Learn to Wait on God’s Timing
Have you ever been discouraged as a self-published author? Success takes time and planning. Instead of being discouraged, learn to wait on God’s timing.
As a self-published Christian author, my knowledge of the publishing industry was inadequate. I was naïve to all components related to book marketing. Concepts like book launch parties, press coverage, connecting to readers, marketing to bookstores, social media audience marketing, building a brand and a website never crossed my mine. I knew one thing. God had called me to write. I would be obedient to that call and write what He led me to write. After publication, I thought the hardest part was finished, and I simply needed to wait until God directed me to write what was next. The importance of belonging to writers’ organizations, learning the craft of writing, understanding the difference between self-publishing, traditional publishing and hybrid publishing were not topics within my paradigm.
I was affirmed in my heart that my first book, The River: A Spiritually Transforming Journey, was directed by God. Trusting what happened after I sent the manuscript in to the publisher was just as easy as His directing the book’s composition. It would just happen…right? Little did I realize how green and gullible I was. Comparable to birthing a baby, nine and a half months later, The River came into the publishing world—Spring 2020. What a time to be launched when a pandemic had locked down the entire world. Much like a first-time parent, I had given life to this book with all my hopes soaring toward its future destiny. Where would God take it? And as a brand-new parent, I wasn’t prepared for my book to go out into the published world where 1.7 million yearly self-published book titles land. Someone actually finding my book would be akin to locating the proverbial needle in a haystack. How would God get it into the hands of the readers that He had created it for?
The natural world had gone crazy and scary. Even had I known every book marketing plan for a successful launch, it wouldn’t have mattered. Book launch parties, press coverage, connecting to readers at book fairs, book signings, and marketing to bookstores were suddenly terminated opportunities in the COVID-19 world. The book world was shut down indefinitely just like the natural world.
“Really God? Why would you orchestrate the release of the book you called me to write at a time like this? How will this book ever find its way into someone’s hands?” These were some of many questions I brought to the Lord for answers. Alone in my office with boxes of books, I had no one and nowhere to turn for help, advice, or instruction. I didn’t realize that places like CIPA existed to help authors become successful in the entire “writing process.” One plus of the shutdown was plenty of time to meditate and pray. I needed God’s help in understanding the why. I was asking God, “Didn’t you see this coming Lord?” and “How will this book ever find its way out into the hands that you want to read it?” I would walk into my office where I do my meditation and devotional time and see the stack of boxed books staring back at me, taunting me. The why and how were forefront in my mind for weeks. Gradually my focus began to shift as I was continually drawn to two scriptures. The first was Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” The second scripture was Hebrews 12:1b-2 NKJV, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” God seemed to be saying that the timing release of this book was perfect. Could that be true? Was He working in ways I couldn’t see or understand? Should I be patient and endure the next season in the writing process? Was I to trust that just as He is the author and finisher of my personal story, He was also the author and finisher of The River? The answer to all these questions seemed to be “YES”—and the book’s direction in the vast world of published books would be in His hands, if I could trust it to Him. With a sigh and a heart resolved to trust, I waited on Him, but fear of failure was a constant intimidator.
Later that Year
As 2020 dragged on, I continued to ponder the scriptures and what I thought God was saying through them as direction or His next steps. The Holy Spirit seemed to tug at my thoughts to remind me that God had not abandoned me nor the book. Rather, the God who ordains the times and the seasons had His timing, and it wasn’t mine. Mine was logical and methodical; His was supernatural and all knowing. The scripture about God being the author of my faith also began to metamorphosize into understanding that God had authored my personal life story before I was ever born, and my story included writing and publishing books. Just as the seed of creation had been planted at a precise moment that led to my natural birth, so the seed of creation and timing for The River was preplanned for the life God intended for the book. The River was “born for such a time as this.” I came to a new level of trusting God, not only for my life and safety from COVID-19, but also for the book. I found a place of peace and rest when circumstances were out of my hands, knowing they remained in His hands. He kept telling me “You be about My business, and I will be about yours.” The same hands that created the world from nothing, that parted the Red Sea and brought down the walls of opposition at Jericho, were the hands that directed me and held my book. With renewing faith that He knows best, I investigated everything I could find about Christian writing and one day discovered the Christian Indie Book Awards (https://christianpublishers.net/book-award/). The description read, “Christian Indie Awards (formerly Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Awards) honors books produced by small publishers and independent authors each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. Books are nominated by the publishers or authors and voting is open to Christian readers, retailers, and publishing professionals. Voting typically runs in February and March and runs for eight weeks.”
My inner spirit said, “Why not try?” I looked over at the boxes of books and agreed. I mailed in The River and waited. Months of learning to trust Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith in sickness and health plus His definite direction in the creation of The River gave me the confidence to take a risk. One year after my ineffective book launch, Susan Neal, Director of CIPA came into my life with news that The River had won the General Fiction CIPA Award (https://christianpublishers.net//). Since then, through Susan’s mentoring and membership in the CIPA association, my knowledge of the writing industry has grown and continues to mature. CIPA membership provides excellent opportunities (https://christianpublishers.net/membership/), blogs (https://christianpublishers.net/book-manufacturing-process/), discounts and connections that offer powerful tools for authors new to the world of publishing.
Trusting God’s Timing
One of the best lessons on trusting God’s timing and His orchestrating my writing career after winning the CIPA award was traveling with Susan and CIPA to the Christian Products Expo (https://www.cpeshow.com). CIPA provides opportunity for tradeshow representation of your books. You can schedule media interviews, get your books carried by bookstores, sign personal copies of your books for bookstore owners, and find your next publisher or agent at the Christian Product Expo. You can attend with CIPA for a discounted price or have CIPA represent you and your books. Attending CPE in 2021 and 2022 gave me many opportunities to meet hundreds of bookstore owners, pray with them and make connections across the United States. It has led to podcast interviews, book reviews on Facebook, book signings, book fairs, offers for my book to be sold in local bookstores and even in a historical gift shop.
Through the excellent articles, blogs, training videos and instruction on the writing industry, I have developed my skills as an author. Joining other writing organizations have afforded me the opportunity to submit work for hire to publishers like Guidepost as well as submitting short stories and devotionals for book anthologies with other publishers. God continues to direct my personal author story through these various connections and training that CIPA opened for me. God has also not stopped the directing of The River’s book journey in the publishing world. I’m getting texts, personal messages on Facebook, Amazon reviews and notes telling me how individuals had been impacted by The River. God was confirming to me that He was still in charge and directing the places and the hands that touched the book. He continues to lead me in my call to write with the inspiration and direction for Book Two of The River trilogy and a companion study guide to help those who read The River to take their own transformational journey. Who knows the hands that may pick up this book and those to follow. My doubtful words, “Really God?” have become “Really God!” He always have things under control. In it all, God knows what He is doing. He is the master author!
About the Author
Betty A Rodgers-Kulich serves with her husband Rick (49 years) as Associate Pastor’s at Redeemer’s Church, Columbus, Ohio. Director of Women’s Ministry for Harvest Preparation
International Ministries (Sarasota, Florida) – Mexico and Central America. 2021 CIPA Book Award for General Fiction (The River). Devotional author for Guidepost and Abundant Books. Hosting short Facebook videos – “Life Outside the Pages”, a YouTube channel for Hispanic Women and AWSA P.O.W.E.R. speaker. email@example.com