Just Keep on Building


This popped up in my FB memories today. Something I wrote four years ago this month. The manuscript that kept being rejected became The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

God brought me together with the right editor (I ?? you, Kelsey Bowen!), the right publisher (I ?? you, Revell!), and eventually the right agent (I ?? you, Jessie Kirkland!). Of course, having a strong and appealing query letter can also help attract the right people but I can’t help but feel there was a guiding hand behind it all.

It didn’t happen the way I thought it would. It didn’t happen in the usual way. God took the “normal” order of things and made a glorious mess of it all.

So if you’re still waiting for that first “Yes” or you’re thinking there’s only one way it can be done, or you’re just not sure if you can handle one more rejection…just keep your eyes on Him. Stay true to what He is telling you. And if you aren’t sure what it is that He wants you to do, don’t you think it’s time you ask? And then just keep on building.

January 25, 2015

I received the most wonderful, personal rejection today. Honestly, it was wonderful. And frustrating and depressing, of course, but that’s not the agent’s fault…

I was told that I am ahead of my time. My novel, she said, echoes the sentiment of many Christian women, and Christian fiction authors. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “the Christian market hasn’t gotten there yet.” In the next paragraph (Yes…paragraph!) she wrote, “And I’m afraid it is too Christian for the general market publishers too.” She went on to say that she is sure there is a publisher out there willing to take a chance, but that she doesn’t believe she is the right agent to find them.

Fair, honest, thoughtful, encouraging, and discouraging all at the same time.
I told you. I told you that this is what I was going to run into. Why can’t I just write something which fits in the mold? Just once?

I’m okay with this rejection. In fact, I loved this rejection – despite the fact that the agent and her agency were high on my list of dream agents.

This is the rejection that I will look back on someday and say, “Well, yeah…that was the point.”

The point is that Christian readers are ready for this book. And you know what? I think that non-Christian readers are ready for it too.

“If you build it, they will come.”

So I’ll keep building. Right now I’m standing alone in my corn field, with everyone looking at me like I’m crazy.

But I’ve just got to keep on building.

About Bethany Turner 25 Articles
Bethany Turner is the bestselling, award-winning author of romantic comedies such as Plot Twist and The Do-Over. She has been writing since the second grade, when she won her first writing award for explaining why, if she could have lunch with any person throughout history, she would choose John Stamos. She stands by this decision. Bethany now writes pop culture–infused rom-coms for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. She lives in Southwest Colorado with her husband, whom she met in the nineties in a chat room called Disco Inferno. As sketchy as it sounds, it worked out pretty well in this case, and they are now the proud parents of two teenagers. Connect with Bethany at seebethanywrite.com or across social media @seebethanywrite, where she clings to the eternal dream that John Stamos will someday send her a friend request.


  1. Oh my dear Bethany, this made me cry for so may reasons! But mainly because I’m so incredibly proud of you, what you’ve accomplished and the simple fact that YOU and GOD Are Changing Things Up! You are listening to our Father and courageously marching forward in HIS WILL! This is a heartfelt congratulations and “atta girl” on SO MANY LEVELS!

  2. I LOVED The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck!! Several friends now have copies also. It was so refreshing to read a story about “real life”. The same old formulaic sanitized characters gets so boring. Keep doing what you are doing. I have been eagerly waiting for your next book since I finished Sarah.

    • Lisa, THANK YOU! That sort of feedback means more to me than I could possibly tell you. I’m THRILLED that you loved TSLOSH, and I absolutely can not wait to introduce you to Cadie McCaffrey.

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