22 November 2015

Joan M. Hochstetler - A Journey of Overcoming in Publishing


Author Joan M. Hochstetler/ J.M. Hochstetler
What can you share about your journey to getting published?

It was a looong one! I began writing in the late 1970s. I worked hard to learn the craft for several years before beginning to submit proposals to publishers. It took until 2002 before I found the right agent, Joyce Hart, who negotiated my first contract with a major publisher for Daughter of Liberty and Native Son, the first two books of my American Patriot Series, along with a very nice advance. I thought I was on my way.

Within a month of my accepting the contract, however, my editor left and a new editor came in who wasn’t interested in me or historicals in general. Although my books published in 2004 and 2005, they received little support and consequently sold poorly. The editor informed me that they weren’t interested in contracting any more of my books. What had started out with such joy turned into a deeply painful disappointment.

After that there was no interest in any of my proposals. I became so discouraged and frustrated that one day when I was alone I burst out, “I just ought to start my own publishing house!” I was startled when a very distinct voice responded, “Well…why don’t you?” I knew right away who was challenging me. And I knew that if I hesitated, I’d lose an opportunity that might never come again. So I quickly answered, “If your hand is in it, Lord, I’ll do it. Just show me the way.”

The result was Sheaf House Publishers, an independent small press founded in 2006 whose main focus is fiction. The doors miraculously kept opening—from financial resources to a distributor that took me under their wing to several terrific authors and an amazing production team. We’ve gone through some rocky times but by God’s grace have kept on weathering the storm.

I started out by publishing my contemporary novel, One Holy Night, which was awarded the 2009 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. I also published books by other wonderful authors, including a delightful memoir by Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys, From My Perspective, that I’m very proud of. And as soon as I got the publishing rights back to my American Patriot Series, I began releasing it in the new Heritage Edition, adding 3 more volumes, with 2 more forthcoming to complete this series—the only comprehensive, accurate historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Valley of the Shadow, Book 5, released September 1. I’m currently working on book 2 of my Northkill Amish Series, The Return, coauthored with well-known author Bob Hostetler, which releases in Fall 2016.

I’m reminded of one particular praise song whenever I think about how the Lord used this painful experience to give me the great privilege, not only to write for Him, but also to publish the works of fellow Christian writers struggling to find an audience, and how He continues to lead me today. “It Is Well” says it all.



Buy links (hot links): to Valley of the Shadow

iTunes  

Giveaway: Answer the question - Do you ever wonder about authors' journeys to publication? Winner receives an ebook copy of any one of Joan's books (void where prohibited by law.)

30 comments:

  1. I am so glad you took a step of faith and started printing your own books (and others). I have not read all of your American Patriot Series, yet, but the ones I have read I love. I absolutely love Northkill, it is one of my favorite books I read this year and can't wait to read the next book.
    Blessings,Tina

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    1. Forgot to answer the question. Yes, I often wonder about authors' journey to get their books published.
      Blessings,Tina

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    2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Tina! I'm so glad the stories the Lord gave me have blessed you. It's often hard to take that first step of faith, but what riches the Lord pours down on us when we do!

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  2. I do wonder about authors journeys to writing and to publishing. I love to read but can't seem to write something in a card much less think about writing a book. I enjoyed this post.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by, Jan! It's good to meet you. God gives each of us different gifts and graces, doesn't he? And each is vital to the body of Christ and blesses the others.

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  3. It does seem to take a great deal of patience, perseverance and hard work to become a published author.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. That's so true, Mary! Thank you so much for stopping by. It's good to meet you!

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  4. I don't wonder about their journey to publishing as much as what prompted them to write a certain story. It seems like the journey to publishing can be a rocky one, though.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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    1. It can be pretty rocky, that's for sure, Susan. lol! And you're right--the story behind the story is often as interesting as the book itself! I often wonder about that too.

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  5. It seems that getting published must be like my musical family getting a good contract. They do many auditions, but there are few contracts. So glad that the Lord led you to start your own publishing company. I have not read your American Patriot series, but would love to!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. That's a great comparison, Betti. But when the Lord calls us to a work, he opens doors for us, though sometimes they're unexpected ones!

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    2. Congrats BETTI MACE you are our winner! I'd like to get you that first ebook in the series so you can get started reading the American Patriot Series by J. M. Hochstetler! Love that book!!!

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  6. Thank you for being with us on OWG and for sharing your publishing journey, JOAN. What a long road for sure, but your persistency has paid off! It all sounds very difficult to me and one has to really want it!

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    1. I'm so blessed that Carrie invited me to be on OWG, Diana. You definitely have to want to succeed in this field, but it's even more important to follow the Lord's leading. Worldly success isn't always in God's plan for us, but serving him has greater blessings than anything the earth can provide. More than anything I cherish feedback I get from my readers that they've drawn closer to the Lord through the stories he's given me. Thank you for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

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    2. We are glad to finally have gotten Joan on the blog finally! I love what Joan just said about following God's leading! That's the thing!

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  7. Hi, Joan!! I enjoyed reading about your journey to publication - thank you. I am interested in the writing journeys of the authors whose work I read - the road to publication, why/how they chose their genres and story lines, their personal backgrounds, struggles and victories, how God enters into their writing, etc.. It all helps me better appreciate the blessing of inspiring books to read - by becoming aware of the struggles, hard work, and time involved in their making.

    Thank you for persevering - the historical detail involved in your books is amazing!!

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    1. Bonnie, I'm so glad you stopped by, and good luck in the drawing! Thank you so for your kind words about my books. You know I love history and I love to research. lol!

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  8. Yes I do. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

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  9. Wow, Joan! That was a long and hard road you walked but I am SO thankful you persevered and didn't give up! I remember when you showed this cover originally and how much I fell in love with it. I would LOVE to read this story.

    Blessings this Thanksgiving to all of you lovely ladies here at OWG!!!

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    1. Hi, Anne! It is a fantastic cover, isn't it? I think I like this one best of all in this series, and I hope the story lives up to it. lol! Thank you for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing!

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  10. Yes I do! :) I always wonder how they knew God was calling them to write and share what they write. And I always wonder how they got there work published and out there! :) Very interesting! ;)

    Many Blessings, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)
    amada_chavezATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Love your name, Amada, and the pronunciation. :-) Thank you for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing!

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  11. Hello Joan! Thank you so much for sharing your publishing journey. I'm also glad you persevered!

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    1. Hi, Caryl! The Lord has indeed blessed me, and in spite of the hard times, the journey has definitely been worth it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Boy, I'm glad you persevered! I'd be so lost without "The American Patriot" series! What would I read four or five times? You know how much I love your "American Patriot Series!Interesting journey that God put you through. So glad it was worth it. Sure do enjoy talking with you and can't wait until you come!

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    1. Bev, I'm so glad to have you as a fan and especially a friend! Can't wait until I get down there and we can get to some scrapbooking!

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  13. Oh, I can't wait either! We're already thinking of what snacks we can have! I'm so glad you're my friend! So, what book could I win? I have them all! lol

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    1. LOL! It'll have to be one of the upcoming ones then--but since you're my proofreader, you'll get them anyway!

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    2. God bless you for being Joan's proofreader, Bev!

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