As a child, my mother taught me many life-lessons. I was told to always look both ways before crossing the street, to be wary of strangers offering candy, and that, “You can’t always get what you want.” To this day, I look both ways before I go chasing after that chicken that, for some inexplicable reason, won’t stop crossing the road. I am reminded everyday that I can’t always get my hearts desire; at least, not when I want to get it. For some reason, fewer strangers are offering me candy nowadays . . . What’s up with that?!
During the winter of 2015, after pursuing my heart’s desire for years on end, I received an email from Wipf and Stock Publishers that said that they were pleased to inform me that they had accepted my book proposal! As you can well imagine, I was ecstatic! My dreams were finally coming true. I was going to be a published author! Immediately, I began to look into the publication process. I sought out potential endorsers and contacted one man in particular to write a foreword for my book. To my surprise, Thomas Talbott agreed to provide a foreword for my book: Hell in a Nutshell.
After I received my proof-edited manuscript from my freelance editor, I sent it to Talbott. Shortly thereafter, I received a disappointing email from him. He said that he would not write a foreword for my book as it stood. He explained why he had come to this decision. Although my book was “publishable,” Talbott felt like it was incomplete—that it deserved more attention and preparation. He recommended that I withdraw my manuscript from publication, for the time being, and offered to help in any way that he could. Naturally, I was discouraged and began to doubt myself. After reflecting on our exchange, I decided to take Talbott’s advice. It would have been foolish to reject his offer to work with him on my book. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to become Talbott’s protégé?
Since then, I have deleted my Goodreads giveaway program and have extended my submission date with Wipf and Stock. I will still be attending The Forgotten Gospel Conference in Denver this year as “an attending author,” at which I will also remain on the closing Q&A panel.
Unfortunately, we can’t always get what we want, when we want it. I am going to publish my book! I am going to be a published author! I would love to accomplish these things sooner rather than later, but I do not want that to be at the expense of quality. I have been blessed in that my book proposal was accepted right out of the gate. I am beyond blessed not only that Talbott originally agreed to write a foreword for my book, but also that he refused to let it slip into the endless flow of sub-par books that could have been superb only if they were given more attention.
I was tempted to ignore Talbott’s advice and his generous offer. I was going to justify my stubbornness by telling myself that my book was not intended to add to academia . . . that it was written by a non-academic author to a non-academic audience. I actually mentioned this to Talbott, to which he responded:
“For when writing for a non-academic audience it is more important than ever to avoid unexplained technical jargon. In a sense it is much harder to write for a general audience than it is to write for a specialized audience.”
Talbott also opined:
“But you are young and there is no need, as I see it, to rush into publication. Neither is there any substitute for doing lots of writing and receiving lots of feedback and criticism from wherever you can find it. So whatever you decide to do with your existing manuscript, I would strongly encourage you to keep writing and rewriting and then rewriting again. I have no doubt that you will find your own unique voice and will make a contribution to the subjects that interest you.”
In other words, he was basically telling me what my mom was teaching me all along: Slow down! You’ve got all the time in the world . . . and, for Christ’s sake – hold your horses!