Pursuing the Writing Dream

pursuing the writing dream

[Guest post by Amanda Luedeke – Meet my literary agent! She is not only talented but a fellow millennial. I am so excited to not only introduce you to her, but her new book The Extroverted Writer. If you are needing marketing/platform help, this eBook is for you. Leave a comment below to win a free copy.]

When people find out I’m a literary agent, they almost always tell me about a book idea they have.

I work with authors to sell their books to publishing houses. If it’s not a book idea, it’s a manuscript they’re working on–or the story idea that just won’t leave them alone.

This happens so much that many in the publishing business will joke,

Everyone has a book inside them.”

While many may talk about their book ideas or publishing aspirations, few are actually doing anything about them.

It’s the dream that easily gets eaten by life and kids and spouses and commitments and, yes, television and movies and all of those forms of entertainment that soak up our time.

But I say it’s time to put an end to the cycle.

It’s time to pursue that story idea or nonfiction book or personal memoir you’ve been dying to write.

And for those of you who have written, but are sitting on your manuscript, keeping it locked away, it’s time to show it to friends, family, and maybe even some industry professionals. It’s time to get it looked at in case the words help others. In case you’re sitting on something that God wants to use.

And for those of you who have written and are trying to make a go at publishing, it’s time to get serious about pursuing the writing dream.

It’s time to make this a priority.

It’s time to listen to that voice inside that is telling you to go for it.

I’m 29 years old—fairly young for a literary agent. My story of following my writing dream goes something like this…

I’ve always liked to write. So despite disapproving looks from some of my elders, I pursued it in college and graduated with a BA in Professional Writing. Most with this kind of degree don’t do much with it. They end up working in banks or insurance offices or for lawyers. Shortly after college, I wasn’t much different. I waitressed for a year and a half while I desperately searched for a “real” job.

During this time I felt God calling me to be an admissions counselor. So, for that year and a half, I applied to every such opening I stumbled upon, and eventually, I was hired at my alma mater.

I loved being an admissions counselor, so when the school closed nine months after I took the job, I felt lost and confused.

How could God put such a desire in my heart only to take it away?

It just so happened that during those few months on the job, I met Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, who was working at the school as a visiting professor. After the school closed, I took a job at a local marketing firm, but I also began to do work for Chip.For the next three years, I maintained my full time marketing job while also working part time for Chip.

And in fall of 2011, I went full time as an agent.

The funny thing is that being an agent is very similar to being an admissions counselor. Except now I work with books and authors instead of students and their parents. And what’s even better is my writing degree–that little degree that had felt like a hobby–is being put to good use.

I followed my heart. I followed my love for writing and then my passion for admissions.

I did what I felt God wanted me to do. And now I’m privileged to work as an agent in an art industry that I love.

I want to challenge you to follow your dream—follow that desire that God has placed on your life.

And if that desire involves getting your author career going (whether you’re planning to epublish, self-publish, or traditionally publish), maybe I can give you a head start.

I wrote a book about building an author platform. As I said before, my background is in marketing, and so I love helping writers think through brand-building and promotions and all that good stuff. I love it because it’s the nuts and bolts behind whether a book and an author career will be a success. It’s the one controllable element amidst a bunch of randomness.

For anyone ready to take that next step in their publishing career, I’m giving away one free copy of my book, The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform. This book is for the published and unpublished…pro’s and newbies alike. In it, I talk about author websites and blogs and Facebook and Twitter and other devices that can be used to build a platform and get noticed.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment below, telling a bit about how YOU plan to take the next step toward your writing dream.

A winner will be chosen at random on April 19.

The book will be gifted in the form of a Smashwords download coupon.

Amanda LuedekeAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

[Photo credit: bingbing via photopin cc]

47 comments on “Pursuing the Writing Dream”

  1. Dawn Wilson says:

    I am 62 years old – on the other end of the spectrum, Amanda – and I know the dream never dies. I’m still pursuing, still building a platform (with my limited understanding), and still using what God teaches me in the process. Maybe I should write a book about The Grammy Platform! Hmmmmm…

    But yes, please enter me in your giveaway drawing. And thanks for encouraging us to follow our heart and cultivate the dream God planted when He created us.

    1. Many authors get their start after their kids are out of the house! So you’re totally not alone. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Well I am 42 – so in the middle of the spectrum 😉 and I have had roles like Mom and Wife and Church-goer, just the every day life stuff, push the dream aside. RIght now – as I am nearing an empty nest – I am refocused, and dreaming once again. My short term goals right now are to blog consistently every week, as well as be a Contributing Writer and Guest Blogger, and to work on artwork to accompany the Children’s book I have completed.

    Longer term would be to write the other few books in that series, and edit edit edit to compile an essay/devotional style book too.

    To be honest – it’s all the business side of writing that can easily sway me back to the busy parts of daily life, and push the dream aside! It sounds like your book could help woo me back and give practical tips to stay focused!

    1. Haha, yes, my book is very practical. 🙂 But still, even if that side of things is daunting, I think it’s worth pursuing writing if it’s something you love! It’s so easy to lose YOU amidst the responsibilities of life. Writing is a great way to hold on to that side of you.

  3. Mandy says:

    Nice to meet you, Amanda! I’m 30, an SLP, and have felt a push in the area of writing. It is SO true that life can sweep us away from the pursuit and determination to write. I am attending a writers conference by Proverbs 31 Ministries this summer and can’t wait to soak it all up! Take care!

    1. What a WONDERFUL next step. Very cool!

  4. Our stories are similar, Amanda, in that I’ve got a BA in Writing (mine was general rather than professional) and at 23 am working in marketing at my alma mater rather than pursuing publication (my real dream).

    1. Hey, keep at it! You never know what the smallest thing will bring 🙂

  5. Sheila says:

    Thank you, just purchased your book

    1. Thank you SO much!

  6. Brett Wilson says:

    Hey, Amanda! Loved your story—I could SO relate. I, too, began working as a waitress while I waited for my “real” job and to pay my way through grad school. And while I wouldn’t give up my journalism degree for anyone, I also wouldn’t give up my years in the food industry. It was there that I learned that people are the best, and the worst. And that everyone–the family with messy children who leave you a ten percent tip, and the random stranger who tacks on an extra fifty dollars to their check–has a story.

    I finally scored a job at my alma mater in their public relations and marketing department. I’m loving every minute, telling the stories of students, faculty and staff members of my university. I’m also working on a manuscript that tells a non-fictional “fairy tale of faith and singlehood.” I’m hoping my story as a single twenty-something in the midst of trials in faith and watching my friends and family members get the sparkly rock and march down the aisle before me will be an asset to other searching single girls like me.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story! Be encouraged! (And keep at it!).

  7. Jeanne Cesena says:

    Hi Amanda, I would love to read your book. I am a new writer just wrote a blog for Renee it was Living in a Step Family. I would like to write more about my story of hope and healing through the love of Jesus Christ.

    1. Wow, blogging is a huge gateway for sharing personal stories. It’s very cool that door has opened for you.

  8. I love hearing how-I-followed-the-dream stories. 🙂 It can be really hard to pursue a dream in the midst of…well, life…but I just hang on to the fact that I know this is what I want to do, what God has me doing, and what I can do to affect and change the world. And in the meantime, it’s affecting and changing me. I’m learning and growing. And to those who know me, they’d say I definitely “come alive” when I talk about writing and books and such.
    Please don’t enter me in the drawing, as I’ve already read (and LOVED!) Amanda’s book.

    1. Thanks for reading! And I’m cheering for you! You’ve got this.

  9. Laura L. Smith says:

    Amanda, this is an incredible story. I love seeing how God maneuvers us through life, getting us exactly where we’re supposed to be, although we don’t always see where He’s taking us as it occurs. I have two next steps in achieving my writing dream. 1. Finish writing the third book in my current Status Updates series for a fall release 2. Market the first two books in the series like crazy. I’m so grateful God led you to being an agent. He knew exactly what he was doing (as always).

  10. Catherine says:

    Just like you, I have loved writing for a very long time. I never thought about how or why, but I knew it would be part of my life. After I graduated college, the how and why became a little more relevant: how do you create a life around something so difficult and often elusive?

    Now, I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m submitting pieces for publication (and trying to forget I sent them ’cause waiting stinks!), and I’m working on applying to MFA programs. If there’s one thing these tumultuous years out of college are teaching me, it is that God uses little things to shape your life. The unexpected often hold a lot of potential.

    1. Sounds like you’re off to a good start. Yes, one foot in front of the other.

  11. Candice Mitchell says:

    This is awesome! The inspiration is completely mind-blowing! With this book, I’d finally start that book on my heart I’ve put off since college.
    Thanks for this post 🙂

  12. Olivia Anderson says:

    I love that you had the courage to follow your dream no matter what. One if my dreams is to write fiction, I struggle to stick with an idea because I keep hearing its not good enough, it’s not original enough, it won’t capture and agent or publishers attention because they always talk about being blown away and I’m too plain to blow one away. I used to think I didn’t have ideas but I realized I don’t have confidence in them when I try to build them, so I scrap them. I’m really torn and its driving me crazy.

    1. Ugh. My advice is to just WRITE SOMETHING. Get it out, regardless of whether it’s salable. There is so much to be learned in the writing process, and most first novels (or second or third novels) don’t go anywhere anyway. So don’t worry about marketability or originality. Just write.

  13. I’m another who is getting my start after having raised my children. It still seems frivolous, but, the desire has stuck with me for 30 years, so I’m going for it. I feel inadequate, lacking a degree in professional writing, but, my creativity is my strength. I’m seeking some basic knowledge in format, and where and how to publish once I’m finished writing. My target is approximately 8 to 12 year olds. I’m also wondering if anyone has used Scrivener, or has any other suggestion for software, or a web platform, that helps to organize and format. Best to all on their journey, and thank you Amanda for the encouraging words. Happy writing! ~Terri

    1. You should hook up with SCBWI. They’ll provide a wealth of knowledge…and no, no degree required 🙂 Many use Scrivener, but I wouldn’t worry about format at this point. The first step is to write the story.

  14. emmillerwrites says:

    Hi, Amanda! Nice to meet a fellow millennial and extroverted writer–any friend of Renee’s is a friend of mine. 🙂 I’d love to read more of your words and be entered to win your eBook.

    How wonderful to be able to use your gifting, even across the different jobs you’ve had! I know I’m blessed to get to do the same every day as a journalist, but, like everybody, I think I have a book in me, too. I’m planning to attend several writer’s/creative conferences this year, and I’ve added a number of books about storytelling and the publishing process to my reading list.

    All best to you!

    1. Maybe I’ll see you on the conference circuit? Hope so!

  15. Amanda M says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Amanda! This was a great reminder to keep pursuing those dreams, even when they seem so distant. I have such a great passion for writing. I remember writing short stories and poems as a kid, and now that has grown into a passion for ministry. One of my goals with my writing is to get more disciplined with it so that one day I can work on that book proposal you’re talking about. From one Amanda to another, thanks for your testimoney! 🙂

    1. Congrats Amanda, you won the random draw for the free copy of The Extroverted Writer. Please message me your email (renee at devotionaldiva dot com).

    2. Thank you for reading!

  16. Jean Gilbertson says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for the opportunity to “put my name in” and possibly win a copy of your book. After a lifetime of introversion, I am gradually learning to be extroverted enough to create an author platform. Who knew people would be so nice! The very first tweet I received was a comment on a short story I wrote decades ago! Now I have a book ready to offer. I warmly congratulate you on finding your way to God’s call on your life at such a young age!

    1. Aw, that is so great. Yes, people are nice!

  17. CL Doering says:

    I had the privilege of meeting and learning from Amanda at the Mad Anthony’s Writing Conference last weekend. She was an awesome presenter.

  18. Elaine Olund says:

    I met Amanda at Mad Anthony last weekend. Her advice on the writing life was so motivating! I’m making changes in my professional life to allow much more time for writing, as that’s where my heart is. I’m ready (finally) to follow my passion. Bravo to Amanda for following hers, what an inspiring example.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading 🙂

  19. Charity says:

    I’d love to win a copy. I don’t know what the next step is yet. 🙂

    1. Sorry you didn’t win, but i’m confident you can get this platform thing figured out 🙂

  20. My next step is increasing my platform. I “have a book in me” that I’ve started, but now realize I need to increase my platform. So, I am writing a blog, using social media and trying desperately to network. I’ll be checking out that ebook today!

    http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/

  21. Ginger Harrington says:

    Always enjoy your posts, Amanda! I am currently working on increasing my platform through getting more connected with social media, continuing to improve my blog, starting to guest post and give invitations. I am headed to a writer’s conference in May, and somewhere in the mix I am trying to put the finishing touches on a book proposal. I think I need to install a revolving door, both in my house and in my brain! How do you keep from feeling scattered with all of these balls in the air?

  22. deb sherman says:

    Well, I guess my first step has been taken in that I know that I have been given life experiences for a purpose. The next thing I need to do is to keep taking steps forward as God allows. He has given me several different life experiences to draw from and I trust He is going to see this through. I definitely feel led to write but I want to be able to bring Glory to the Lord in my writings and not just “conquer” a bucket list item. So I move forward, each day leaving the next steps in His hands.

  23. Angela Wilson says:

    Hi! I just got an email from the music director at my church. I had informed her that I was going to the ACFW conference that was in Indie a couple weeks ago. What a pleasant surprise to see that this article was written by my first choice for an appointment with an agent! Even though I didn’t get the appointment, I was able to take Chip MacGregor’s class.

    I am being proactive about getting my book revised and sent to Zonderkidz. I got very positive feedback from their acquisitions editor – along with plenty leads for resources and organizations. The conference was a blessing that was exceedingly abundantly above what I had asked and prayed for. Even though the days and months ahead are a little daunting, they are also exciting and I know that God will see me through to completion. He made a way for me to go to the conference and gain exposure and knowledge. I trust that He will bring my idea (His, actually) to full fruition.

    Thanks, Amanda!!

  24. Ashley Christina says:

    Hey,
    I wrote a devotional for my little sister about how much I love her and how much God loves her. I feel it would be good for all my little sisters in Christ 🙂
    My devotional is about how she is a Princess and that I love her and that she needs to know how much God and I love her and that I want her to know that so she can make good life choices knowing that we are backing her up. <3
    Thank you so much!
    Ashley

  25. R. Doree says:

    Before I get into my steps of why I believe this book will benefit me, I want to say, “thank you”. I am R. Doreé, and God has placed it on my heart for me to write a devotional. Truth is this: I’ve never seen myself as a writer and to be an author was too far fetched for me to fathom; for God to place this on me I’m convinced there is a reason. So for me, this is a true faith walk. I began browsing and researching on how to compose a devotional. As I was researching, I came across this website, your website. I am a firm believer that nothing happens by chance. Even if I don’t win, I believe God wanted to see if I truly believed in his directions. I know I didn’t just stumble across this, even if it’s just for me to be encouraged I want to thank you for sharing your gift. I am truly inspired. Thank you!

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