Major Milestone: My First Proposal Sent Out

After three years of research and writing, I have finally sent out my first proposal to a literary agent.

I had hoped to do so before now, but I learned many things at last fall’s ACFW conference as well as through two paid critiques of my work by author/editor/publisher extraordinaire Jeff Gerke—and now my manuscript is sharper because of it.

But it took time. Five months of time to fix my manuscript of all the minor things that added up to make it unpublishable. Five months of writing, and rewriting. Five months of my faithful editors cheering me on.

And so now I wait and see what happens. But no matter what, this is ultimately God’s work, and He will do with it what He wants. There are many agents, and many publishers. And sincerely, if my book was written only to pass on to my kids and future grandkids, then it was worth it.

Galatians 1:10 says it this way:

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot

I like to think back to the time in college when I was reading the life-changing story of Jim Elliot: Shadow Of The Almighty.

I was walking through the snow, thinking about the book. And there I saw my footprint. MY footprint. Jim Elliot was in heaven, but I was still here. God could use me, in his own way.

At first I thought God’s call was for me to be a missionary, but that did not work out as I had anticipated. So for the last nineteen years I have worked a day job that I greatly enjoy, given my life to my wife and three children, supported many missionaries, served the church, and reached out to the people God brings across my path.

But I am still here, and I still make footprints in the snow. And maybe, just maybe, God might choose to use what I have written to minister to someone. It is His work done through me, made for His glory, for whomever He wants.

The Merlin Spiral

So even as I send off my proposal with my first fifty pages (with a brand new beginning to my prologue, nonetheless), I turn my attention to doing some final grammar and readability checks on the rest of the manuscript.

As well, I have written the first three scenes of The Merlin Spiral Book 2: BLOOD & DARKNESS. And I am excited about it! This amounts to the entire prologue, and the first scene of chapter 1—and it turned out EXCELLENT.

With my first book, I probably rewrote those first few scenes twenty times. But I am feeling more and more confident as a writer, and I think I nailed it the first time. Wow!

8 thoughts on “Major Milestone: My First Proposal Sent Out

  1. Thanks for posting about the book. It’s good to hear about others on the road to publishing and comiserate. I have recently finished a draft of a novel and it’s a labor of love that can feel like a long, long road. Anyway congrats!

  2. Robert,
    That’s so great your at this exciting stage….
    Clearly you’ve put massive amounts of effort into editing and re-editing. That’s going to count for a lot! A polished manuscript is a must.

    I’m not familiar with many agents, and the agent I have doesn’t do speculative fiction (which makes the fact that she’s my agent a very peculiar and interesting story). But I do know one Christian–if your looking for a Christian agent–who has taken fantasy before. And that’s Terry W. Burns of Hartline Literary Agency. Just thought I’d throw him in as a possibility.

    Keep me posted on how the search goes!

  3. Everyone, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. It really is a turning point.

    Right now the proposal I sent out is exclusive in that I’ll wait to hear from this agent before I send it to others. I don’t know if that’s normal in today’s publishing environment, but I’m not in a hurry, and I really like this agent.

    Also, whomever becomes my agent (if any), I will also want that person to represent me in my (patent-pending) book marketing idea … at least if they think it has some merit. For that, I need someone with a lot of experience and contacts in the industry.

    Alex, welcome to Epic Tales! It is a long road, especially since I overwrote my first draft (154,000 words) and had to spend a lot of time cutting it down to a publishable size. But that goes with being a new novelist, and I think I’ll have a much easier time on book 2. Best of God’s blessings on your book!

    Brandon, I had heard of Terry before, but didn’t realize until the ACFW conference that he would consider fantasy. He seems like a very humble, hard-working man. I’ll definitely consider him if things don’t pan out.

  4. Hey, great job on all that work! We seem to be alike in a lot of ways. I’ve wanted to do missions work as well. Right now with family it isn’t anything that will happen anytime soon, but like you I help support others, and wonder if writing and blogging isn’t part of what needs to develop in me.

    I’ll be looking forward to reading your work! It’s encouraging to hear of your journey, so keep it up.

  5. Jason,

    I’ve been checking out your blog since the Cyndere’s Midnight CSFF tour—it’s nice to find someone else writing and still keeping their family a priority. It’s especially hard to do missions with little ones around. Thankfully my kids are getting older now and we’re praying about how to incorporate that into our lives instead of vacations.


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