Keli Gwyn
Persevering Through a Publishing Plateau

Three years ago today I was offered my first publishing contract.

Much has changed since then, but much is the same.

Bride Opens Shop 1

My contract was one of the two Rachelle mentioned in her tweet.

My novel wasn’t due to be released for eighteen months, so I had a long time to anticipate the milestone event. I enjoyed each part of the process as my publisher and I got the book ready for the big day.

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California hit the shelves July 2012. I celebrated at my book launch party attended by some one hundred fifty friends and family members.

Bride Opens Shop 5

My cheeks were sore after all the smiling I did at my book launch party.

My release month was one of the most exciting and busiest of my life. In addition to planning my launch party, I was hosted by many wonderful bloggers. I didn’t get much sleep that July, but I didn’t care. I was too excited to sleep anyhow.


A Return to Reality

Once my release month was over, things slowed down. I was privileged to visit two local book clubs, sign at some bookstores, serve as a guest speaker, and participate in a couple of author events, but the pace was more manageable.

I’ll be honest and admit that I experienced a bit of letdown. I’ve been told that’s fairly common. After all, one can’t expect to soar in the clouds forever. I returned to my regular life wiser and ready to see what came next.

Like many authors eager to make writing a career, I’ve waited for another contract. And waited. And waited some more.

snails on alarm clocks - group portrait

At times I’ve felt like a has-been, a flash-in-the-pan, a one-book wonder. Doubts, discouragement, and disappointment have relentlessly pursued me.

I used to struggle to come up with an answer to the question put to me by many well-meaning friends eager to read more of my work: “What’s next?”


A Look Ahead

And what is next? The honest answer is, “I don’t know.” As much as I wish I did, the future is not in my hands, but I’ve learned to be okay with that.

While I might have felt like giving up a time or two, those around me have been as supportive as ever. My husband and writing partner have encouraged me. My agent has stood behind me. My friends have cheered me on. And my readers continue to await more stories.

So, am I eager for something to happen? Definitely! Will I keep on keeping on? Yup! Will I rejoice when another contract comes my way? You’d better believe it! But in the meantime I’m doing just what I did before I was contracted: waiting, hoping, and trusting while living my dream.

These days when I’m asked what’s next, I respond quickly: “I’m having fun working on another inspirational romance set in California’s Gold Country,” or “I’ve completed more stories, and my agent is busy seeking homes for them.”

I look forward to the day I have exciting news to share, but until that comes, I’ll keep on writing.


What do you do to keep yourself motivated when your dream is deferred?



Keli Gwyn


  • Amy Leigh Simpson says:

    Oh Keli, I love the candidness of this post! I know we all have those thoughts like, “once I get my first contract, I’m set!” We know in reality it eel dome happens that way.keep writing! You are a fabulous story-teller!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Amy. I hope the fact that you stopped by to read this post and leave a comment means that you’re feeling better.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    I can so relate to this post, Keli, even though I’m still waiting for that first contract. I have no doubt your books will find homes. You’re a terrific writer!!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      I’m sooooo eager for you to make that First Sale, Jill. When you do, I’m sure you’ll hear me whooping and hollering all the way from California. 🙂

  • As long as you keep doing your part, I have no doubt God will keep doing his. You never know when the next door will open, but it sounds like you’ll be ready when it does. That’s my philosophy, too. 🙂

  • Thank you for this honest post. Sometimes I hide the difficult issues in my life (the ones I can hide), because I don’t want the endless questions that I have few answers for. But there are other times when we can’t hide the difficult things and we have only one option and that is to live out our struggles with the grace God provides. God’s grace is the only thing I can lean on when I’m dealing with a dream deferred. What I know, more than anything else, is that God uses every situation, whether good or bad, to get at the issues of our soul, so no matter what choices he makes for us, we can know that it’s ultimately for our good. That’s not always the answer we want to hear–but it’s the only answer with eternal hope. Run the race marked out for you, Keli! Your reward is priceless.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Gabrielle, it sounds like you have a great perspective. Living the lives the Lord’s given us while doing our utmost to honor Him is what we’re called to do. Sometimes that includes waiting while leaning on His grace to help us through.

  • Beth K. Vogt says:

    We debuted the same year — and you are one of the best historical romance writers I know! (And I am not just saying that.) I’m one of your readers eager to get her hands on another Keli Gwyn novel.
    And so, I’ll wait with you from both sides of the “book,” so to speak — as a reader and as a writer.
    When I thank God for people I’ve met along the writing road, you are one of the people at the top. I admire your writing, your generous spirit, and yes, your perseverance.
    What do I do when my dream is deferred? I hang with faith-filled people like you.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Beth. They mean a great deal to me, as does the gift of your friendship.

      Hanging out with wonderful people like you helps me keep on smiling while I write, wait, write, and wait some more.

  • You know I’m also one of those who can’t wait to get another of your novels in my hand!

    I’m beginning to realize (or re-realize again and again) that God’s main concern for my life is NOT for me to be “successful” (however I define that). He’s more concerned with my journey than with my destination. And ultimately, if my journey doesn’t bring me closer to him, than what’s the point? So as I keep working hard and waiting, I’m trying to focus on drawing near to him. It’s the only thing that can keep me grounded and centered.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Lindsay, you are spot on. The journey is so much more important than the destination. I love being one of those sharing in yours, commiserating and celebrating with you. And what a celebration you had recently, my agent mate. I’m soooo happy for you.

  • Terri Tffany says:

    Thank you for being open and honest to share this. I know for me it’s been a long wait and already I’ve considered that possibility that this could be my only published work. But you are an AMAZING writer–loved your first book and I know there is another amazing one in you. When I think of a real writer, I think of you!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Terri, I was soooo excited when you announced your First Sale and did some serious happy dancing on your behalf. I hope you enjoy each part of the process as you and your publisher get your book ready for your future readers.

  • Susan Mason says:

    Hi Keli,

    I think there are a lot of authors in your shoes. But I have no doubt that you have a lot more books to come. Hang in there and keep on writing!

    And have a wonderful Christmas!


    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sue, you are perseverance personified. You kept on writing and studying craft, and your efforts have paid off. I was soooo happy when you announced your sale in October. I’m thrilled for you!