Seems like everyone at Tsaba House is at different stages in writing. Some are birthing projects, some are still planning and considering and weighing the odds of taking this ‘baby’ from conception through college, some are fine tuning existing projects to make them the best they can possibly be. I am on the second–and most important draft–of my current WIP. I know the CEO of our little publishing family is chomping at the bit since I have not turned in a manuscript for all of 2006. But I am working. I finished one book this year but it is part of a new series so it won’t see daylight after my Jenna’s Creek series is finished. As far as the WIP, I hope it will be ready to send by the end of the year.

This time of year is generally dedicated to marketing for me, while the actual writing process is put on the back burner. I have three book events in the next 13 days, then I can take a breather and get ready for Thanksgiving which I will be hosting this year. I remember the early days of my writing career with fondness. Back then, I only had one book in my mind; one story to bring to the page. I wasn’t worried about marketing or creating elaborate newsletters or websites or book signings or carrying bookmarks with me every time I left the house in case I met someone who didn’t know I wrote a book. When I went to the grocery store, it was only to buy milk and bread. Now it’s a marketing opportunity. Is there something I can post on the bulletin board? Will I run into Sharon who always wants the newest book, and if I haven’t released one in awhile, she’ll give me grief about the wait between books? Do I need to pick up chocolates to put on the table at my next event?

I don’t go anywhere without making a concious effort to turn the trip into a marketing op. No matter what I’m doing or where I’m going, it’s always about the books. I eat and breathe marketing. And it is exhausting. But at the same time, it’s exciting and rewarding. Getting a book published has opened up so many opportunities for me. Even when an author event doesn’t live up to my hopes in terms of book sales, I always benefit for having gone.

First off, I’m doing what I love. I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I am fortunate that I don’t have to get up every morning and go to a job that eats up my precious time when I would rather be sitting in front of my computer. The best part by far is the people I have met in the past two years. It seems like every time I need a boost and my doubts in my abilities have crowded out everything else, God sends someone across my path who gives me an encouraging word or affirmation.

Just last night in church, after a particularly oppressive week, as I was coming off the pulpit after making an announcement, a gentleman said he felt the need to pray for me and my books right then. He and the pastor led the prayer as the congregation raised their hands toward me. God always knows when we need lifted up, and sometimes when we need to be set in our place.

Wishing everyone a prosperous week. Let us keep our eyes and ears open to the Lord’s leading, whether writing or whatever other job He’s given us. 2006 is winding down. Let’s make the most of it.

Teresa Slack

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