So Long, 2013…HELLO, 2014!

happy new year dog

2013 was an amazing year full of ups and downs, gain and loss, joy and sadness. I lost 3 dear friends, one of whom was in his 30s, one of whom was just a few years younger than I, and one of whom I’ve known since I was 2 years old. We in the industry lost so many–some, like wonderful agent and friend Lee Hough and the amazing Diann Hunt–far sooner than any of us wished. The joy? They all were solid in their faith in Christ, so we’ll see them again. But saying good-bye is never easy. Thank God for his peace and comfort. And HOPE!

Professionally, it’s been a whiz-bang year. It’s always such fun to discover and sign new clients, and it’s even more fun to see clients, existing and new, find publishing homes! As I’ve walked through the many steps on this publishing journey with clients, from the blissful “We’ve received an offer!” to the turbulent “Whatever made me think I could write??”, I’ve been reminded why I love this industry so much.

The people. Publishing people–be they writers, editors, agents, marketers, readers—are a breed apart. They ooze creativity and passion. Their words range from succinct and beautiful to gritty and authentic. They live each day with such…determination! Such drive for excellence. I see it everyday in my clients–these people devoted to serving their readers, to honoring God in their work and lives. I see it in the agents I work with in our agency. Steve, Tamela, and Dan are not just talented professionals, they are committed to living, speaking, and serving as Christ leads. I’m honored to be a part of this amazing team.

I traveled more in 2013 than I’ve done in years. Twelve trips in all! I got to take part in writers’ conferences and industry conventions, to lead workshops and women’s retreats, to brainstorm and be blessed. From Canada to California, from Indianapolis to Idaho, from Washington State to Oklahoma City to Michigan, I’ve met and talked with people who are passionate about words and God. As they—you!–shared the ups and downs of 2013, I saw more courage, more reliance on God, more grace than ever before. I’ve been humbled and inspired. You, all of you, make this publishing gig a gift. Thank you.

The projects. Be it a novel that captures and transports me, a humorous book that leaves me aching from laughter, a nonfiction book that sparks a realization that changes my thinking…whatever the kind of book I work with, I’m constantly amazed at the ways God speaks in our words and messages. He created the world with a Word. How kind of Him to invite us to join Him in that creative process with our own words.

The purpose. It’s no secret: the world continues to grow increasingly hostile toward God and His truth (as evidenced by December’s Duck Dynasty dust-up—sheesh!) . Over and over again this last year–as industry changes pulled the rug out from under so many, as publishing imprints were dissolved and contracts cancelled, as doors closed and new opportunities opened–I saw and heard people in the industry reminding each other that our purpose is more than just writing and selling books. We’re bringing people more than just words on a page. We’re bringing them the living Word. We’re sharing encouragement, hope, and TRUTH. When we continually submit our painstakingly crafted sentences to God; when we trust that HE is in control of not just our careers, but our lives; when we remember that none of what we’ve faced has come as a surprise to Him—the results are amazing. We can face each day in the sure knowledge that we’re doing what He’s asked us to do. And whether our books change the world or one aching and weary heart, it’s worth it. Every moment of struggle, work, and vulnerability is worthwhile. Because we’re serving Him.

Yes, 2013 held it’s challenges—what year doesn’t? But it also overflowed with moments of true joy and celebration. With constant reminders that we aren’t on this journey alone.–that the God of all creation, The WORD, is with us. And just as He held 2013 in His hands, he’s got this new year covered as well. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for all of us. Whatever that is, you can be sure it will serve to refine us, to make us into clearer reflections of Him. And my friends…

You can’t ask for better than that.

Have a truly blessed 2014.

12 Responses to So Long, 2013…HELLO, 2014!

  1. Reba J. HOffman January 8, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    Amazing post, Karen. Simply amazing. Thank you for putting so eloquently what I’ve been feeling in my heart.

  2. Terri Weldon January 8, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    Karen, I’m one of the lucky folks who benefitted from your many travels in 2013. Thanks for sharing your talents and time and thanks for a great post.

  3. Robin Patchen January 8, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Well said. This industry is amazing, and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. And I was fortunate enough to hear you speak in OKC last year. What a treat!

  4. Lee Carver January 8, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    These are encouraging words, Karen, and strong evidence of your own writing ability to excite and cast visions. I’ve finally pulled your “Breaking Point” from my TBR stack, and wish I’d gotten to it sooner. As well as enjoying the story, I’m studying an example of how it should be done.

  5. Sandy Nadeau January 8, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    Karen, I just loved your post. It really touched and encouraged me today. I might have to print this one out. Marvelous things to think about and believe in. Thank you. Blessings to you for 2014!

  6. Rebecca Barlow Jordan January 8, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    So well said, Karen!

  7. Patti Jo Moore January 8, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Wonderful post, Karen—bless you! Reading your words actually gave me goosebumps (the very good kind) and made me take a moment to stop and remember the main reason I’m on this journey. Thank you!! :) Happy New Year from Georgia, Patti Jo

  8. J.D. Maloy January 8, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Can I take that dog home with me please? My kids asked for one for Christmas and didn’t get one so…

    I’m over the moon for what the Lord does in 2014 as well because eight days in and my cup is overflowing! Trust and obey, trust and obey. What a comfort to know that the Lord has what’s best for us this year already planned out. All we have to do is show up to be guided.

    Lee, I’m sending you kudos right now. Studying this craft is a fantastic way to grow your own. I wish you the best!

  9. Amy Hauser January 8, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    I loved this entry today, Karen. The reminders and reflections are beautiful and perspective insightful. Thanks for some bless-ed reminders!

  10. Ron Estrada January 8, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Another inspirational post, Karen. 2013 brought me a rekindled desire to live this dream of being an author. I met a lot of wonderful people at the ACFW conference (including you) and have made some great friends. I look forward to your posts. You are always an encouragement.

  11. Julie Surface Johnson January 8, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Amen! Thank you for your heart-felt words of wisdom.

  12. Sondra Kraak January 10, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Karen, as always, your words are a blessing. I’ve been so encouraged in 2013 as I’ve become more acquainted with the publishing world by the humility and passion or agents and editors. The commitment to follow and honor Christ is evident. Happy 2014.

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