How I Got my Publishing Contract

Everyone has a story of their first publishing contract, and here is mine. I won’t bore you with he details of my early writing journey, but just say it consisted of two novels and then a conversion of those novels into Christian novels.

A lot of this time was spent going to conferences, including American Christian Writers put on by Reg Forder, and then I took a trip to Mt. Hermon in 2006. I met a lot of great people on that trip and had a blast.

Soon I got hooked up with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and went to my first ACFW conference in Dallas in 2008.

I wrote a business suspense novel called THE SOLOMON PROJECT and pitched it at an ACFW conference in 2009. Those conferences are a blast and also stressful as all the novelists try and find time to pitch their works to agents and editors. Through luck, or fate, or maybe even God’s grace, I was able to get an extra appointment with the agent Terry Burns. It was the last appointment of the day, and I’m sure he was exhausted. But we met, we talked, I pitched, and then we went our separate ways.

But, a few months later, I received an email from Terry offering to represent me.  That was probably to date the biggest thrill I had as a writer. All my hard work was paying off. Terry was great. He put a lot of time into working with me and preparing my proposal and then pitching it to the publishing houses he saw as the best fit.

Terry was all about helping his clients, and one of the things he did was set up a critique group. In this group, I got some great feedback on a novel I was working on called THE DAY SHE DIED. The group was active for about six months and I got feedback on probably the first 8 chapters of my novel. I ended up finishing THE DAY SHE DIED, and Terry tried to sell that book as well.

As the months went by and rejection emails piled up, life went on. Kids got super busy, and I started a couple of novels, and even got 25 thousand words into one. But my writing eventually stopped.

I still considered myself a writer, and always had plans to get back into it, but just hadn’t gotten here yet.

Then, out of the blue, last August, I get an email from Suzanne Hartmann. She was in the critique group and we had both read each other’s novels. She remembered mine, really liked it, and wanted to offer me a contract under her new publishing company, Castle Gate Press.


I hadn’t given up on writing or getting published, but I certainly didn’t expect it to happen like that. I immediately thought of how God had worked to make it happen.

I got an unscheduled appointment with the hardest working agent in the biz, Terry Burns. The last appointment of the conference. I met one of his clients in a critique group. She liked my novel, and I’m sure this was years before she thought of starting her own publishing company. But, when Castle Gate Press was born, she remembered my novel.

So, that’s my story. My amazing journey up to this point. I’m right in the middle of making changes after receiving edits from my publisher. I’m really excited about these changes. They are truly for the better and will make THE DAY SHE DIED the best it can be.

3 thoughts on “How I Got my Publishing Contract”

  1. So proud of you, Bill. That is a great story of being in the right place at the right time and having a great book to share with millions of readers! Can’t wait until it is published and I can add it to my ‘library.’

  2. God is so good! I just love it when He allows people to see His hand at work in our lives. When Phyllis and I started Castle Gate Press last year, I was tickled pink to find out that Bill’s book, The Day She Died, was still available. We’re extremely excited to have it as our debut novel.

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