It’s first thing on Saturday morning. The mail arrives: two unpaid bills and an ominous self-addressed envelope. Yet another rejection letter from a publisher. I turn them over while I make a coffee to calm my desperation.
“Lord, help my finances. Guide me to the right publisher. Amen”
As the hot water hits the coffee and the aroma rises, I recall the verse:
“May my pray be set before you like incense…” Ps 141 v 2
I imagine the coffee vapour carrying my prayer heavenward into the Father’s hands, and I am comforted.
“Mom, you’ve got mail.” My son waves the letters right in my face. I try, unsuccessfully to hide my grimace. “What’s the point of even opening it? I know what is says.”
“Hey, I’ll do it.” He opens the envelope and reads out:
“Unfortunately, we are unable to publish this time…How manys that now, Mom?”
“Nine. And it’s always the same response. ‘The book is well written but due to an overwhelming number of quality manuscripts we do not currently have the resources to publish yours.’”
“So why not self-publish? Mrs Simon self-published a recipe book online.” Mrs Simon is an elderly neighbour. My son has been helping her use the internet to publish Christian articles and book a holiday online.
I’m ready for the self-publishing question.
“You need time, patience and technical ability to format and upload your book. I don’t know how to market it online.”
“But FaithWriters have a Christian writing contest to win a Xulon publishing package worth over $4000!”
I rub my eyes and will my brain into action. I may still be half asleep but he seems to be talking a whole different language.
“OK. Please. Slow down and explain for me. What is ‘Zoo-lon?’”
He talks fast and waves his hands around.
“Xulon. It’s the biggest Christian publisher of print-on-demand and digital books. They sell publishing packages that include editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN number, listing with major distributers, marketing…”
“Marketing? They’ll market my book too?!” Now I’m excited too.
“So how do I enter?”
“If you’re a Christian writer you can sign up to become a platinum member of FaithWriters, and this includes loads of benefits, like advertising and selling your e-book. Then you can enter the Christian fiction publishing contest to win a Xulon publishing package later in the year.”
“Wow. OK. So where’s the catch?”
“No catch, honestly! Once you’re a FaithWriters member you get also get a discount on Xulon publishing packages and you can enter the Christian testimony publishing contest.”
“I’ll sure have a testimony to write about when my book gets published!”
He reaches into his bag.
“Here, Mrs Simon brought these back from the Holy Land for you.” He hands over a box of incense.
For a moment I catch my breath.
Incense! Not only did God hear my prayer, but he cares for me and is guiding me to the right publisher for my work. How great is our God!
I light an incense stick and explain the answered prayer to my son, who becomes even more excited. And for the first time in months, I feel hope rise again.