Friday Fun | Beginnings (and a Giveaway!)

Don’t you love to learn about beginnings? I’m talking about that moment when a door cracks open for someone.

copper star 250Everything changed for Ellen DeGeneres, for example, when Johnny Carson enjoyed her monologue for The Tonight Show so much that he had her come sit down for a moment after she finished. Tom Clancy was seeking a contract for his first novel, The Hunt for Red October, but it was rejected numerous times by mainstream publishers. Finally the Naval Institute Press accepted it, and President Ronald Reagan catapulted Clancy to stardom by saying “it was his kind of yarn.”

I’m not as funny as Ellen DeGeneres and I’m not as clever as Tom Clancy, but my big break came when a small royalty press agreed to publish my first novel, Copper Star, a little World War II love story. For years I had freelanced for magazine articles and was at a point in my life when I had the time and desire to get very serious about writing. Plus, I was at an age when I had stories to tell. (There’s a reason that most first novels are written between the ages of forty-eight and fifty-two. You finally have something to say.)

My hopes for Copper Star were cautious ones—I have never had grand illusions of my talent. I think I’m more of a craftsman than an artist. I did try a few large publishing houses and was soundly rejected. But then an offer came in from Vinspire, and accepting it felt like the right thing to do.

Boy, was it ever! Partnering with a small royalty press was an ideal way for me to accelerate my growth as a published author. I learned the business side of writing because I couldn’t sit passively by while a large publishing house handled the book’s distribution. I needed to help publicize my book, get comfortable with public speaking, radio interviews, manage a blog and website. Basically, I had to learn how to self-promote . . . which is very awkward but critically important for every author. Every single one, big shot or little shot. 

Throughout the next two years, I wrote a few more books for Vinspire, including one non-fiction book (Grit for the Oyster) for which I created a unique template. My books received some awards (easier to do with a small press) and caught the attention of an agent. She introduced me to an editor who was looking for an author on a specific project. I was able to use the template I had created for Grit to make a proposal for this editor. It was a perfect fit for what she had in mind for this non-fiction book and evolved into a book called Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World (Revell). That book has been a consistent bestseller and was a finalist for the ECPA Book of the Year.

Since then, I have contracted with Revell for more than twenty-five books, fiction and non-fiction. At the time of this writing, I’m contracted into 2018. Almost every book has hit CBA/ECPA bestseller lists.

And it all started when Vinspire said yes. My beginning!

Copper Star is still selling for Vinspire, and it is now available as an audio book!  Share an important “beginning” in your life for a chance to win the audio version of Copper Star! Ten will win! I’ll announce the winner next Friday.

 

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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Shelley Morris says:

    You are awesome! I can’t wait to see if I am a winner for this one. Keep up the good work. My family & friends share your books all the time with each other.

  2. Julie Smith says:

    It sounds like you’ve come a long way since your humble opening shot. No doubt, God was leading you along the path and opening the right doors at just the right time. I used to be a big creative writing person in my youth and early 20’s, but then I landed a very technical job where all writing was black and white, all day long. I’ve been at it for 25 years now, and it feels like the creative part of my brain is so shriveled up. I’d love to find one of those “beginnings” you mentioned, so I could start to enjoy writing again. In fact, I did start a blog a couple of months ago (for product reviews) so although it’s not fiction, who knows what it may stir deep within. Thanks for sharing your journey. pudy68 @ gmail dot com

  3. Moving when we retired, to be in the middle of our children in three states. We love it here on our hilltop. The community activities and people we have met are so welcoming. We found our church before calling the realtor. So thankful to the Lord for giving my husband our confirmation verse:
    And we named our hilltop home, “Lane Hill House.”
    Matthew 5:14-16 The Message
    “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  4. Jackie McNutt says:

    Suzanne, Thanks for sharing how you started your writing carrier . I really enjoy all the different ways you have blessed your readers with the books , blogs etc,
    I don’t have a career that I began . The door that has opened for me was because of the death of my husband where for the first time in 46 years I have to learn to provide for myself. So I am working on a home based cleaning service. Thank you.

  5. Melanie Backus says:

    I love what you had to say today. Keep up the good work. Thank you!

  6. Wilani Wahl says:

    It was great to read about how you got started. You asked for us to tell you about a beginning in our lives. When I graduated from Bible College, I was planning on heading to the mission field, but the mission board turned me down. What was I going to do?! The Lord opened the door for me to teach in a Christian School. I was hired to teach first and second grade combined only 4 days before school started. I went through all kinds of learning curves that year. Later I did end up on the mission field teaching. God had used that first year teaching to further prepare me for the mission field. God is so good all the time.

  7. Polly Schneider says:

    Wow, it sounds like it’s harder to get published then I thought and to sell your books too. But you have been successful. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  8. MS Barb says:

    Thanks for a nice Giveaway!
    When I was about 7-8 yrs old, my grandmother decided I needed piano lessons, and offered to pay for them. At my 1st lesson, the teacher would play 2 notes, & I was to tell her if they were “high-low” or “low-high.” I guessed at most of the answers & as she played the last set, I guessed, while her phone (an old, land line, phone on the wall, style!) she left the room, and a boy, who was waiting in her living room, came over to me, and said, “You dummy! She played the same note twice!”
    There were days I didn’t want to practice; days I wasn’t really sure how/what to practice, but I stayed with it…and…now, I’ve played for several churches during my adult life! To GOD be the glory! (And that is one of my favorites to play: “TO GOD BE THE GLORY!”)

  9. Julie Sunne says:

    What a wonderful, God-ordained beginning, Suzanne. An important beginning occurred for me writing-wise in August 2011 when my oldest son convinced me to start a blog. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Ola Norman says:

    I became a librarian in 1995. My dream job!

  11. Ola Norman says:

    I became a librarian in 1995. My dream job! I listen to audio books in the car all the time.

  12. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story! I loved learning about the very beginning of your writing journey. I know COPPER STAR is a very special story!

    I would say one important “beginning” in my life was the day my husband and I married and began our life together. A life that now includes three precious children and many other blessings!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  13. Cindi Altman says:

    The most exciting new beginning for me was when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and invited him into my heart and life.

  14. Joan Jones says:

    an important beginning for me was when my now 18yod Hannah Grace was born, everyone’s life changes at the birth of a child but little did we know that day just how much…she is very medically fragile with a lot of diagnosises but she is such a blessing to everyone she meets and we feel like God used her life to help us help other parents dealing with similar things

  15. Susan Fletcher says:

    Well, this is a beginning that I don’t feel is important, but it was necessary and God’s plan, not mine. Becoming a widow at age 47 after 25 years of marriage and planning my retirement with my husband who had already retired from the police force and was waiting for me to finish my next 3 years of teaching turned my broken dreams into nightmares! Since we didn’t have kids of our own, I was used to my husband’s constant spoiling and never had to worry about anything. All that changed in an instant! The last 4 years have been full of worry, uncertainty, change, and lots of sleepless nights. I wish I could say things are better now, but “different” is the best I can describe things. I do know who holds my future, but I pray constantly for answers to my difficult questions. So, this is a new beginning for me. I hope that all reading this will say a special prayer for me as I go down this road of change………..Thanks!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

  16. Joan Hoffman says:

    I would love to win a copy of Copper Star—I have bought and read quite a few of your Amish books (great books). Thank you!

  17. Linda D. McFarland says:

    A beginning for me was a huge move after being married for 5 short years. First time to move so far from family & friends I grew up with. Boy was I taken out of my comfort zone! Love reading your blog post & I am so glad your books are published. I love reading them. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the opportunity to win. You have the best contests! Linda

  18. Jackie Tessnair says:

    A new beginning for me was the day I married my soulmate.I have enjoyed every minute,the good times and the not so good times.I would love to win this giveaway,thanks for the chance.

  19. Suzanne Dawson says:

    I would love to win “Copper Star”. I travel into Colorado and usually listen to audio books since the radio looses frequency. I’ve found it difficult to find audio for the authors I like at the stores. I like the World War stories too.

  20. Sonja says:

    I would love to win your first book. It is probably one of the only ones of yours I haven’t read!

  21. Robyn L says:

    an important beginning was when I wandered into a little store downtown
    for a water because I had just completed a walk on a hot day. I started going in more and more for coffee and one day was asked if I’d be into
    accepting a casual position. I was hesitant because I didn’t like to cook or serve food(very nervous) and they served one meal a day. I took the job and now instead of casual I’m the ‘other worker’next to the manager and love it most of the time. It gets me out of the house and keeps me sane.

  22. Karen K says:

    My important beginning was becoming a mother.

  23. MS Barb Dawson says:

    THanks for a nice Giveaway! Life changed in a marvelous way when my 1st grandchild (Isaiah) arrived, and then my 2nd grandson, (Quinton) arrived 3½ yrs later! FUN TIMES w/ the “Grands!” (They’re still young enough to think I know “everything!”)

  24. Linda McFarland says:

    I enjoyed reading about how your career started…and would love to read the books that you have written early in your career…….I too am hooked on your books….and get sooo excited when a new book comes out…I too tweeted about this on tweeter…a long time book fan…keep up the wonderful work you do……

  25. Lorraine Boyd says:

    A new beginning for me was when I moved out of New England to VA. My parents had passed away 5 weeks apart in 2002. Every place that I went was full of nice memories, but made me lonely too. So, I moved to VA in 2007. I love visiting Mt. Vernon, the Smithsonian Museums, etc. I have met so many great people. Some of them I have had a short conversation with on the metro. Others have become good friends. Thank God for new beginnings!

  26. Superb post however , I was wanting to know if you
    could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Many thanks!