This Writer’s Journey . . .

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Writing is a journey, one I truly love and enjoy, but it can sometimes feel rather lonely. Hour after hour, alone, at the computer, pouring your heart and soul into each word. But I’ve learned I’m not alone, in fact, I’ve been blessed to be in contact with some amazing people, both writers and non-writers.

I want to share a bit of that with you. Each week I’ll be spotlighting someone I’ve come in contact with during my journey. Thanks for stepping along side of me—all of you—during this exciting time!

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Billy Coffey

I can’t quite remember how I found Billy’s blog, What I Learned Today , but when I did, I just had to start following it. I mean, the guy can find meaning in pocket lint!

It’s truly amazing.

I featured him way back in the beginning of my blog. Then when he landed an agent, I did a two part series on his journey: Part One. Part Two.

I love how he can find something significant in each and every thing he sees. It’s truly a gift. His laid back look at life is genuine, too. He’s talked about his path through life, even the not so fun parts. His blogs are heartfelt and encouraging. He’s a bright spot on the internet for sure.

Thanks, Billy. Keep up the good word and many blessings on your writing!

BILLY COFFEY PART 2

Billys Blog Button updated

Okay, as promised, here is the play-by-play of “The Call.”

If you missed part one of the interview, CLICK HERE , otherwise, read on and see how it worked out for Billy.

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4. Ok, Billy, tell us about “The Call.”

It’s funny, I’d actually been reading Rachelle’s blog for a long time and knew she was the agent I wanted. I had one manuscript complete and sent her a query, but she passed. I finished my second, Snow Day, and sent her another query four months later. She passed again.

I decided to forget about finding an agent and focus on building my platform, which was my blog. At the time, I had so few readers that I was seriously considering shutting the whole thing down. That’s when God started working.

First came Katdish, who began reading my blog and emailed to ask if there was anything she could do to help me get published. My platform was struggling, and I told her what I needed most was more exposure. She’s been a pro at that.

Then I picked up a new reader. Anne Lang Bundy writes at Building His Body, and she enjoyed my posts so much that she emailed to ask me if I was looking for an agent. I said I was, and she said she could possibly get hers to take a look at me, who just so happened to be Rachelle Gardner. I told Anne that Rachelle had already passed on my book, but she said she would try and work something out.

Rachelle agreed to let me resubmit directly to her, and I sent a query and the first ten pages. She got back with me about a week later and requested a phone call. She wasn’t ready to offer representation yet, she said, but she wanted to take a look at the entire manuscript and a proposal.

A week later, Rachelle sent me a message on Twitter asking for another phone conversation. It was the Fourth of July weekend, and she suggested that we schedule a talk for the next Tuesday.

That was a long weekend.

By the time Tuesday rolled around, I had successfully managed to turn my stomach into an amusement park. I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know whether to get my hopes up or not, and didn’t know if I could make it until 4:30, when she was supposed to call.

Thankfully, she sent another message via Twitter telling me not to worry, because this was The Call.

The amusement park in my gut kicked into high gear when I read that.

I paced around work for the rest of the day and then found a quiet spot on a hill with a good view of the mountains. Rachelle called me right on time, and was kind enough to put my nerves at ease right away by offering representation. She discussed how she worked, what her plans were for my manuscript, and if I had any future books in mind.

I knew from her blog that Rachelle was extremely knowledgeable when it comes to publishing, but she’s proven to be even more so. She’s not only a consummate professional, she’s also a very nice lady.

So no, I didn’t sign with an agent in the most traditional way. In the end, it wasn’t my queries but my blog and the people I met through it that helped me most.

Writing can be a lonely thing, but it’s so hard to find success on your own. I needed help, and that’s what God gave me. So put your work out there for others to read, go and visit other blogs, and yes, Twitter and Facebook, too. Get your name out there. Draw people to you. You never know what can happen…

**Thanks, Billy, for sharing part of your writing journey with us. We’ll be watchin’ for your books on the bookstore shelves some day. With Rachelle as your agent, it’s gonna happen!**

Billy Coffey Part 1

BILLY COFFEY PHOTO

Fellow writer, Billy Coffey has recently stepped into the realm of “Agented Writer.” Uber-Agent, Rachelle Gardner has picked him up as a client.

I first mentioned Billy Coffey on this blog way back on 11/25/08 after I’d stumbled across his blog. He has a unique, God-given, talent for writing so be sure to go check out his blog and bookmark it. You’ll be glad you did.

So, Billy has graciously agreed to share his experience receiving “The Call.” For those of you who don’t write or don’t know what “The Call” is—it’s when an agent calls a writer up and offers him/her representation. Although it doesn’t guarantee publication, it means you have an person actively working on your behalf toward the goal of publication.

1. First off, what do you write? How long have you been writing?

I write inspirational non-fiction that usually consists of trying to see the hand of God in our everyday circumstances. My subjects are usually family, friends, and life in rural Virginia, and through them I explore faith and life. I like searching for the big things in the little things.

Since Mrs. Houser’s Creative Writing class when I was a junior in high school. I loved it, and she helped me to see that writing could help me make sense of the world and my place in it.

2. How many agents had you queried and how many rejections had you received before you got “The Call”?

Sheesh. All of them, I think. I’ve worn out four years worth of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers Market Guide books. Every year I would promise myself it would be the last time I’d have to buy one, and every year I’d be right back in line at the bookstore with the newest copy in my hand.

All in all, I had probably queried forty agents and received about thirty rejections, ranging from handwritten notes of encouragement to one email that said “Pass, bu tGod bless.” Yeah, kinda bad when you get a typo in your rejection, isn’t it? But even that was better than the other ten, who never bothered to write back even though they promised an answer.

3. What got you through the discouragement of rejections from agents you’d queried?

I’ve had tons of encouragement from the readers of my blog. They’ve always been so supportive with their comments and emails, and they helped me to believe that someone somewhere was bound to give me a chance.

Agents and editors will say that a blog is essential for an aspiring writer to build a platform. That’s been my case, too. But I didn’t count on my blog helping me with more than a platform. It’s helped me find some really amazing people, too.

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***Join us next Tuesday for a play-by-play on the day he got “The Call.”***