Writing Out of the Box (a guest blog)
October 27, 2013 | Written by Chip MacGregor
My novel Digging Up Death, the one Chip signed me with five or six years ago, made its debut last year at this time. Yes, I know. I did the math (and the waiting,) and the fact that it didn’t sell right away had nothing to do with the efforts of my brilliant, hard working, loyal agent. (Brownie points, Chip?)
From the feedback I got, I believe it had more to do with it not being a good fit or timing, or something. for the inspirational fiction market. Then we shopped around another, similar story. The comments from editors: “Too edgy, not CBA enough, too melancholy.” Again, the project just didn’t fit. Big surprise? I was beginning to see a pattern, and starting to think my stories were just never going to fit the Christian market. Or maybe I didn’t fit as an author?
And maybe that realization was a good thing.
Really? How could not fitting the market be a good thing?
Okay, maybe it wasn’t good for my bottom line, but I have to put a positive spin on things in this business or I’m in trouble. So back to not fitting the market being a good thing… Let’s face it, every novel preaches something. There’s some kind of faith or world view in every story. And your novel will speak what you believe, no matter if it’s pro-Christian or anti-Christian, pro-faith or anti-faith.
But faith in your fiction shouldn’t be about fitting into a mold or a box someone else built. It should be about sharing the unique story you have inside you — your faith as you see it, as you believe it, as you live it, because chances are there are readers out there who see it just like you and need to hear your message of faith.
That’s all good, but I want to make money at this.
So do I. And you can. Maybe not a lot of money, but if you work hard to know yourself, know where you fit (because you do fit somewhere), and look for ways to find people who will love your stories, they will buy them. And voila, money!
I guess that sounds simple, but it isn’t. Writing is never t easy. Just like faith isn’t easy. Faith while writing can sometimes seem impossible. But if you can latch on to a purpose a little bigger than being published and getting that paycheck, you just might go the distance. And discover the place you fit.
AND get paid in the process.