as an athlete, he might have earned $75,000 from prizes, honorarium, and sponsorships. ‘It was not million-dollar money,’ he adds.

But at least he made money. Athletes who aren’t seen as strong medal contenders are less likely to receive significant support from their sponsors, let alone their sport’s governing board. And if they’re competing in a less-heralded sport, the problems are compounded . . .

. . . for another Olympian, Rick Hawn, a U.S. judo competitor at the 2004 Olympics in Athens who also tried out for the 2008 games, it all added up to a significant tab during his Olympic career. ‘My parents nearly went bankrupt. They put whatever they could into me and I’m the oldest of six kids.’”

iStock_000001330542XSmallIt takes a very special blend of character traits to become an Olympian. The cost in time, energy, and money rarely makes a return on the investment, so Olympians must have skill, drive, persistence, and a belief that getting to the Olympics is its own reward.

Becoming a published author is a lot like that. Many people have the desire to be published. But it takes more than desire. Over dinner the other night my husband and I talked about the people we know who want to publish a book, but probably never will, because they don’t have the special blend of character traits.

  • The first person we thought of has written many books but has failed to get published. That’s because she doesn’t want to learn the rules. She doesn’t want to attend writers groups or conferences to understand how the industry works so she sits at home writing, hoping someone will come along to publish her work. In order to get a book published you have to know the basics: how to query an agent and how to create a proposal. I spent six months working on the proposal for my book, and it was about 80 pages in length. In your proposal, you have to be able to show editors and agents that you know the competition. You have to describe your platform, and you have to lay out your marketing strategy. Your learn how to do this by investing in conferences, writers groups, and reading books. 
  • The second person we thought about is brilliant. He has wisdom that could really help people. But he doesn’t discipline himself to write. He spends all week at a job and relaxes on the weekend. I don’t blame him. But to get published, you have to discipline yourself to write when you’d rather be relaxing.
  • The third person wants to be published but he doesn’t have the persistence. He has a great idea, writes about it for a few weeks, and then gives up. And since most authors don’t make money at this gig, there has to be a reason bigger than money that would make you spend years trying to get published. Can you envision devoting five to ten years researching and writing about a particular topic?

All writers must have skill, and they must have an important message told in a fresh way.  They must learn and follow the rules of publishing, and they will probably have to persist for years. Lastly, they must believe that getting published—not getting rich—is its own reward.

What other traits do you think are necessary for becoming published? 

Why Asking For Help Is Not A Sign Of Weakness

“Strong people ask for help.” As a counselor, I often teach my clients this mantra.

Person under crumpled pile of papers with hand holding a help siSo when I found myself discouraged last week, I sent an email to another WordServe author, asking for help.

An hour later we were talking on the phone. She reaffirmed how much she liked my book, she told me she would commit to praying, and she gave me a handful of marketing ideas.

That short phone call changed my day in three ways.

  1. I got an emotional release. I even cried a little.
  2. I got encouragement.
  3. I got inspired with new marketing ideas. In fact, I spent six hours the next day working on marketing ideas.

Most authors, by their nature, are Type A personalities. We are self-motivated, hard working, and perfectionist. As we seek to promote our books, it makes sense that we would try to put the best light on ourselves. But have you ever noticed how lonely driven perfectionists really are? If you’ve ever spent time watching Brene Brown’s TED talks, you understand that it’s our vulnerability and imperfections that draw others to us.

All authors need to ask for help. Here’s why:

When you ask for help usually you’ll likely find ways to reciprocate. Authors don’t know all the same people or have the same ideas. During my phone call I was able to connect my author friend with some influential people who will help expand her books’ reach.

Almost everyone loves to help. I think it’s part of the way God wired us. Think about it: if someone trips and falls, we instinctively rush towards the person in order to help. I’m pretty sure the only ones who don’t feel that pull are people who lack the ability to have empathy (sociopaths).

When people help others, they’ll be reminded of their own success. As my friend was giving me marketing ideas, it affirmed all the hard work she had done. She was able to share her success stories and tell me how proud her publisher was. Reliving your successes feels good.

Accepting help can feel like a reward for all the times you helped someone. At all times I am in the process of reading and reviewing two to five books for other authors. I know how hard I work to promote my author friends; it’s nice to be on the other side once in a while.

Asking for help can build bonds. Before last week’s phone call, I only knew the other author by name. Just one more person person from Facebook. But now, I feel like we’ve become friends.

It is actually quite arrogant to think we can help others and yet have no need to accept it in return. Is there something you’re struggling with? Why not take a risk and ask someone for help.

Can you think of a time when someone helped you on your book-publishing journey? 

Why You Should Stop Marketing Your Book

Years ago, I heard a professional speaker tell about a dream she had: She had always wanted to go to Australia. She mentioned the dream in one of her speaking engagements and a couple approached her afterwards.

We’re from Australia. You can go stay in our home, free, for three months while we are traveling.

Immediately the speaker backpedaled. She had thoughts like, “I can’t do that. I can’t afford to miss work. My career would dry up. People would forget about me.”

Night Sydney Opera House with Harbour BridgeBut it was too great an opportunity to pass up. She flew to Australia, enjoyed herself tremendously, and when she returned her business boomed.

Why?

Everyone wanted to know what her trip had been like. Even better, she came back refreshed and motivated to pour herself into her business.

All authors should take time off from marketing their books. Here’s why:

Sometimes Less Is More  – Some of my favorite bloggers are those I rarely hear from. I don’t get tired of their voices because I don’t hear them every day. All of a sudden I’ll see a link to one of their blogs and I’ll think, “Oh, there you are. I’ve missed you.” Once in a while I get sick of my own selfcare mantra and I’m sure others do as well.

We Need New perspectives And Experiences – The brain loves novelty. It lights up at new experiences. That’s why you can visit an ordinary town and everything about it is fun and interesting. As I write this I’m finishing up a long week of clients, social media, and wedding details (my daughter gets married in September). I’m taking next week off to go to Breckenridge with my husband who has a work conference, and after that I’m flying to Nashville for a relaxing weekend with other creative people. Yes, I’ll miss time with clients, and yes, there is a financial cost, but I know the benefit will be greater.

Even God Took Time Off – Author Wayne Muller says, “In the book of Exodus we read, ‘In six days God made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God rested, and was refreshed.’ Here, the word ‘refreshed,’ vaiynafesh, literally means, and God exhaled. The creation of the world was like the life-quickening inhale; the Sabbath is the exhale…without the Sabbath exhale, the life-giving inhale is impossible.” Inhale plus exhale equals life. If God needed refreshment, don’t you think we do, too?

When was the last time you blocked off your calendar for pure enjoyment and no book marketing? 

Being a Published Author Won’t Make Me Happy (And How I know That)

As I finished grad school, I began writing about my experience. I wrote about what I wished I had known earlier in life. I wrote about psychological tools that heal people. In summary, I wrote about pain and what healed that pain. One day, while sitting in a coffee shop, I decided I was going to write a book about all this. So let’s see, it only took eight years to figure out how to find an agent, query an idea, write a proposal, change my idea, change my agent, and finally write the book once it sold. And only eight years of full time engagement in social media, blogging, and marketing. Only eight years of researching and learning through writing and speaker events. That in addition to my real job as a Licensed Professional Counselor and part time professor at a local university.

Getting a book published is difficult.

20130314-_MG_7882So the idea of seeing boxes of books on my front doorstep feels both surreal and monumental. It’s a huge accomplishment that I will celebrate with a party, in a red barn, with twinkly lights. There will be music, friends, food, and revelry. But I know that a published book won’t bring me happiness.

A few days ago I was talking to a friend who has authored over 40 books. I told her I knew that having a published book would not make me happy. She seemed surprised and wanted to know how I knew that ahead of time. I told her I thought it was because I had done so much research on the topic of happiness. I understand what poor judges people are at knowing what will bring them happiness and what won’t.

Striving authors need to know that a published book won’t make them happy. Here’s why:

  • People have a happiness set point. Fifty percent of happiness is genetic, ten percent is based on life circumstances, and forty percent is within our power to effect. For instance, Americans will put themselves in debt for decades thinking a dream home, boat, or car will make them happy. But the new wears off within a few days because of an effect called hedonic adaptation. Most people don’t understand that the lotto winer and the paralyzed person will bounce back to their prior happiness level within a few months of their changed life condition.
  • The joy is in the journey. I’ll never forget what my friend Zeke Pipher said when his book released. In essence, “Whether this book sells or not, it won’t define my worth, happiness, or success.” He went on to describe his faith and his relationship with his wife and children, saying those were the reasons for his joy. Zeke should know. His mom wrote an international best-seller. She soon found that the harried pace of traveling and speaking made her miserable. There’s an interesting research study that found when people were randomly beeped, and told to write down what they were doing and how happy they were, folks were happiest while in the creative state of “flow.” Flow is when you are fully absorbed in an activity, so much so that you lose sense of time. Numerous studies have shown that it is the striving, not the achieving, that makes us happy, especially when our goals are realistic, flexible, valued by the culture, authentic, non-materialistic, and not negatively impacting other parts of our lives.
  • The more we attain, the more we want, and this negates our increased happiness. Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky in her newly released book, The Myths of Happiness, explains that aspirations are misleading. We attain more, so we want more, and the wanting makes us feel bad. Crazy huh? She concludes that we shouldn’t expect less but that we should simply not allow our desires to continue escalating to the point where we end up feeling entitled and convinced that we would only be happy if we got more and more of this or that.
  • Relying on external rather than internal validation makes us unhappy. Some people think they will be happy based on other people’s opinions of their success. But, when we ask ourselves the question, “How good (successful, smart, prosperous, ethical) am I?” the people who rely on an internal rather than external objective standard are happier. There will always be someone wealthier, more attractive, thinner, more popular, and more talented. Therefore, relying on other people’s opinions rather than our own is a recipe for misery. In short, goals which cause growth, make us feel competent, and connect us to others are the ones that make us happy. Goals that make us strive to be rich, famous, popular, or powerful make us unhappy. (I wrote more about this over here at Michael Hyatt’s blog.)

*I orignially wrote this post just before my book released in March 2013. It’s true, having a published book has not made me any happier than I already was. I feel a sense of achievement and gratitude, but I’m glad I knew it wouldn’t make me any happier than I already was.

Think about the last big milestone you achieved.

How long did the happiness last?

A Book Marketing Retreat

On Wednesdays, the authors here at the WSWC blog write about book marketing.

As I prepared to write this post, I thought about the marketing I do every day. I wondered if those activities are unique to me, or if they are common to fellow authors.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a WordServe Water Cooler retreat where we could combine our strengths in an effort to multiply our knowledge? When I close my eyes, I imagine all of us coming together in one place.

We’re in a retreat center, far from distractions, but close enough to nature where we could take breaks in a hot tub, forest, or dining room. I guess what’s coming to my mind is The Hideaway near Monument, between Colorado Springs and Denver. (In my former life, I was a Creative Memories Unit Leader and we had many scrapbooking retreats here.)

So play along, in your mind’s eye: Pull up an Adirondack chair, grab a cool glass of raspberry tea and a lemon scone, and dream with me.

A Stock Photo of Two Red Adirondeack Chairs

At our retreat, each person would be responsible for giving a short talk about the ordinary tasks they do to market their books. Just because an activity is mundane to me doesn’t mean other authors are aware of it, or understand how and why to do it. For example, today I learned Instagram wasn’t just a photo enhancing app. It’s a social media site too. If every author shared their regular activities, we would all benefit.

For instance, each day I check my Google Reader (*Google Reader is ending June 30th, so I’ve switched to Feedly). I have about 60 blogs I subscribe to which feature material related to my brand of selfcare. Feedly compiles all my unread posts in one place. When I have time, I skim the posts. Ninety percent of the time they aren’t worth noting, but occasionally I land on a gem. I email myself the link (because usually I’m downstairs in my pajamas looking from my iPad). I post these on my Facebook and Twitter pages later.

*As an aside, it’s important to be giving your audience material other than you own.

Here are the other daily marketing activities I do:

  • I take a glance at my Google analytics just to see which of my blog posts are getting read and where my hits are coming from.
  • I do a quick search on Twitter under “#selfcare.” I try to re-tweet some of those posts, for the benefit of my followers and as a way to attract new followers.
  • I scroll through my Facebook page and share any posts I think would be helpful to my friends and fans.

Then at our WordServe author retreat, each person would share some of the less ordinary marketing activities they do. These don’t have to be remarkable. Instead, these are the activities you do from time to time, or even once, that might spur the imaginations of the other authors.

For instance:

  • I might post an article or photo to my Pinterest boards. I have boards about my self, my favorite books, counseling, videos, etc.
  • I queried IdeaMensch to do a feature story about me. A year later they let me do a guest blog post and a book giveaway.
  • I did two giveaways on Goodreads. This was a fabulous way to get thousands of readers to at least look at my book and put it on their reading list, while they registered to win a copy. (*In order to take part in the giveaways, your book has to be within six months of its release date and it has to be a paperback.)
  • I submitted blog posts to Michael Hyatt’s blog, which has hundreds of thousands of readers. He let me write a guest post two different times.
  • I volunteered to be a special marketing contributor for The Dr Phil show. Though my own book and brand are a priority, it won’t hurt to have this experience and attention.

If every author shared the regular and irregular activities they do to market their books, we would reap huge benefits.

So, let’s pretend we’re curled up someplace cozy. Whether or not you are a WordServe author, would you share some of your best marketing ideas? 

The Surprising Thing About Book Influencers

My first book is almost a reality. In fact, a box could show up on my doorstep any day.

This stage of the process is humbling because I have to rely on busy people to read and help promote my book. At this point, I reminded myself that I’m not only working to promote myself, but I’m also working for the publisher who put so much faith into my project. That makes it a little easier to do the asking.

Two weeks ago, my publisher’s marketing gal, Cat, asked me make a list of all the media people and influencers who would read and promote my book. Media people? I only know the PR guy at Focus on the Family and a baseball sports announcer.

iStock_000013189752XSmall

Cat said media and influencers can be anyone who has a large audience. That means bloggers, authors, and speakers.  With that being the case, it turns out I know a lot of influencer and media peeps.  So, I collected names and addresses and passed them on to my publisher. Now hard copies are on the way to their doorsteps, too.

So what have I learned that I can share with you? Authors shouldn’t just ask for help from friends. They should ask for help from strangers, and big-time famous people.

Why?

You will be amazed at who says yes (and who says no). When I put out the word, I had some interesting responses: Some of my friends said they were too busy but if I passed along a copy, they’d try to get to it. Another friend hasn’t responded at all. Conversely, famous people I never thought I’d hear back from said, “Sure, I’d be honored.” Others went above and beyond: “You bet, and why don’t you let me put your book in a giveaway at my retreat and I’ll write a special feature about you” or “Hey, I’ll mention you at this event.”

Even strangers can have a powerful impact on your sales. I read a few articles that said if you can find top reviewers from Amazon to read and review your book, it can boost your sales. Finding someone within the top 500 is considered a coup. So yesterday I sent out four inquiries to reviewers who are interested in my genre. Two top-50 reviewers responded, “Sure, send the book.”

Feel free to read the articles about Amazon Top Reviewers here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/RNCWTLEMV71VM

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/09/16/get-amazon-book-reviews/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/16/amazon-top-customer-reviewers_n_878262.html

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/easy-tips-for-getting-more-amazon-reviews-now/

I guess the moral of the story is reach out to everyone, pray for the best, and don’t get hurt or upset when people say no. Lots of people will come out to support you.

If you’re a published author, how did you find people to promote your book? 

A Top Tip for Getting Readers to Your Blog

Most authors realize they have a huge responsibility to market themselves. One way to do this is to create and write a blog. In this post, I’d like to share my best idea for getting your blog posts noticed.

iStock_000020504124XSmallGoogle Analytics helped me see what my most popular blog posts were in 2012. I predicted it might be the post I wrote for Michael Hyatt because he has several hundred thousand readers each month. I did get a lot of views, but not anywhere near the amount my top three posts received.

Here are my top three posts in regard to number of views:

Life Code by Dr. Phil – A book review

The Surprising Happiness Lessons Downton Abbey Teaches Us

Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know and Emotionally Focused Therapy

The mission statement of my blog is to offer help for hurting people. I also like to include  ideas related to physical, emotional, and spiritual selfcare since that is the focus of my soon-to-be-released book.

So what is it my three most popular posts have in common? In addition to offering help, they all deal with topics that are popular in mainstream media. Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world. However, we can use the culture to draw readers to our books and our blogs.

Life Code, written by Dr. Phil, is being published by his son’s publishing seo services company: Bird Street Books. (It is only available through their online bookstore at TheBookNook.com) The book tells you how to deal with users, abusers, and overall “bad guys” we all have in our lives. It also includes 16 tactics for winning in the real world. For the past month Dr. Phil has been featuring various aspects of this book on his daily talk show. So when people search for “Life Code,” my book review shows up.

Downton Abbey is a British period drama that first aired in the fall of 2010. The show depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants around the time of World War I. The series has received critical acclaim from television critics and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries. Now in its third season, Downton Abbey has become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world. I was able to tie my happiness ideas into aspects of the show.

In case you missed it, Gotye’s song, Somebody That I Used to Know, topped the US, UK, and Australian, as well as 23 other national charts, and reached the top 10 in more than 30 countries around the world. The song has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, becoming one the best-selling digital singles of all time. The song is so popular there are several hundred re-mixes on Youtube. The video perfectly characterizes a couple who can’t connect, so I use that to talk about marriage counseling.

The secret to getting a lot of views on your blog is to find something that is a really hot topic and then try to conform your blog message around that topic. I’ve been getting about 200 readers a day, from all over the globe, for my review of Dr. Phil’s book.

Here are some tools for helping you figure out what is popular:

Online article: Ten Tools to Tell You What’s Hot

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-tools-to-tell-whats-hot-today-right-now-even/47886/

Goodreads List of Popular Books

http://www.goodreads.com/book/popular_by_date/2012

Top 100 Songs:

http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts/hot-100

Goodreads Popular Book Lists

http://www.goodreads.com/list/popular_lists

 Most popular shows, celebrities, Movies, Videos

http://www.tvguide.com/top-tv-shows

Thomas Umstattd Jr just posted a really helpful video yesterday: 

12 Secrets of Excellent Blogs

What are some popular topics you’ve noticed lately? 

Ten Thoughts About the Book Endorsement Process

As a first-time author, I had no way of foreseeing each step along the way. If you’re a soon-to-be-published author, I hope some of my experiences will help you know what to expect when the time comes.

One question of particular interest for me was,

What will the endorsement process be like?

Endorsements show up on the back or front cover of your book, as a blurb from a well-known author or celebrity. Here’s what I can tell you now that I’ve moved into this part of having a book published:

  1. You should start making a list of who you would like to endorse your book way ahead of time. Begin collecting email addresses and mailing addresses. Your publisher will most likely want both. They’ll probably prefer sending out a digital copy of your book, but a few of my endorsers specifically requested a hard copy, and the publisher made accommodations for them.
  2. Don’t ask for names of people you admire. That’s not enough. You have to find well-known names that lots of people know and admire.
  3. Make sure the names you are hoping to get as endorsers share something in common with your book. e.g. You probably would not ask a self-help guru to endorse your fiction book.
  4. Consider local and international names. Don’t be afraid to reach big! I was surprised by the people who said yes to my request.
  5. Don’t be surprised if this is the scariest part of your book-publishing journey. There is something very humbling about asking famous people to read your book.
  6. Realize every publisher does things differently. My publisher wanted me to contact the potential endorsers first. Once I had the go ahead from the potential endorser, the book went out from the publisher, along with a letter. The letter contained instructions as well as a deadline.
  7. The most important piece of advice I learned was from Michael Hyatt in his book, Platform. Ask your “sure things” first. These are the one or two people with whom you’ve built a relationship, the ones you feel will most likely offer an endorsement. Once you have a yes from them, you can insert their names in the email to your next potential endorsers. No one wants to be the first to say yes to endorsing, but they’ll probably get excited once they recognize other potential endorsers’ names.
  8. Don’t ask for the endorsement. Ask if they’ll read your book and consider an endorsement.
  9. Don’t get discouraged by the no’s. Trust God knows who should and shouldn’t endorse your book.
  10. Pray for your potential endorsers. Pray they’ll have time in their schedules and that God would bless them for their generosity.

*Below I’ve posted an example of the letter I sent to my potential endorsers:

Hi So and So,

(Explain how you know them or their name)

The reason for this email is that I finally got my book written and it’s about to be published with Abingdon Press.
I’m tippy toeing in here, knowing how busy you are. I am wondering if you would consider reading and potentially endorsing my book?
Here are three people who have already said yes to reading and hopefully endorsing my work:
(List the people along with a short bio or web link) 
My book is about self care and includes all the ideas that helped me when I struggled emotionally while moving toward a degree in a counseling psychology program. I have chapters on the importance of solitude, boundaries, play, psychological counseling, authenticity, etc. My book is based on research but written to the lay person. Even though I researched and reworked it for seven years, it’s a quick easy read. Here is a link: http://www.lucillezimmerman.com/book/
Obviously, if you say yes to reading, you are not committing to an endorsement. I would only want that if you found something redemptive in the book.
Thank you for taking a moment to consider. If you do say yes, I just need your mailing address and the best email to send to my editor.
Warmly,
Lucille Zimmerman

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

Seven years ago, I had so much I wanted to say. I began writing recklessly and randomly, telling my story in various ways.

Five years ago, my agent said people responded to my self-care ideas. My writing found a focus. I made “self-care” the hub.

Then I made a mindmap. Every idea branched off.

I read, I highlighted, I compiled lists and notes. I hoarded quotes and stories. I dreamed, I gazed, I thought, I prayed.

I researched. Not only books but scientific articles too.

Then I gave each chapter a home, inside a file, inside a box. I sorted my quotes, articles, and ideas and tucked them inside those files within the box.

I wrote chapters. I met with critique partners — we sharpened iron. Each new edit was placed into the file. It was a messy hodge podge.

We ate and drank, laughed and cried, and spurred each other on. No one does anything of value alone.

I piled everything into one document and sent it to my agent, who got it sold. A team of editors believed in what I’d written.

The first edit is done. (I love editors!) As of now, I have a title, but I can’t tell anyone until the board approves.

I’m not sure how the book finally gets finished. I don’t know what the cover will look like or when I get to write my acknowledgements, back cover, etc. I have much to learn, but you can be sure I’ll write another post telling you what happens.

Have you written a book? What was your process?

Your Book: Impacting the Final Product

I recently had a conversation with an editor at a medium-sized publishing house. She shared a few horror stories of difficult authors she has worked with over the years. Authors with giant egos and immoveable demands. Authors who argued and insisted they knew what was best.

I was quite stunned to hear this. Then I got sad and then a little mad. Isn’t it presumptuous to think that an author knows more than an entire team of experts at a publishing house?

There will always be times when an author must take control of some of the details of their own books and career. But authors of faith ought to consider a bit more of consistent humility during the publishing process. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The publisher is taking a risk, spending a great deal of money, and they want the book to succeed as much as you. I read one agent’s stats. Of the 2,000 proposals he looked at, he selected 20. Of those 20 selected I’m guessing a publisher bought 10. Publishers pour thousands of dollars into your book, usually more than $20,000 when it’s all said and done. They assign teams to consider titles, covers, fonts, layout, book length, back cover copy, catalogue copy, marketing and ad copy, etc. Your book endures several types of edits. Those of you who are published know it takes at least a solid year to edit, design, print, market and distribute a book, and the publisher is betting on you with the realization that only 10 to 20 percent of books earn back their advance.

2. Editors understand how important your book is. I recently read these comments from an editor:

When an author submits a text to an editor, the author has handed over a sacred object, one that has been countless hours in the construction, and into which the author has poured immeasurable amounts of his or her mind, body, and spirit. The author and everything he or she has put into a text becomes vulnerable to the suggestions, revisions, and deletions of the astute and discriminating editor. The author must trust the editor to do his or her job forthrightly, honestly, and in full awareness of personal biases and areas of intellectual and creative weakness.…. Manuscript in hand, the editor holds an object as precious as a newborn baby, and the posture he or she assumes is that of midwife, responsible for the nurture and health of the ideas to which an author has given birth.

3.  Editors are eager to change the culture together with you. They are for you, not against you. David Zimmerman, editor for InterVarsity Press, shares, 

On a good day I’m a midwife, holding authors’ hands and breathing anxious breaths alongside them, helping them through the arduous and emotionally wrenching work of bringing their gift to publication. I get to be a witness to the evolution of great ideas, to be the sounding board of audacious thoughts, to be the student of great undiscovered teachers. I get to celebrate countless milestones with authors, from the news of their book’s acceptance for publication to the signing of their contract to the registration of their book with the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office, to the book’s first printing, first sale, first review, first reprint. I even get to dole out money to authors, demonstrating the real material value of the thoughts in their heads.

4. God loathes pride. If you are a good writer, and I’m guessing you are if you’ve caught the eye of agents and editors, your gift comes from God. God crafted you with the ability to put words side by side in a way that causes people to think, cry, and laugh. Your gift impacts the world. The only response to that gift is gratitude.

Praying for your agent, editors, design team, publishing house, and readers is a much more productive way to control the outcome of your book. Trust that they want the same result as you.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

(James 4:10)

How has God asked you to demonstrate humility during the publishing process?