Buddy the Elf and I have a lot in common, and I’m guessing it’s driving my literary agent nuts.
If you’ve never seen Will Ferrell’s Christmas movie, Elf, I need you to stop reading this and find your closest Blockbuster* and go rent it now. You won’t regret this decision.
One of my favorite scenes from Elf is when Buddy is talking to his dad and interrupting his work day. His father is obviously annoyed and Buddy isn’t picking up on the signals. The call is coming to a close and Buddy says, “I love you… I’ll call you in five minutes!”
In my defense, I am a first-time author that has had zero clue how the process works to write a book. I’ve been so grateful for the folks at the Fedd Agency and their brilliance along this process. However, I feel like I need to publicly show my gratitude to Esther (Literary Agent), Tori (my editor who I think is a savant), and Jill (Director of Author Relations) for their patience.
Here’s a quick peek at what it’s like to work with me:
- ME: “Hey Jill, I know we just submitted the book proposal today to a bunch of publishers. However, I’m not sure how this works. Should I expect to hear something by the end of today? A week from now? A few months from now?”
- JILL: “A few months.”
- ME: “Oh yeah totally cool… thanks.” *David emotionally tanks for a few moments*
- ME: “Hey Tori, what’d you think of the 27-page re-write I sent to you today?” *I imagine Tori receiving this text surrounded by one of the many manuscripts from legit New York Times Bestselling authors that the Fedd Agency represents*
- TORI: “Hey David, I got it and I am working through another project right now but I promise I’m on it!”
- ME: “Hey Esther, I was thinking about developing Neighborliness into a small group study and potentially a devotional. What do you think of adding this to the proposal?”
- ME: “Hey Esther, I just had an awesome meeting with some folks that are really excited about the release of the book. What do you think about adding this to our pitch?”
- ESTHER: *Two days later because she’s been traveling the world representing and negotiating contracts for aforementioned bestselling authors* “That sounds great!”
Buddy the Elf and I were probably a bit too excited to see the reality that there’s a lot going on in the world and it’s ok to take a deep breath and also let everyone else around us have enough space to breathe.
Esther submitted our proposal to publishers over two months ago. I’ve learned so much about myself during these two months. Namely, I’m still an unfinished product when it comes to patience. Maybe you are, as well. If we did a support group, I’m guessing we’d all get annoyed that it would take some time to pull everyone together.
This lifelong patience-lesson that God has been teaching me presented another learning moment yesterday. We had a pretty big meeting (of which none of us were involved) happen yesterday and I probably checked my phone no less than 150 times throughout the day. They had already told me not to expect to hear anything from them (the agency) or the publishing company, but in my little world of positive thinking I convinced myself that they are probably just like Apple.
Whenever I order something from Apple, they tell me it will be shipped within 3-5 business days and without fail it arrives within a day or two. I know they do this on purpose to make me happy, but it still works every time.
I am sure publishers are great and all, but turns out they weren’t like Apple. Yesterday came and went with no word, just like my agent told me to expect.
I did what any warm-blooded American would do and turned my attention to Google around 6pm.
Turns out there were 105,000,000 responses (literally), and a blog post from a guy that knows everything that happens when a proposal goes to a publisher. Probably should have Googled that four months ago and saved Esther, Jill, and Tori a lot of time.
I had a realization today as I was praying about my struggle with impatience and inexperience. You have to understand before I spill the beans on this lesson that this is a dream that has been in my heart for over twenty years. I’ve wanted to publish a book – lots of books – ever since I started in full-time ministry.
It hit me yesterday, though, that I am absolutely ok if the answer is no.
Dara and I have been praying that God would open doors that no man can close and close doors that no man can open (Revelation 3:7). Throughout my insecurities, wrestling, doubts, and fears in this process, I find that even if I hear a no after working so hard and so long on this, I am absolutely certain that all is well and that the message will get to the right people at the right time. Additionally, I am convinced that God has the right partners lined up that will get behind this project to spread the word that he has placed in my heart.
You, Buddy the Elf, and I are probably a lot a like. None of us like to wait on things that we are excited to see come to pass. However, waiting cultivates faith and teaches us to embrace God in the waiting. I have also learned that God is teaching me that the fulfillment of my dream is not based on what I can do or what a publisher can do for me. This is God’s message, and he will bring it to pass in a way that he sees best.
- I’m ok with hearing no because I believe God is saying yes.
- I’m ok with hearing no because I know that God has a plan for my biggest dreams and desires.
- I’m ok with hearing no because I have learned that God’s plans are even more awesome than my biggest dreams and desires.
God is with us. He is with me as I wait for this process to unfold. He is with you as you wait on your dreams to come to pass. And he is with us during this season of Advent, as we willingly choose to imagine what it was like to wait on the arrival of Jesus to this world to show us how to love and live.
Immanuel, God is with us. Amen.
P.S. Let’s be honest… I still hope they say yes.
*Blockbuster doesn’t exist. Find a teenager to introduce you to Netflix.