The new hot thing this year seems to be coming up with one word to encapsulate your goals. Even before I noticed this trend, I had spotted my word for 2012 in a quote from Mary DeMuth on Author Media. Are you ready for it…Entre-author. A friend asked if this had something to do with an author entering, like the French entre vous. Actually, I think it does. To my understanding it is a mix of entrepreneur and author. Therefore, I suppose it is a writer ready to enter the big leagues.
This word captured what God had been laying on my heart for the last half a year . You see, I started my novel writing journey as an art and a
ministry. At some point I realized in order to succeed, I would have to
understand writing as a craft and a business as well. But just late last
year, it hit me that I had two teenagers headed for college and needed
to start making a serious income from my writing. As my debut,
small-press, medieval novel struggled for sales, I watched my crit
partner’s first “marketable” novel thriving. My desires began to undergo
a change. While I still wished to touch lives, I now wanted to provide
for my family through my writing as well.
Of course the question that remained was whether or not I could write
to market while achieving my artistic and ministry goals, but I
determined to try. At my agent’s urging, I prayed for several weeks for a
marketable idea. Finally, a title dropped into my head, and a story
began to unfold in my mind.
As I sat down during NaNoWriMo to pen my first “market-driven” novel,
an amazing thing happened. I chose my hot genre, my popular setting,
and even focused on plot for once in my life. Each time I had a decision
to make, I asked myself what would be more entertaining. But as I did
so, my voice and themes still found their way into the novel with little
effort. The book still fit my “Dina Sleiman ~ Dance with Passion”
tagline. It still depicted intimacy with Christ. And as I sat in church
the first Sunday morning after I started it, God even gave me a vision
for a worship dance scene that I could weave organically into the plot
and setting. Something I hadn’t dreamed of for my Scarlett O’Hara meets
Jane Austen novel.
Last week my agent sent this Virginia set historical romance off to a bunch of publishers, and truly, I couldn’t be happier with it. Who would have guessed? I can
write a novel to market and still love it myself. I learned something
important through this experiment. The outer trappings of the novel are
not what matters. If God is in the mix, His purposes will be
accomplished. The heart of the novel is what counts.