Here I am sitting on the other
side of the world, Australia, writing while pondering the lovely summer
evening, fully aware that many who read this will be layered with
jumpers and getting friendly with heaters. I am taking full advantage
of the Internet, the only method of communication within my means and
timeframe that reaches across the seas to try to crack it big-time into
the world of Christian publishing.
Yes, even we Aussies dream of
seeking to serve the God of the universe with our mere words by putting
pen to paper or, in most cases these days, fingertips to keyboards. You
say you have a few hoops to jump through, trying to gather
endorsements, mentors, publishers, and agents? Well, my dear northern
hemisphere colleagues, I have hoops, too, but mine are very tiny and
often on fire.
You know what, though? God is
still God here on the lower side of the planet, and he is still quite
capable of taking a somewhat bizarre woman who gets an itch to write
and transforming her dreams into a workable reality. Yes, he can get an
Aussie girl published and exposed to an international market. I’m here
writing for you wonderful people, now aren’t I?
After penning the first few
pages of my manuscript The Embarrassed Evangelist
and showing it around and having friends laugh hysterically (which is a
good thing because it was meant to be funny), I decided that this might
be worth a go. Although at the time I was new to the Internet
community, I searched and dissected Web pages on publishing and
My research ultimately led me to
an American Web site that would preview manuscripts for a small fee and
submit a report to many publishers. I tentatively but hopefully
submitted my baby to the manuscript masters on the other side of the
world. The anticipation was exhilarating. Just the thought that
publishers from all over the world were looking at
something I had written had me walking on air for a long time. When an
offer came in . . . Whoa! They like me . . . they really like
After a few very interesting
offers, I chose a brand-new publishing company, Revival Nation
Publishing, who is based in Canada, because their ideas were exciting,
their people were passionate (namely about my book, who can resist
gushing compliments?), and their royalties were generous.
Once I signed the contracts and
I officially became an author (I even had a T-shirt
made! Show off much?), then the real fun began. International phone
calls are expensive, and because we share a sun, very often the
Canadian publishers would be
asleep when I had a question or
brainwave. So most communications were done via e-mail. E-mail is
fabulous, but I like to hear a voice every now and then so I can hear
their pleasure when I pour out the gratitude liberally!
I have to admit, some other
international limitations exist. At times when my manuscript was
showcased on a Web site, it was subtitled “NonUS.” I’m not sure how
much of an impact that had on publishers considering investing time in
my writing, but it did feel a little icky, like I didn’t have the right
shoes for gym class. Also, when I requested a review on a popular blog
site, I was more successful if I didn’t mention my nationality. Author
book swaps sounded like such a fun and fabulous idea to make friends,
learn from others, share my work, and get some other good stuff, but
mail is expensive, too, so that plan didn’t find much fruit.
Even my own publishing company
invests most of their time, efforts, and dollars into publications
created a little closer to their home. This is understandable of
course, it’s just easier. Also, Australian agents don’t often deal with
international publishers, and international agents don’t often take on
Australian writers. Although I have learned quickly to act as my own
agent, many times it was a bit of a “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” game.
However, I have found a few very
big bonuses in being where I am. Australians are a novelty. Apparently
I have an accent. (I don’t, though you all do!) Hence, people like to
interview me on radio stations from time to time, possibly because of
my book and not my weirdo voice, but the lady who made me say “Pastor”
a few dozen times had me wondering. Also my comparatively little
country gets kind of proud when one of their own goes international,
and I had a lot of people here in Oz ask me to speak and sign books.
It’s really sort of sweet when you think about it.
But the most amazing thing?
Through the Internet I have access to my very, very big Christian
family that extends across oceans. I have received support from authors
and writers all over the world, through visits to my Web site, e-mails,
online Christian communities, and just readers who happen to have
picked up the book. I know God is blessing this little Aussie writer,
even in just the lessons I have learned; like how much he loves uour
encouraging one another and sharing our joy.
While being an international
author can be difficult and somewhat of a limitation, God is a very big
God, and he knows the plans he has for me. I’ll just have to remember
that the next time I don’t fit through a hoop.