In late 2011, I finished my first fiction fantasy novel and had plans to attend the Christian Writer’s Guild, “Writing For The Soul,” event in Denver, Colorado in 2012. I was excited and nervous to pitch my idea to an editor and agent. Like any new writer, I felt like this was it.
I worked so hard to build my online platform. I visited blogs. I built my own website using Homestead (my first company). I had a blog on WordPress where I had published interviews and book reviews. Writing is a small community, and God connected me with some great new friends. I had been online since 2006. My publishing list was a long one–a lifelong desire that started when I was a teenager. But reality hits every new writer.
Some truths I learned were…
Traditional publishing is hard.
Independent publishing (or self-publishing) is just as hard and more expensive.
While an agent asked for a partial manuscript in 2012 (the closest I had ever gotten to traditional publishing), it was later rejected because fantasy fiction in the Christian market was hard to sell. I continued writing more novels, and a strange restlessness began to seep into soul.
If I got a novel published, name on the cover, what then? So what? What was I going to do in between writing and publishing? What matters most to God? My name on the cover? Or the words and actions in between?
TRC Magazine began in 2012 (published in 2013). God had so many stories in the world that I wanted to give a place where people could share them. As a writer sending to big magazine conglomerates, it was discouraging to not get through the front door. Mainly, the people who got through the door were people with larger online platforms that could bring in new readers to these magazines. I wasn’t jealous. It takes a lot of work to get where they were, and I was happy for people who get that far in their life. They’ve earned it. God took my dream of writing and changed it. TRC Magazine became a place to be a megaphone for stories from anyone who wanted to tell it. If they couldn’t write, we help them. That wasn’t enough after a while. I was restless again.
We live in an economically hard area. I started a new business of Social Media Consulting as a ministry to help struggling writers and others get help with their marketing that would be within their budget and teach them to be independent. I was still sending in manuscripts and short stories, but I started to see the cutthroat side of Christian book reviewing. I didn’t like what I saw or how Christians online were mean to each other, or on their own agenda. Aesthetically, we weren’t cohesive, working towards the united goal of the Great Commission.
Why reinvent the wheel when other online cybermission organizations were doing a great job for the Great Commission? The problem was in how to bring them all together in one place so the pulpit becomes aware of online missions work. How do we also inspire people to join CMI or other cybermissions organizations if they couldn’t serve a traditional missionary organization? How do we educate and equip regular Christians who just want to go to church on Sunday to use their one social media well? How do we change Christian culture in how they react to things online?
The goal of Cataclysm Missions Intl LLC is to bring people from online into a fellowship of faith and the people in the pews to online in order to reach a hurting and lost world. How do we get Christians excited for what God is doing through technology?
I run so many websites so the current volunteers at TRC Magazine and CMI do not have to run a website. I take away the barrier of marketing, maintenance, and cost so God can use our volunteers through our different brands to reach this world. We are showing symbolically that, though we are different, we can work together with a single purpose. It’s been a struggle to bear the yearly costs of running three websites, but God is a generous God. He is the God of the impossible. On a church secretary’s salary, He has made all things possible. His example of generosity has led me to trust Him for all future things.
So pray for me as I continue to run these sites. Pray we can begin to engage, not just share things.