Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Want to be a Successful Author? Here's One of the Secrets. . .



Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, became a bestseller and was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice. Her sophomore novel,  Dry as Rain,  was a Christy Award Finalist as well as an ECPA bestseller . Her upcoming release, Wings of Glass releases this February. To learn more about her, visit www.ginaholmes.com.


Keep an Open Hand

After years of attending writers conferences, I was shocked to have an editor of a large publishing house ask to meet with me. She had my manuscript in hand and had offered up some editorial suggestions to make the manuscript stronger. Before I agreed to take a look, I felt it my duty to divulge the fact that I was likely going to be going with another publishing house.

She blinked at me a few times, then got to work explaining why she thought the changes she suggested would make the book better. At the end of the conversation, I told her that the other publisher was interested in buying the book on a partial, something she wasn’t willing to do. She then went on to say, “Gina, it doesn’t matter if we’re the ones who publish you, we just want to see you published. You’ve done so much for other writers over the years that we’re all rooting for your success.”

That’s the law of reciprocity at work, or as we prefer to call it, the open hand theory.

"One of the most potent of the weapons of influence around us is the rule for reciprocation. The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us." Robert B. Cialdini, author of The Psychology of Persuasion (William Morrow, 2006)

You can read books like How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie), The above mentioned, Psychology of Persuasion, The Tap (Frank McKinney), and others, but I think it comes down to a pretty simple concept: By keeping an open hand, you’re allowing blessings to flow in, and out.

We’ve all read the story of the monkey trap. Folklore suggests that if you put a tasty treat inside a container with a hole just big enough for the monkey to slide its hand into, but not big enough for it to get it out once his fist is clenched, the monkey will allow itself to be killed or captured before he will let go of the treat. We writers can be a lot like monkeys.

So often we have ideas, talents or resources that would benefit others, but our natural inclination seems to be hiding these away for ourselves. Great phrases, marketing ideas, you name it. Our selfish self whispers, “Don’t share that, it’s valuable information. Do you want everyone doing it? It will lose its originality, it’s value.”

Christians, Jews and other faiths adhere to the principle of tithing. The Bible says in Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” New Living Translation

When you don’t tighten your fist around the prize, you leave it open for others to take, and for others to give. If you want to be a successful author, heck, a successful anything, you’re going to need some help from others. In return, you’re going to need to help others.



Now available for pre-order. 

On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny’s happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.


21 comments:

Cindy Sproles said...

Excellent Gina. This is why I love to call you "my friend."

Gina Holmes said...

Cindy, this is one of the things you do best. You're one of the most giving people I've ever met, expecting nothing in return. I love that about you too :)

Gina Conroy said...

Your road to publishing has been a great encouragement and inspiration to us all! Thanks, G for helping the rest of us find our way.

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Gina, I appreciate that :) Wish I was going to watch your swing dancing lessons in motion at ACFW. Can't wait to see pictures. That sounds like so much fun!

Jessica Thomas said...

I love the title and cover art on your upcoming release. Very eye catching!

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Jessica! I have Tyndale House to thank for both. My title was going to be The Prey and the Mighty. But Wings of Glass has a nicer ring I think. This book is the dearest to my heart of the 3 I have. I can't wait for folks to read it.

Nicole said...

Gina, all I can say is thanks so much. I've been the recipient of your blessings. Means a lot to us nobodys.

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Great post, Gina. And even after getting published, that same philosophy should hold. Too many times people do exactly what you have described--held onto something that they should have shared or excluded people who could benefit from participating in fellowship.

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Nicole. The feeling's mutual. Carrie, I know what you mean. I'm guilty myself of trying to hold something. I'm constantly reminding myself to keep an open hand. The blessing is always greater than when I clench :)

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Thanks for sharing that message. Sometimes, it may be hard for us to share valuable writing information, tips, marketing techniques, etc. However, the Lord wants us to help others, and, in return, we'll receive help from others. Heck, it's a win-win situation! :-)

The cover for your new book is awesome! Congrats!

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Cecelia. It feels counterintuitive, but it's the craziest thing. The more you give, the more you receive. Thanks for the kind words about Wings. I love the cover too :)

Ane Mulligan said...

From the first day we met (and you thought I was totally insane) you believed in the open hand. You've extended it to me more times than I can count, and mine opened in response. Thanks, G, for a life lesson that stuck. Love you!

Gina Holmes said...

Ane, countless authors have you to thank for all your mentoring and generosity. I'm glad we learned that lesson together! Love you too friend :-)

Lori Ann Freeland said...

Gina, I love what that publisher said to you. It doesn't matter what we do and selling ourselves isn't always the right way to go. Sometimes God selling you because you've served Him is better :)

Gina Holmes said...

Thanks Lori Ann. God does seem to bless us when we bless others. What a God we serve!

sally apokedak said...

Love this post, Gina, and as one who has received from your open hand let me say, "Thanks!" And I do try to pass it on.

Gina Holmes said...

Your hand has been open as well, Sally. You came out to my book signing when I know it would have been simpler, and cheaper to get the book elsewhere. :)

Michael Ehret said...

Well, I'll join the chorus. I love helping writers improve their ability to communicate. I've always believed in the open hand. If your hand is closed in a fist, God can't put any other blessings in it. When I learned not only to be grateful for what I already had, but to share it in whatever way I could, God's blessings fell (or is it just that I recognized them more?).

Gina Holmes said...

You're a great example Mike!

S. Kim Henson said...

I read and enjoy every post, and especially wanted to comment on this one. I'm hearing about the open hand everywhere ... on Edie Melson's blog, as well as posts by Seth Godin and Jeff Goins, and now here. I love it because I get afraid when I'm competing, sure I'll lose. Open handedness changes the game to everyone wins. Feels much safer. Thanks for the reminder, the encouragement, and the example.

Gina Holmes said...

Isn't it funny when we get the same message over and over? The third time is usually when I think this is more than just coincidence. So glad you got something out of this. I went through the same struggle but I'll tell you, the more open my hand, no matter how it looks at the time, the more I am blessed!