Sherrie Eldridge on aspiring authors
From my early twenties, I had a folder titled “Someday a Book.” Over the years it became tattered and forgotten. However, the dream must have remained in my heart.
Little did I know that I would have the privilege of sharing my story with you! I knew nothing about writing and wasn’t the greatest student. In fact, I didn’t finish college until I was 47!
Where Your Book Is Birthed
What brought my thoughts to the surface was physical and emotional suffering. In the long, dark nights when I couldn’t sleep, I read my Bible, and just like a little bird with its mouth open, waiting for food, God fed me and birthed the messages in the books I’ve written.
Because no one wanted to write an article for our church’s lay counseling ministry, I took it on. The feedback was incredibly positive and soon the church received requests from other church-based organizations to reprint articles.
That is how it started for me, and if that dream is in your heart to write, start writing!
Finding an Agent
Eventually, the first book, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew was published in 1999 by Delta, a division of Random House.
Oh, no, how could I possibly write chapters? My mentor/agent/editor, Traci Mullins, taught me more as we went through the publishing process than I could ever gain from books. Here is the letter she wrote after the project was completed.
My dear baby duck,
I think back so many years ago to a tiny duck named Sherrie who approached me with an idea for a book about her painful experience of reuniting with her birth mother. I knew she needed to write, write, write…for her own sake. For a catharsis. For her healing. She needed a little more time in the “nest” where she could be safe before heading out into the big wide world where everyone would know her story. She needed to mine for the jewels deep within her own soul before she could begin handing them out as gifts to others.
And now…she has transformed from a tiny duck into a lovely swan, beautiful and confident and strong enough to help other tiny ducks learn to fly. She has metamorphosed from a fledgling writer with journal and pen to a brilliant, real author who’s even mastering the computer! Most of all, she has become a whole woman God is using in profound ways…which have only just begun. I am so proud of her.
I love you, dear Sherrie!
Tips for Aspiring Authors
Here is what I learned about the writing process. I hope the tips are helpful to you, friend.
- Journal and write, write, write! Write while your thoughts are fresh! These are the treasures you’ll someday put in your book.
- Keep Ipad or notebook. Keep it with you at all times so that you can write down ideas that come to you, even in the middle of the night!
- Use the “pebble effect.” Begin small. Just as a small pebble produces ever-increasing circles, your writing will also.
- Find an agent. I encourage writers to try to be published by a publishing house vs. self-publishing. You may think that self-publishing is cheap and effective, but if you want to reach as many people as possible with your message, self-publishing usually doesn’t work. Use your search engine for finding agents.
- Write a book proposal. Search amazon.com for a book about writing an effective proposal. I used Jeff Herman’s book titled Writing the Perfect Book Proposal. Check it out! http://jeffherman.com/store/write-the-perfect-book-proposal
I wish you all the best as you pursue your dream! Remember that your passion and message for writing will come from your deepest suffering.