I shouldn’t be here. I read the writing advice blogs, the Web sites on how to get published, and none of them came close to my story. So, I want to tell it for those who dream impossible dreams, in the face of giants in the land, and in fear that they may be grasshoppers. You’re not! Say it with me . . . I am special, I am smart, I am important.
Yes, we can laugh at that, but getting published is an exercise in believing in yourself. I didn’t have a social media standing or any published articles. The story I sent to a magazine never earned even a rejection letter. But I love to read, and I always made up great stories for my children, nieces, and nephews. Later, that evolved into cowriting stage plays in a local theater and writing drama skits for my church. It was inevitable that one day I would try my hand again, and this time, I was determined to finish a novel.
I wrote a story that I felt was good and because I was different it would be too. And I wasn’t sure what genre it would be considered, because I wrote what I wanted to say, not some cookie-cutter formula. And then some people that I let read it began to tell me it was good. And folks who believed like I did, said it could be done. And each word of encouragement inched me forward in my pursuit of a book deal. I turned a deaf ear to those who told me it was far-fetched, and that this would never happen. They counted the number of people who tried and never made it. I filed these people in my memory Rolodex under “inspiration”; they were my Hatorade, a new energy drink.
I did do some things right. Over the years I would write authors whose work I admired and share my admiration with them. Sometimes I felt led to give them a word of encouragement. One particular author was gracious enough to have an online friendship with me. When my book was completed, I asked her to edit it. She loved it, and then offered to introduce me to an agent. What I didn’t know at the time was that the agent was not accepting any new clients. However, ignorance can be bliss. I e-mailed my first five chapters, and what came back was a contract. When I called the author to thank her, she explained to me that I got it on my own merit and that she didn’t want to discourage me by sharing with me the news the agent wasn’t accepting new clients.
My new agent then reviewed with me the time it might take for a publishing company to pick up the book. I was disillusioned, because there had already been a delay starting due to some other factors with my agent. However, what she said could take a year . . . took thirty days. Yes . . . thirty days, and a two-book deal came later.
Your journey is yours. Designed to fulfill for you, your purpose for being. There are no surefire methods. There is hard work, opportunity, and favor. When those three merge at the right time, in the right circumstances—blessings show up. Trust and believe that you can do this. It can be done. I’m a witness.
Colette (Ford) Harrell the author of the debut novel The Devil Made Me Do It is passionate about the written word. Holding a master’s degree, she is a director of human services. Her creation and implementation of a health and energy medical program stands as a best practices model. Her philosophy of service is compassionate care through a spirit of excellence. A motivational speaker, she specializes in customer and human service workshops on state and national levels. She is cofounder of COJACK Productions, a Christian entertainment company. As an active member of her church, KingdomChristianCenter, she serves in several ministries.
Colette is a wife, mother, author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. Her novel is a delectable read, where romance, suspense, humor, and the supernatural all come together to entertain, educate, and inspire.
A Detroit native, she currently resides in Ohio, writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”
Her latest book is the inspirational fiction, The Devil Made Me Do It.
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