Stories that Matter

The Birth of A Book, Some Reality Checks, And A Really Pretty Picture

So you wrote a book. And it’s pretty darn good, if you do say so yourself. You spend a bit of time spit polishing it up, but overall, this baby is THE ONE. You just know it. You send it off to your agent, he or she loves it, they immediately rush it off to the publisher of your dreams, and they love it too and BAM! Your book is born!!

Well. Yeah.

(Reality Check #1 – Your life isn’t a Nicholas Sparks novel).

That’s a nice little dream, isn’t it? I don’t know what the exact stats are, but I suspect this happy story of immediate gratification only happens to less than 0.5% of authors.

I was not one of them.

As you may know, if you’ve been reading this blog or follow me on Facebook, I’m slightly giddy-over-the-moon-stupidly-excited about the release of my upcoming novel, The Things We Knew, coming to you July 12th, from TNZ Fiction (Harper Collins Christian Publishing) – that’s 77 days from today, but who’s counting? 🙂

And it didn’t happen overnight. Didn’t happen in a year. Or even two.

I believe, if old emails can be trusted, that I sent the first final draft (you know, the this-is-the best-book-I-ever-wrote, one) of The Things We Knew to my agent in May 2011. It had a different title back then, and the story was slightly different, but I thought it was all that. Apparently I was wrong. (Reality Check#2 – When you think you’re all that, you ain’t).

Because that was five years ago. FIVE. Yes, you read that right. It was a good story, but it wasn’t hitting all the right notes. So, with my wonderful agent’s help and guidance, we did some more work. (Reality Check#3 – Writing = WORK. Lots and lots of work).

What followed were several edited versions of my beloved story, and then a handful of rejections – a few encouraging, but the ‘not quite what we’re looking for’ ones.

(Reality Check#4 – You WILL get rejected. Probably more than once. Get over it).

Then, after a few more rejections, we decided to go with a professional edit in 2013, (which I highly recommend by the way, before you submit that baby!), and we started the submission process all over again, and  then finally . . . FINALLY . . . the offer from Harper Collins Christian Publishing  (my dream publisher!) in 2015. Several titles, versions, and a whole lot of angst later, a book is born.

Was it worth the work and the waiting?

You bet.

(Reality Check#5 – sometimes investments pay off, if you hang in there).

So I’m not telling you any of this to discourage you, just to say, you know, this book thing, it’s not easy. Not by a long shot. Any idiot can write a book. But . . . perhaps well, that’s a post for another day. Or not. (Let’s just go with just because you can, doesn’t mean you should and leave it at that).

I guess what I really want you to come away with is this – IF this is your dream, don’t give up. If you know you’re called to do this thing, do it. The book you love may not be the first book you publish. I published three other books while I was working on this one, and wrote 2 more. Keep busy. But keep the dream alive. Do whatever it takes to make it happen, and don’t listen to negative people.

My journey has been long and rather complicated, and if you’re not familiar with it, you can get the gist here. Much as I wanted to give up, I didn’t. And I kept my goal in sight, kept working, and praying and listening, and trusting. Hard, hard stuff when things aren’t working out the way you hoped. I know.

And sometimes things don’t work out the way you want. I know that too. But I also know that if you’re in that place, God has something better for you. Really. As trite as that may sound when you’re down there, it has been my experience time and again. So please, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

So back to my story – and it’s happy ending – needless to say I’m so grateful that I didn’t give up my dream of working with a publisher I’d long admired and hoped to call my own some day. I’m beyond grateful for family, friends and an agent who believed in me 100% and kept telling me this would happen. And I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this story. Because now? Well, it’s a real book.

And it looks like this . . .

TheThingsWeKnew (1)-1

If that’s not the prettiest thing I ever did see . . .


Hard to believe that this baby will be out in the world in July! Oh, and if you really can’t wait for July, and you’re a NetGalley user, it’s available to download on their website. (And early reviews are appreciated! 🙂 ).

Well, that’s my Monday happy for you beautiful people.

Moral of the story – Don’t Give Up. Ever.

Because you just never know.




  1. kathyscottage on April 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Your book cover caught my eye. I love lighthouses!!! 🙂 I look forward to reading your book!

    • Cathy West on April 25, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Awesome! Please let me know if you do! Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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