As a follow-up to my recent I Hate It When That Happens blog, I now offer the promised balance to that rant.
1. I love it when I begin reading (with skepticism) a manuscript by an unknown author, only to discover a gem of a book and a very promising writer. Please make my day by being the next author to delight me in such a way.
2. I love it when one of the books I’ve written (or edited) results in a changed life and I find out about it. I was reminded of this two weeks ago when I was at a conference attended by a man who, without knowing who I was or where I worked, told me about a book that had truly changed his life. It was a book I had championed at Harvest House and edited. So very gratifying! I have a few cherished notes from readers of my own books that I feel like should be framed for their positive effect on me as a writer. I can’t think of anything more motivating for a writer than to hear that his or her book has changed a life.
3. I love it when an aspiring author understands that succeeding as a writer isn’t just about writing. It’s about fulfilling one’s destiny; it’s about being part of the family that is Christian publishing. It’s about knowing you’re on a team with fellow writers, editors, and agents; all working for the same thing and all suffering our share of setbacks and advances.
4. I love it when a truly good book gets the notice it deserves. That doesn’t happen often enough.
5. I love it when an out-of-the-box book (often one that few people believed in) becomes a game-changer in our industry. Such books in the past few decades include Love Comes Softly, This Present Darkness, At Home in Mitford, The Shack, and The Harbinger. (I’ll love it even more when a future game-changer is written by Nick Harrison). :-)
6. I love it when someone comes up with a book idea that’s so original and yet so obvious I slap my forehead and shout, “Now why didn’t I think of that?!”
7. I love it when I must heavily edit a manuscript and the author actually likes my changes.
8. I love it when I get a yes from the publishing committee. Sometimes authors don’t understand that a successful book must pass muster with not just an editor, but also with the folks in the sales and marketing departments. They bring an important consideration to the table when they weigh in on the pros and cons of the proposal I’m pitching from their point of view.
9. I love it when an author I’ve had to reject lets me know he or she has just landed a contract with another publisher—one that is obviously a better fit for their book than Harvest House was. I well remember the two times I was present when an author I rejected won an award. I was as excited as they were. Their award, after all, validated my judgment.
10. I love it when, after several rejections, a good author will self-publish his or her book and then get out and promote it. I love it that self-publishing has come as far as it has and that it’s now an open door for anyone brave enough to step through. Quite frankly, there are many advantages to self-publishing. One advantage is the timing. An author can have a self-published book out in a very short time. But the books I take to the publishing committee now won’t be published until 2015. That’s a long time to wait. (Caveat: it’s one thing to believe in your work, but get some feedback from folks who will tell you the truth about your book before you make the self-publishing decision. If your self-published book is poorly written or if you won’t promote it, you will be stacking those boxes of books in your garage or extra bedroom for years to come).
Well, that felt good! No grousing this time. Instead of a rant, this was meant to be a hymn of praise to all that is good and lovely in our industry. And that is much indeed.