When I attended the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in 2007—or perhaps the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference—I had an editor appointment with a representative of Harvest House Publishing. She invited me to submit a sample of my current novel manuscript, and I did that almost as soon as I got home.
A few weeks later, I received a message from Kimberly, a different Harvest House acquisitions editor. Although she explained that they didn’t publish the type of manuscript I’d submitted, she went out of her way to tell me how much she liked my writing and to assure me that my time would come. Probably sooner than later.
That encouragement—and her willingness to look at some of my other manuscripts—kept me from getting overly discouraged for the next twelve months.
“Sure. Send me fifteen pages.”
“Send me the whole thing, please.”
On Friday of that week, I got home from work and found a message from Kimberly asking me to read it from the bottom up. It was a series of messages and responses in which Kimberly convinced Mr. Terry Burns of Hartline Literary that Found in the Translation needed to be in print. And he agreed to become my agent without my having to do anything. None of the usual hoops to jump through in trying to acquire him as an agent.
I never had a chance to tell Terry this, but he was one of my top three choices of agents to try to talk with at the upcoming ACFW conference.
Yet thanks to Kimberly’s belief in me—kindness that far exceeded what an acquisitions editor is willing to do for an aspiring writer—I became agented, and Terry sold my first two Young Adult books to Barbour Publishing a year later. Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams released in the spring and summer of 2011. The Devil and Pastor Gus came out in November of 2014.
Although I’m in the process of changing agents, I will never cease to be thankful to Kimberly for her kindness and encouragement and to Terry for a job well done.
I hope I’ll be in a position to help someone else that way some day.
Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church choir and plays bass on the praise team and guitar at the weekly nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger has two published Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, and a speculative satire, The Devil and Pastor Gus. He also has eight unpublished novels and a work-in-progress.