Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Friday

18

May 2012

101

COMMENTS

Getting Lucky: How I Got an Agent (plus a giant giveaway!)

Written by , Posted in life, writing

Two things you should know: I wasn’t going to tell this story, and if I could give you all a plate of my hot chocolate chip cookies, I really would.

A few weeks ago, I shared  my exciting news that I’d gotten a literary agent, and you were generous with your happiness for me. I wanted to thank each person who left me a congratulatory comment, but the comments section yells at me with warning messages when I try to leave a duplicate reply, and I don’t know 70-something ways to say, “Thank you so much. Your support means everything to me.”

But you know I can find a way to subvert the system.

So when several people asked me to tell the story of how it happened, I decided I ought to set aside my fears of sounding braggy and just tell it. And I figured I’d lavish you with gifts while I was at it because nothing says “thank you” like fresh chocolate chip cookies, but free books come close. (More on that below.)

This is the story:

I thought it began the week I got back from the Killer Tribes Conference. My inbox was stuffed full, but one email jumped out at me: It was addressed from Rachelle Gardner, the literary agent I’d had my eye on for a long time. The literary agent who was reputed to be the best in the biz. The literary agent who represented big talent like Rachel Held Evans and Jamie The Very Worst Missionary, Sarah Bessey and Elizabeth Esther. The literary agent who, last I’d checked, wasn’t accepting queries. And now, apparently, the literary agent who wanted to talk to me.

At lunch with my friend Jeff during the conference weekend, I had confided in him my crazy thought of contacting her. But my proposal was unfinished because when I freak out about things, I opt to simply not do them, and, anyway, she would never know who I was; a query from me would be the height of ridiculousness. But Jeff said no. He said I should do it, said that she probably did know who I was and that if she didn’t, she should. And that dude has helped me feel braver than I am about a million times over, so I resolved to do it when I got back.

But I never got the chance. This lady had clearly done her homework: Not only did she know my blog, she knew the number of kids I have and the correct pronunciation of my name. She said she loved my writing and wanted to know if I’d like to have a talk, that perhaps I had a few books in me. As it turns out, I do.

When we talked on the phone a few weeks later (a delay caused by a holiday and busy schedules, not, as I’d dreaded, because she’d realized what an utter fraud I was), I could tell from the laughter and meshing of thoughts that this was going to be something really good. I don’t want to hawk my work; I don’t want to make a sales pitch of myself; I just want to write, more than absolutely anything. But this other business has to be done, and for a person like me, that’s scary. But not for a person like Rachelle.

At a writers’ meetup on Shawn Smucker’s cross-country tour, I admitted that despite my incremental improvement in which I successfully pitched myself as a speaker for Killer Tribes, the idea of going the traditional route of attending workshops and conferences to pitch to agents, editors, and publishers terrified me. Paralyzed me, even. And my friend Chris said, “Well, then you need someone to do it for you.”

And in an industry of work-your-ass-off-for-probably-nothing, this seemed like far too much to ask. But that’s exactly what I got. And if you feel like I’m bragging, I have to just tell you: I can’t brag about something that is all grace. And as I looked back on this crazy gift of a moment, I realized that it didn’t begin in that week back home– it had been a lifelong journey.

It began when I was born with a little gift, recognized and encouraged by my preschool teacher, who told my mother there was nothing wrong with my eyesight– I just huddled close to my paper out of intensity for my work. It was stoked by the strong and gentle whisper of my grandmother who has a gift for seeing gifts, and it was developed by studying literature and grammar and the history of the English language. It was strengthened by late hours and long years of editing the work of other writers, and it was blossomed by stepping out to share my own writing with a world that I had no reason to think would care.

Most nonfiction writers have to create giant-pain-in-the-ass proposals; they have to query agents; they have to pitch ideas; they get rejection upon rejection upon gawddamn-tiring-rejection. They rarely have agents– never mind highly reputable ones– approach them just to see if they might have any books in them. So you might rightly say I got lucky. But when I look back at the path I’ve traveled, I see it designed with intention and guided with grace by the One who gifted me from the start. And so I just marvel and smile and offer up humbled thanks, because as far as I know, God doesn’t eat chocolate chip cookies.

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In order to thank you for your support and encourage you on your own journey, I’ve asked several of my writer friends to help me put together the biggest giveaway TOL has ever hosted! (This isn’t a giveaway where I ask for anything promotional in return, but if you’d share this on Facebook and Twitter just to help reach as many people as possible, that would be wonderful.)

For the next 24 hours (until Saturday the 19th, 8am EST), please help yourself to the free ebooks offered below by clicking on their titles.

I will select the 14 other gift winners based on your comments here. Please let me know which one(s) you hope to get and why.

And, finally, so I might learn how I can encourage you in future posts, please tell me your biggest fears or questions about writing.

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Starting Over by Michael Perkins- unlimited copies, free for 24 hours

Starting Over “A Manifesto On Being Yourself” is a small “handwritten” eBook about being true to yourself and the voice you have been given. This is a book about not following formulas when creating art.  This is a book about being yourself. (From TheHandwritten.com)

You can find Michael at The HandwrittenTwitter, and Facebook.

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A Manifesto on Manifestos: A MANIFESTO by Knox McCoy- unlimited copies, free for 24 hours

A Manifesto on Manifestos: A MANIFESTO is a magical journey of discovery across the land of manifestos that shows us not only how to write a manifesto, but some other really important ideas that I’d rather be vague about so as to increase expectations and widen the net of potential readers. (From KnoxMcCoy.com)

You can find Knox at KnoxMcCoy.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Building a Life Out of Words by Shawn Smucker- unlimited copies, free for 24 hours

“There are times when life doesn’t turn out as you expected. Then there are times when life punches you in the gut, takes your wallet, and leaves you hanging upside down by your toenails.

2009 was one of those times for me (the gut-punching kind). My construction business faltered after the housing bubble burst, and my wife and I found ourselves in $50,000 worth of debt. Then came the toughest decision of our young lives: we left the community we loved and moved into my parents’ basement in search of a simpler life.

Part of the change included laying aside my aspirations for wealth and taking up the vocation of my dreams: I would try to make money writing full time. This is the story of my first year doing exactly that.

I would try to build a life out of words.” (From Building a Life Out of Words)

You can find Shawn at ShawnSmucker.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

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The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins- 5 free copies to selected winners

The Writer’s Manifesto is a small eBook about getting back to the heart of writing, intentionally written to be read in one sitting. It’s a call-to-arms for artists and authors alike to kick the addiction to accolades and write for the sake of writing.

This succinct manifesto is a challenge to fall back in love with your passion, giving you permission and freedom to create not for the applause, but for a higher calling.

The Writer’s Manifesto will leave you feeling confident and affirmed not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are–a writer. (From Amazon.com)

You can find Jeff at GoinsWriter, Twitter, and Facebook.

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You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins- 5 free copies to selected winners

You Are a Writer is a book about what it takes to be a writer in the 21st Century.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own story of self-doubt and what it took for him to become a professional. He gives you practical tips for freelancing, how to get published in magazines, and what it takes to build a platform that brings the gatekeepers to you.

This journey of becoming a writer begins with a simple but important belief: You are a writer; you just need to write. Readers will learn the importance of passion and discipline and how to show up every day to do the work. (From Amazon.com)

You can find Jeff at GoinsWriter, Twitter, and Facebook.

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A Path to Publishing by Ed Cyzewski- 3 free copies to selected winners

After publishing his first nonfiction book Ed Cyzewski’s inbox was flooded with publishing questions from friends, family, and complete strangers. As his replies grew longer and the questions continued, he wrote A Path to Publishing in order to share his lessons about the publishing process with new writers.

A Path to Publishing is a big-picture guide for nonfiction publishing hopefuls. Beginning with mental preparation for writing and building a platform, Cyzewski helps readers develop their ideas, write regularly, pitch a proposal, and market their work. Through accounts of his experiences, a series of case studies, and action steps, each chapter moves readers toward the final goal of becoming published writers. (From A Path to Publishing)

“I haven’t seen a single more helpful resource for writers hoping to enter the publishing fray.” -Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent, Books & Such

You can find Ed at edcyz.com, In a Mirror Dimly, and Twitter.

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Nonfiction book proposal evaluation from Ed Cyzewski- one review for one selected winner

Ed offers communications and editing services to small businesses and individuals with specializations in web site copy/blogging, e-newsletters, proof-reading, book proposal evaluations, and nonfiction book publishing.

He is offering an incredible gift to one of my readers today– a free evaluation of your nonfiction book proposal, up to 10,000 words. He says this service is valued at $300, but I can tell you myself, it’s priceless.

You can find Ed at edcyz.com, In a Mirror Dimly, and Twitter.

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Please grab your free stuff, tell me which of the other gifts you’re hoping for and why, and share with me your writing fears and questions! (And don’t forget to share the goods with your friends.)

UPDATE: The 24-hour giveaway has ended, but please visit the authors’ sites to continue to get copies of their books. Some are still free with a newsletter or blog subscription, and the rest are available for very reasonable prices!

  • http://www.leighkramer.com hopefulleigh

    This is, indeed, a beautiful story of grace. But friend? You also deserve it. I’m excited to learn more about your book ideas and see what happens next for you.

    I sent out my first query on Monday. Today, I’m going to identify a few more agents and query them. I’m trying not to give my fears any more credence than they’re due so I’ll let you figure out what my writing fears are.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I admire you for doing the hardest thing there is in working for it– working for it. Best wishes for a “yes!”

  • kevinrhaggerty

    Congrats again Tamara. Very cool story. I’m happy for you. It’s bittersweet for me, because it shows me that hard work pays off, but it also shows me just how long it took, which means I probably still have quite a bit of waiting and working to do. I’m not great at being patient. : /

    I’d also like to announce that in conjunction with your giveaway, I will be giving away free copies of my E-book, “An Idiot’s Guide to the Galaxy,” all day today at: http://www.theisleofman.net/2012/04/my-free-e-book-idiots-guide-to-galaxy.html

    (Nevermind the fact that this is a book I give away for free every day. Today, I’m giving it away for free-er. 🙂 )

    • http://twitter.com/edcyzewski edcyzewski (@edcyzewski)

      Dang it Kevin! You’ve beaten us all!!! Ha!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I know it can get frustrating feeling like you’re just waiting your turn, and the most annoying thing is to see someone appear to just get bumped to the front of the line. That’s why I wanted to make sure you all saw some things that led up to it for me– because when you’re not actually just waiting your turn, when you’re doing even small things to move yourself forward, you can find yourself right where you wanted to be.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahBostAskins Sarah Askins (@SarahBostAskins)

    Congrats , friend. And what writer doesn’t fear rejection or sounding like a greasy used car salesman? Talking to another writer friend, she said sometimes we have to create our own luck. Whether we blog, attend conferences, do something crazy like submit work, enter contests, network with other writers. We must create our own luck, and you did just that!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      That’s right– there’s so much to do to get there, but with some blessing, it works. 🙂

  • http://communicatingacrossboundaries.wordpress.com Marilyn

    So exciting and more than glad to know that I will see a book from you and that it will be pages of your words instead of short blog posts that leave me wanting more. As for fears – It’s going all over the map and not knowing what my voice is. John Grisham said at a commencement address a couple of years ago that the hardest thing for a writer to find is their voice. Partly for me it’s because I don’t see myself as a writer in any way. I didn’t even know I could put two sentences together until a couple years ago. As a nurse I studied pathophysiology and disease process and patterns. All I really want to do is communicate and find a voice but my fear is that I am just more noise in a world with too much noise already. And because of all the above, the book I would really love is You are a Writer by Jeff Goins.
    So many congratulations to you and may the grace continue through the process. Excited for the outcome already.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thank you for being the first person to follow my commenting instructions. 😉

      • http://communicatingacrossboundaries.wordpress.com Marilyn

        hahaha! I don’t usually follow instructions so well! If I did I would never have had my wonderful 5 children….

    • http://faithchaser.wordpress.com FaithChaser

      wow, Marilyn – I can relate completely to your fear of becoming more noise in a world with too much noise already. I think that’s where I get stuck. It isn’t that I don’t want to share my story – it’s the struggle with how to tell it in some way that will make it worth your time to read.

      My fear is of telling my unique story in the same way that thousands of others have told their unique stories. It has paralyzed me. – Does that answer your question, Tamara?

      • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

        Yes, thank you both! I think finding your voice is a tremendously important part of standing out from the crowd. This is a great topic for me to work with!

  • http://throughgrayeyes.wordpress.com Through Gray Eyes

    Wow, this really is so amazing. Grace is such a beautiful thing, as are the people that God puts in our lives to help us nurture and grow in our gifts. Not everybody has those people, and that’s really heartbreaking.

    What is that verse from Jeremiah? I have a plan for you…to make you prosper? I’m not doing it justice at all, but whenever I feel like I’m making a breakthrough or hitting a goal or starting to see a dream unravel (in a good way) I think of that verse.

    I’m really excited to download “Building a Life Out of Words.” My photography project for school is a mash up of photographs and a few words. Since it’s kind of a documentary of an aspect of my life I think this book (thank God for unlimited copies!) will only help me here. I want to do more documentary photography with words stories.

    The other book that looks great is “Starting Over.” I’m there right now. I really believed I would not have a chance to start over because I was too “old,” yes, at 37 I am too old to do things. Pa-shaw! As long as the financial aid holds out, I am going to be in school trying to learn as much as I can about my craft. What I realized was at 37 I had to start over. It was start over and start living what I wanted. Now was the best time to do it.

    I have a ton of fears. That my photography isn’t cool enough or hip enough or good enough. I know I have horrible grammar but I love to tell stories and have been telling them since I was a kid. My dad is a story teller, his brother, my grandfather was too I’m sure. But I always get scared of the technical parts of writing. I hate grammar and punctuation. I just want to say what I feel and if I, want to put: a * comma where-ever, I dang well, please, by golly itsss gonna happen. But I’d like to sound smarter than that, you know? (That’s why I’d like “You are a Writer” by Jeff Goins.)

    Anyway, now I’m being silly and I just wanted to tell you that this truly is such an amazing thing! Congratulations to you!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I’m so excited that some of these books are really going to be able to meet you where you are. It’s inspiring that you rejected your own excuse for not starting over and just went for it. Love it.

      • http://throughgrayeyes.wordpress.com Through Gray Eyes

        Well, truth be told, fear has held me back from so much. If I made you a list of all the things I didnt do because of my fear, well, it would be one damn long list (somewhere in there is the Thursday night Bible studies.) I hate that. I hate how much fear has held me back. Not that I’m ready to tackle that whole list right away, but baby steps would be okay.

        • Sarah H.

          I would *LOVE* baby step # 1 to be to join us on Thursdays again 🙂 You know the door is open and we miss you!

          • http://throughgrayeyes.wordpress.com Through Gray Eyes

            I was thinking church on Sunday actually and then see what happens. I think I’m just so freaking scared of people in some way. But if I don’t put myself out there I will miss out on something, right?

          • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

            Yes! Please join us however you like, but please join us. 🙂 I miss seeing you!

  • http://modernmrsdarcy.com Anne Bogel

    Tamara, this is just awesome and I am so happy for you!! Thank you for sharing your story and honoring your roots (preschool, really??) and I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. I’m dying to know which book will be birthed first.

    And if I got lucky, I’d like Ed’s please 🙂

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thanks, Anne! Which of Ed’s are you most interested in– the book or the evaluation?

  • allenmadding

    I’ve always enjoyed writing. I did a lot of creative writing in high school and dabbled for years since. I spent 8 years working part-time as a motorsports journalist. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a collection of short stories about growing up in rural South Georgia, but have never overcome the fear of rejection with publishers.

    Among the prizes, I’m most interested in “You are a Writer”.

    Congrats. I’m proud of you!
    Allen

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I think fear of rejection is probably right at the top of most people’s lists. Especially when your writing is personal, it can feel like a rejection not just of your work, but of you. As an editor, I know this isn’t what it means, but as a writer, it sure as hell feels like it sometimes. And that’s really hard.

      This is another great topic for me to write on– thank you for sharing.

  • Amy Nabors

    Congratulations! What an affirmation of your gift that she would come to you first! I would love to win “You Are a Writer” by Jeff Goins.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      It was the craziest mixture of humbling and exciting. I think I grinned for two days straight, for real.

  • http://ridereh.wordpress.com creeperjack

    Awesome, Tamara! You totally deserved this.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Aw, thanks.

  • http://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com Rebecca Carney – One Woman’s Perspective

    What a kind, wonderful and helpful giveaway by you and your friends!! You are a writer worthy of reading, and I am so happy for you!! Congratulations!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thanks so much, Rebecca. I’m really thrilled to be able to share their great stuff with everyone!

  • http://ironicmom.wordpress.com Leanne Shirtliffe

    Love the story. Love it. We all like success stories. It’s why I used to flip to the success stories of Shape when I stood in the supermarket check out line eating a bag of salt and vinegar chips. They inspire us. You inspire us.

    I own all of those books (and have read every word of them) except for Ed’s, which I clearly need to read.

    Off to work…

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      A Path to Publishing is fantastic! I dutifully took pages of handwritten notes.

      And now I want salt & vinegar chips.

    • http://rasjacobson.com Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

      Holy crow Leanne! I just said the same thing! That is weird. Or just us.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Excited for you. This is long overdue.

    • http://meetthebuttrams.wordpress.com Meet the Buttrams

      I agree.

      • http://twitter.com/ClayMorganPA Clay Morgan (@ClayMorganPA)

        Seconded. Or thirded?

        • http://twitter.com/MichaelDPerkins Michael Perkins (@MichaelDPerkins)

          fourthed?

          • Anonymous

            PLUS INFINITY.

            I win. I ALWAYS win.

          • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

            I can only assume from your shouting caps that you’re actually Knox McCoy in disguise. And if you are, then you do kinda win– because your manifesto-manifesto was the funniest, most spot-on, unapologetically sarcastic reminder never to take myself, my “craft,” or my “pieces” too seriously. And if you’re not Knox McCoy, dear Anon., then you still win because you can get that little gem for free.

          • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

            Out of control! 🙂

            Thank you, friend. Not only for your generosity in sharing your beautiful book here, but also for reminding me in just a brief Twitter exchange that my being myself was why I was “so loved.” That helped sustain and propel me all the way to Nashville.

        • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

          Gosh, you guys! Thanks. I have a story about your encouraging me too, but you can’t handle Serious, so I’ll just keep it to myself with a grateful little smile. 🙂

      • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

        Aw, thanks, Jess. Your relentless cheerleading pre- and post-Killer-Tribes helped boosted my confidence enough that I really probably would’ve contacted Rachelle myself. I’d be like, “Jessica says she’s my NEESH!” 🙂

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thanks so much, Jeff. All your small pushes along the way were a tremendous help. Your words infuse bravery– that’s a gift.

  • http://joycannis.wordpress.com Joy

    You make my heart happy!
    Seriously. You are so deserving of everything wonderful.
    The future is very bright, friend. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thank you, always. xo

  • http://tina-hoffman@blogspot.com Tina

    That is truly the best “getting lucky” ever!!! 🙂 Congratulations!!!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Well… 😉

      Thank you!

  • http://reneeronikaklug.wordpress.com reneeronikaklug

    Yay! Thanks for the story–which didn’t sound even a little braggy. You told it straight, and it was awe-inspiring. I look forward to reading each book you write.

    • http://reneeronikaklug.wordpress.com reneeronikaklug

      I know, I know, we’re supposed to write about our greatest writing fear, but mine is too raw because it’s kinda coming true, against my grandest efforts and deepest hopes: I fear what I write will be ignored.

      • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

        Well, my dear, you are far too gifted to allow that. So please, don’t.

        This is a hard one– thank you for sharing it. I will think about it and see what good I might be able to do to encourage you and, I am certain, plenty of others. xo

        Also: Have you read The Writer’s Manifesto?

  • http://janheath1234.wordpress.com Off the Wall

    Tamara, you’ve earned it, you deserve it, so happy for you! I almost bought Jeff Goins book “You are a writer” yesterday, so I guess that means I liked it. But I love ALL books, so any is fine for me.

    My biggest fear about writing is that I expose my vunerability too much.

  • http://austingilly.wordpress.com Austin Gilly

    I have had my eye on “You Are A Writer” for a while, I just haven’t been able to spare the few bucks. That is the one I would like to get. 🙂

    Congrats on the progress! It’s nice to see someone ahead of me making progress. It is a great encouragement!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I’m so glad you feel encouraged, Austin. Besides being afraid of sounding braggy, I was also worried that I’d frustrate people who looked at this as a falling-in-my-lap. But I guess, even if it is that to some degree, it can still be encouraging because it shows that when God has a plan for you, it happens, in spite of your own scaredycattedness. 🙂

      • http://austingilly.wordpress.com Austin Gilly

        That’ll preach! It may have come to you rather than you seeking it out, but that doesn’t mean it fell in your lap. You put in long hours and it was noticed, and I can never be mad at that, just maybe a little jealous. 🙂

  • http://everydayawe.wordpress.com Stephanie Spencer

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story, and for these wonderful gifts! I have been wanting to read Shawn Smucker’s book- this removed my excuses.

    My fear? That I will make the wrong decision about whether writing is the path for me. I love so many things: the reflection & the creative process to name a few. But in other ways, I don’t fit the mold. I am an extrovert. I love the opportunity to work with & help people. What keeps me going in writing is times I know I have done that with my words.

    I wonder if I am not a writer, but a teacher. I can teach through my written words, I hope, but maybe that is secondary to teaching through my spoken ones?

    I am at a crossroads of deciding whether to keep pursuing writing or go back to pastoral ministry, or somehow, both. I don’t know whether it is worth doing the legwork involved in writing proposals and finding an agent at this stage of my life. Either decision is scary.

    So, I would love to have the gift of Ed’s proposal review- if I actually had a proposal for him to look at. But perhaps his path to publishing book would be better for me at this stage.

    Wishing you well on your journey forward from here!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Well, a writer or two (or six, above) has been known to want to help people, so I don’t think you’re automatically disqualified. 😉 I understand what you mean, though– it’s much less scary to travel a hard road if at least you feel you belong there. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://virtualstowaway.wordpress.com jonahstowe

    I think my anxiety is being new to writing for blogs and incorporating the personal components that make the writing come alive. I’ve written a lot professionally, but academic writing is a whole different animal. So I’m working on developing writing skills that work well in this genre, bringing texture to the writing that gives it a sense of reality. And as far as the books go, I’ve heard good things about this Goins fellow. But McCoy seems pretty hilarious too, plus he’s named after a famous space doctor.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I think you’re doing a great job of weaving personal narrative into your blog posts. I have literally never read a video game/faith/culture blog that I enjoy as much as yours. And that has next to nothing to do with the fact that I’m not a gamer. 🙂

      Pretty much everything Jeff puts out has the potential to inspire– The Writer’s Manifesto is a great place to get a quick, worthwhile start. And yeah, Knox is one of my very funniest friends– everyone needs to grab his ridiculous manifesto-manifesto.

  • http://algarveblogdotnet.wordpress.com ferragudofan

    thanks for the freebies!
    happy to leave someone else to win one of the other prizes
    and Good Luck with your future journey – very exciting – looking forward to reading your book(s) in the future

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      My pleasure! The guys were really generous.

  • http://coexistdocumentary.org Adam

    Your willingness to expose yourself bravely and publicly in so many ways, including this post, is surely part of the reason this that you have the opportunity to share this story. Grace, maybe. Hard work and dedication to your craft and openness to advice and improvement…. definitely.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Well thanks. Yes, there was a lot that went into it, as you got a glimpse of here, but I definitely see grace dotted all along the way. I could have been born without the gift at all, you know? Grateful I get to tell the story. 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/klablanc Kirsten LaBlanc

    Thank you. I just read Starting Over “A Manifesto on Being Yourself.” & it moved me a lot. I have just begun to realize that I write and I create and it doesn’t really matter if I think no one cares. I can only move someone if I am myself and honest. I lack self confidence though. So, with that, I would love to have the gift of a book proposal ( i do have an idea) however, if I am not ready for it, I would also just be grateful for The Writers Manifesto by Jeff Goins

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Like Starting Over, The Writer’s Manifesto is very inspiring. And like you, I know all about the power to move people through being my honest self, and also, about lacking confidence.

      Maybe that would be a good topic for me to write on– though I’d have to share it as a journey-thus-far. ‘Cause I’m not all the way there yet. But I’m closer than I was. 🙂

  • sonnylemmons

    If I say I’m happy for you, it’s an understatement. If I say I’m proud of and for you, they’re both – again – understatements. Like you, I’ve got that “book burn” inside of me (as opposed to burning books); it’s something I’ve denied, something I’ve tried to ignore through self-doubt and insecurities, and yet somehow, some people think I don’t completely suck at slinging words together. I’m not GREAT by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m apparently better than I give myself credit for. I’ve tried the route of writing a proposal, and I have gotten a wide variety of beautiful rejection letters from agents and publishers. I’ve gotten some great feedback from friends, colleagues and pros, and while the “thanks but no thanks” from the publishing side of life always is discouraging, it’s never disheartening.

    You? Friend, you deserve this. The WORLD deserves this. Yours is a voice that needs to be heard (…read?…). No one I know is more deserving of this honor. Period.

    As for what I’d like to win? I mean, yeah, I’d go for the brass ring of the proposal evaluation, but I’d be happy with “A Path To Publishing.” Or maybe one of those chocolate chip cookies you mentioned earlier.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I’m so glad you’re not disheartened. You have such a dear heart. xo

  • http://multiplyblessedmama.wordpress.com multiplyblessedmama

    Keep up the good work!

    What I’d like to win is the book “you are a writer” or heck any of the other books….

    This month marks me finishing a writing for children correspondence course that I started way back when I was pregnant and on bedrest with the twins. Put on hold off and on not only due to life’s busyness and not being disciplined enough to make writing time but the fear of not being ‘good enough’.. heck you can see by my poor grammar I have a long ways to go 😀

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      The fear of not being good enough. Yes. I know this one. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://goguiltypleasures.wordpress.com gojulesgo

    Wow – I can’t thank you enough for sharing this story with us! I just think it’s incredible that you were about to take the plunge and contact her, only to find out she’d reached out to you! That is truly amazing, and I hope you know how awesome you are 🙂

    I was going to say hearing your story was enough of a prize for me -which of course it is- but that nonfiction book proposal evaluation from Ed Cyzewski seems too wonderful to ignore! After trying unsuccessfully to query literary agencies in NY, I think it would be a great push forward for me to have an evaluation from a professional! A lifelong dream of mine has been to publish memoirs, and lately I’ve been assuming I would have to go the independent route.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I can’t get over the timing– that’s one of the coolest parts of the story to me.

      And yeah, that gift is awesome. I hated writing my (unfinished, unsent- ha!) proposal, and if I’d had someone to guide me, it would have been so much less frustrating.

  • http://twitter.com/prestonyancey Preston Yancey (@prestonyancey)

    I am so excited for you and the more-than-a-few books you have in you to write and to curate in the years to come! (And you know, we share similar stories of these things finding us unexpectedly.) I won’t enter to win anything, or share a fear except the one that seems the most obvious, that now all the bookishness happens, nothing will come out of me to say. What I will repeat, though, is how absolutely and completely right this is. All things in the fullness of time and this, truly, was a long time in the making. Love you, friend!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Totally, totally get that fear. But I figure either the path was ordered so we’d have these books to fill or else some better turn would come from it.

  • Sarah H.

    I’m glad you wrote this. And far from boasting about yourself, you followed the Biblical directive to “boast in the LORD!” When we point to the amazing ways he has guided our paths, and woven our experiences and our learning and our work into great opportunities for which we are uniquely qualified, it all points to him!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      I thought of a line from a song we sing at church when I wrote about not bragging because it was all grace. Betcha can guess which one. 🙂

  • http://reconcilingviewpoints.wordpress.com reconciling viewpoints

    Not to get all theological or anything, but do you realize why Jesus promised to come back again someday? He KNEW that there would be chocolate chip cookies.

    Seriously though, very happy for and proud of you. And it’s so great that you see the big picture design, that this was God’s plan for you from day one (or before day one, even.) A lot of successful people don’t have the humility to understand where their success came from.

    As far as your prizes, I already have most of the books — the only ones I’m missing are Michael’s and Ed’s books. And although I agree that Ed’s offer to review a nonfiction proposal is a great prize, it would be a waste if it were to go to me — I’m probably at least a year or two away from needing a review.

    Not surprised at all the Rachelle wanted to work with you — the best typically want to work with the best.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thank you, friend. If I ever forget that my gifts come from God, I sincerely hope He suspends them til I can see straight again. It breaks my heart to see gifted people give a middle finger or, worse, a blind eye to the Giver.

  • http://www.projectpaperie.blogspot.com Gabrielle

    First of all, I am so excited for you and I can’t wait to read your book!
    My worst fear is that I will not be effective with my life. I’m still in high school, but I worry all the time about making the right choices in my future. I don’t know whether God wants me to write or not. That scares me because I wonder if I’ll make any difference through my writing or if God has a better, different plan for my life.
    I’d love to win “The Writer’s Manifesto” by Jeff Goins. I enjoy his blog and am sure his book is fantastic as well.

  • crookedmystic

    I love a good tale of grace & this is definitely a large piping hot plate of chocolate chipped talent and beauty of prose with a sprinkling of grace on top:).

    I love when authenticity is given the nod it deserves–you created a space that reads like “you” and that you is grace in itself. Thank you for sharing your beautiful literary DNA with the blogosphere.

    I look forward to seeing what books you have in you. I’m still working on mine but they sluggishly plod along ….tapping me, irritated, on the shoulder every weekend asking (In a British accent–I don’t know why) “excuse me, pardon, but I’m a bit hungry.” My poor impoverished prose…just looking for me to fill its belly with some adjectives, and nouns, and verbs, oh my.

    I look forward to hearing more about your agented writer life! You deserve all the goodness that comes your way.

    Ps: I too have a literary agent crush (is that a thing?) on Rachelle Gardner. Not only does she represent wonderful authors but I peaked at her reading list pintrest the other day and all her favorites are not just my favorites but in the same pile of read and reading beside my bed!

    Blessings to you and your deserved bit of grace–I know, that’s something of an oxymoronic paradox :).

    • http://www.facebook.com/tb.pasquale TB Pasquale

      Also, thanks for the great writing resources…love them!

  • http://ferventrunning.wordpress.com Kim Wilson

    I can’t wait to be able to say, “I knew her when…” 🙂 Such great news for such a neat gal. Excited to see where these new opportunities lead you. Thanks, too, for the freebies.

  • http://twitter.com/sarahbessey Sarah Bessey (@sarahbessey)

    This isn’t an entry, just a SQUEEEE of joy. And congrats. And I can’t wait to hold your words in a book in my cold Canadian hands.

  • http://www.staceysmotheringmoments.com Stacey

    What a wonderful story. I’m so glad you shared it. I am on my own journey and every time I see a success, it encourages me a little. Because I think if all of you fabulous writers can do it, then in time, I can too! Awesome!!

  • kevinrhaggerty

    Ok, so, I didn’t follow the “comment posting guidelines” earlier, so I’ll give it another go. 🙂

    My preferred prize would be the non-fiction book proposal evaluation by Ed. Why? First off, Ed’s a great dude. Any excuse to have conversations with him = winning. Second, I’m really hoping to put together a book proposal this summer. It would mean a lot to me to get it in front of the eyes of someone wise and experienced like Ed. This prize would mean a lot to me.

    Writing fears: Not that people will hate what I write, but that they’ll be indifferent or not care. Like most writers, I hate hearing crickets after I post something. It makes the labor seem meaningless, even though I know that isn’t true. I also fear that I’m not progressing, but I work hard to make sure this also isn’t true.

    Writing questions: Has there ever been a time when you seriously considered quitting writing? If so, what did you tell yourself or what did you use to motivate yourself to keep plugging along?

    Thanks for all you do Tamara. I (along with many others) felt like it was a victory for us all when you signed. I like to feel/hope like I’m on your team. I support you fully, that is for sure!

  • alisewrite

    My biggest writing fear is that I’ll be boring. That I’ll just be another voice in the really, really big crowd.

    I hope to win the proposal evaluation. I’m re-writing my rejected proposal and having Ed give a look at it would be pretty sweet.

    • sonnylemmons

      Alise, if YOU are boing, then I clearly have no pulse. You’re far more exciting than I am, so if you don’t have a pulse, the rest of us are clinically dead. Except Tamara. UNless she published posthumously.

      REJECTED PROPOSAL TWIN POWERS – activate!

  • http://www.whimsywords.blogspot.com/ Julie Anne

    WOW, that is awesome!! Congratulations, you deserve it! … as a mostly lurker, you’ve gotten me to comment with the hopes of winning Jeff Goins book “You Are a Writer” because mostly I still have a fear of proclaiming it for myself!!

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles (@cupojoegirl)

    Congratulations! What a cool journey. However, I am still holding onto my dream of one day sitting down with God and having a tall glass of milk and some chocolate chip cookies. 😉

  • http://www.larryhehn.com Larry Hehn

    Way to go, Tamara. Congratulations!
    I’d love to receive the nonfiction book proposal evaluation. I’ve had a book burning inside me for a while now. I’m in the process of assembling a book proposal, and would really appreciate some professional feedback!

  • http://twitter.com/wildpokerman Roland Martinez (@wildpokerman)

    I work for a company where we do transactions that carry some degree of risk to the company and the customers. I used to check with my supervisors to make sure I was doing things right. When I was promoted to a supervisory position, there was no-one to check with and I realized “I am a supervisor” so I was comfortable and capable of making risky decisions myself.

    I love writing, but being a writer isn’t part of my identity and I don’t put the effort and level of professionalism I would like to into my writing. I would love Jeff Goins book, You Are a Writer, because I think it would give me the perspective and permission to act like a professional. And thank you for your story!

  • Jennifer Cook

    The description of “You are a Writer” has been the very call to my soul this week. Forgetting the schedules (while still keeping them), but truly just ducking my head, closing my eyes, and clikcing away at the keyboard until the flow meets ebb and the fingers still of their words. Writing the words from my spirit, writing the words that scare me, and putting it all out there, regardelss of whether I walk away limping–because Jacob walked away from God with a limp, and he was a better man for it.

  • http://juliesunne.wordpress.com juliesunne

    Congratulations! It’s wonderful when a fellow writer gets a big break! God is Good! I would love to win the nonfiction book proposal review. Hoping to have a book ready to pitch in a couple months. Jeff Goins’ You Are a Writer would also be great.

  • Merritt | LiveSimplyLove

    I am a writer and I write every day, but I am not consistently writing what I want to write. I’d love a copy of Jeff’s You Are A Writer. I’ve had a book in me as long as I can remember but I haven’t started it whether out of fear or lack of time or commitment to the cause. I loved reading your story. Grace upon grace…and I am excited to watch what happens next!

  • http://www.gatebeautiful.ca Bekka

    Tamara! I’m so happy for you! 🙂 And to be honest, not the least bit surprised – sometimes it’s easier for people standing on the outside to see the path we’re heading down before we can.

    I think my biggest fear about writing is not being relevant. I so often feel that I’m the only one going through what I’m going through, or coming to the realization that just hit me over the head. And I feel like sharing it will lessen the significance of it, sometimes, though I’ve seen it proved otherwise on occasion.

    Given that, I think “You Are A Writer” would probably fit the best.

  • http://rasjacobson.com Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

    I have been so busy these last 48 hours, I plum-missed this. Good thing I have read everyone’s books — except Ed’s. He is new to me. Congratulations on all your good stuff. May He guide you from strength to strength. And he does. 🙂

  • http://happyhippierose.wordpress.com happyhippierose

    I don’t want any e-books (and I know I missed the deadline anyways) – just wanted to offer my congrats! You’re an amazing writer, I love your voice – and your gift deserves to be shared with many. I’m so glad God has graced you with an agent and I wish you the best of luck getting your ideas and words into books and then getting them out to the world!!

  • http://subhanzein.wordpress.com Subhan Zein

    Amazing!! Congratulations to you! 🙂 I’m waiting for the day to come when this happens to me too. 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  • http://scream911.wordpress.com youhavemyword

    I don’t think “living the dream” even begins to describe what it is you’ve described. Through in some Divinity, and you’ve got yourself a much bigger party! (Pity about the choc chip cookies… for God, and me). I am very relieved too that you said “books” in you, and not just “book”. This means there is more to come. And the journey does not end here.

    “Congratulations” or “Well Done” or “Good Job” or “Woo hoo” doesn’t do justice enough to the hours, the caffeine, the care, the overtime, the square eyes, the tears, the laughs, the everything-in-between-from-the-moment-an-idea-comes-to-the-moment-it-has-life on your side, and it sure doesn’t encapsulate the incredible anointed grace that seeps through your writing easier than a spring through desert sand. So… take all of those together and throw in a couple “Praise Jesus” and “Hallelujah” shouts and you should be on your way to knowing a little of how I’d like to acknowledge this.

    They never said getting lucky was easy 😉

    • http://scream911.wordpress.com youhavemyword

      Apparently I’m a writer, and can’t even spell “throw” correctly. Brain fart. Sorry.

  • Pingback: Your Turn to Get Lucky (giveaway winners announced!) | Tamára Out Loud()

  • http://wordofawoman.wordpress.com word of a woman

    Thrilled to have come across your blog. I would love it if you stopped by mine sometime and gave me your thoughts. You will find it at:
    http://www.wordofawoman.com

  • http://twitter.com/GDRPempress Good Day, Reg People (@GDRPempress)

    JUST the words I needed to hear, and the sources I needed to find, and the kick in the butt I needed to get.

    THANK YOU.

  • http://progresspublishing.wordpress.com akinbowale

    Reblogged this on BookRepublic.

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