Publishing Your Book When Your Story Has Already Been Told
by Denise Pass
“This is a great title, but your story has already been told.” Hopefully my jaw had not dropped too far to the ground and I did not look like a deer in headlights when the publisher spoke those words to me. But I knew I could not hide the pain that statement wrought.
In a moment, my mission and passion, to write the message that had painfully burned in my soul, was dealt what would have seemed to be a death blow. Carrying this message to publication would be impossible now. This publisher had spoken. My story had already been told. End of story. Or was it?
Overcoming obstacles in the publishing process can feel insurmountable. But friend, the publishing process is part of what prepares and refines us to carry the message God has given to us. You might have heard this same assessment of your story — “It’s already been written.” But please don’t let this stop you. Here are five reasons why this is not so.
- It’s your testimony.
Although I had previously wanted to keep hidden and locked away the painful testimony I had endured, when God speaks to you and heals you, you can’t hide what He has done. It is your testimony. As our testimony is mingled with the message of the gospel, we make an appeal for the salvation Christ offers that is deeply personal. I knew that Shame Off You needed to see the light of day and that God had called me to write this very personal testimony. Jesus did not say to share our testimony only if someone else had not already experienced it. Our testimony is our story of interacting with a holy God.
- It’s uniquely you.
There are many people who might have endured similar circumstances, but their stories could never be identical to yours. God relates to each of us in our moments of pain in a very unique, individual way. If we do not share our personal story, no one else will.
- It’s not your publisher.
Just because one publisher says the story has already been told does not mean your publishing pursuit is over. It just means that one publisher at that time could not carry your message. Publishers are limited by what they can publish according to their publishing schedule. Keep moving forward until you find the carrier of your message. And friend, be open to the fact that it might be you who carries and publishes your story. Self-publishing is a legitimate means of sharing your message.
- It’s about obedience.
The most compelling reason for me to press forward in the calling to publish the books God has placed on my heart is simply because Jesus commands us to go and to share His salvation. How could I not?
- It’s not your story.
The stories we carry are ultimately not ours. We are merely stewards of the greatest story of all, sharing how God’s story impacted ours. Our stories are all about Jesus. So when we receive rejections because our story has already been told, we know better. We are to tell the story as often and as many times as we can through all the doors the LORD opens to us.
“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.” (Psalm 71:15-16, ESV)
Have you held back telling your story because you fear you have nothing new to say? Comment below so we can pray for you!
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Such a timely read for me. I’m so thankful for God’s encouragement. Thank you!
This, “The stories we carry are ultimately not ours. We are merely stewards of the greatest story of all, sharing how God’s story impacted ours.”
May we steward well as we glorify God above all.
This was so good for me to read! I need this reminder often as I fear someone will say what I have to say, in much better ways. I need to trust God that if He called me to it, He will bring me through it.
This has been one of my biggest fears — to tell a story that has already been told. When I remove the lens from myself, however, and focus it solely on God, the fear goes away. God’s stories live in all of us and each journey is unique. Thank you, friend, for this reminder.