What To Do When Publishing Isn’t Going Your Way

It’s bound to happen.

Your publishing dreams will be challenged.

Stifled. Stomped on. Trampled like an old dirty rag.

You quiver with doubt.

You shake with despair.

“When will I ever achieve my goal?”

Hang in there. The publishing road is well-worn with folks just like you.

The millions of authors who have gone before you and made the publishing path just a little bit wider.

A little bit smoother.

Writing a novel is hard work.

It requires dedication. Devotion. Unending hours of butt-in-chair.

But the business of publishing is even more of a challenge.

Your critique partner gets “the call.”

You don’t.

Your critique partner gets a publishing deal.

You don’t.

Your critique partner debuts on the best seller list.

You… still don’t have an agent or an editor.

You look in the mirror, rub your forehead and wish the invisible L “Looser” would make itself known.

Your critique partner’s novel debuts with stellar reviews in all the major trade publications.

He debut novel gets nominated for an award.

You go with her to the ceremony. While shuffling to your table, trying to smile and make eye contact with the agent who rejected you last year, “No hard feelings, but do you want to see my updated manuscript?!” the heel of your shoe breaks and you stumble in to the editor from your dream house. He spills his drink on the fiction publisher.

Oh, you’ve done it now. You’re the scourge of ALL fiction.

Trying not to cry, you support and calm your anxious critique partner. And you’re thrilled when she wins!

She thanks you because she had no idea what she was doing and you taught her everything about the craft, and read the manuscript so many times she thought you might cancel your friendship.

All true. “Hear that room, I know what I’m doing! And I’m nice!”

Finally! Your big break. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

Dream editor from dream publisher calls.

They want you!

Now that ole agent who turned you down is interested.

But you’re so excited, you don’t care who said what to you when! You’re ready to play “Let’s Make A Publishing Deal!”

The offer comes.

Great, great, not as much money as critique partner but your agent tells you these are the times we live in.

The book releases with only one trade review. It’s good, not great but good. You’ll take it.

The plans to get into Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Barnes & Noble, all the Christian Bookstores fall through.

You have a four star average rating on Amazon.

Your agent hints that sales “are not going as expected.”

You enter every contest possible.

You final in none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Sales are still abysmal.

But, your publisher believes in you. They want to see another proposal.

You call your critique partner with the news, excited, and ready to pencil in a brainstorm session.

But she’s beside herself. Hollywood called. They want her book for a movie!

Starring Amy Adams and Zach Efron!

Sometimes, you just feel like the toilet paper stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe.

Do you quit now or wait for the publisher to drop you?

You have one book with your name on it. That’s something, right? “It was a worthy dream.”


Writing novels, building a readership takes time!

Yes, there are the “critique partners” who break out. Who seem to have the “it” factor.

But let me tell you, publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

More authors don’t break out than do. More quit than ever become an over night success.

You quit now, you’ll never know who or what you could become.

Paul tells the Corinthians and therefore us, “If you compare yourselves among yourselves, you’re not wise.” In other words, you’re stupid.

We have to run the race God gave us to run. I stay in my lane. You stay in yours.

My good friend Debbie Macomber said to me once, “I was a twenty-five year over night success.”

I’ve only been at this publishing game full time nine years. I better buckle in, I have a ways to go!

Your job is to live your life before the Lord. Not your critique partners. Not the publishing industry.

I fully believe as we remain faithful to the gift and call within us, God will meet us in ways we never imagined.

You know, I didn’t final for many awards, well, for ANY awards with my first novels.

But when Diva Nashvegas won the Maggie Award of Excellence in 2008, I was beyond thrilled.

It was the best award EVER!

I didn’t expect to final, let alone win.

What a treat and treasure.

As you stay on your publishing journey, trusting God, you will discover all kinds of joys otherwise undetected.

Keep your eyes on the true prize.


Let him worry about the rest.

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Rachel Hauck

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One Response to What To Do When Publishing Isn’t Going Your Way

  1. Jeanne T December 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Loved this, Rachel. Been there, felt it. A few times now, and I’m not even published yet. Thanks for the reminder that ultimately, I write for an Audience of One, and it’s up to Him how He uses the words I spill onto the page. Trusting Him is the only way to travel this road.

    Thanks for this!

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