Wednesday, 18 June 2014

It's a God-thing

Photo courtesy of Anusorn P nachol/

I walked back to my desk to be surprised by the reply email that had just arrived in my Inbox. Ten minutes earlier I sent the email that I hoped would release me into a new life. With nervous anticipation I opened it.
Good morning Ian

This sounds interesting.  I was the UK publisher for THIS PRESENT DARKNESS and PIERCING THE DARKNESS.

Can you send me the text?
Are you serious?
Hallelujah. After bouncing around the room with excitement for a few minutes, I quickly shot off the full manuscript. Another reply soon arrived letting me know he’d saved the MS to his ipad and would start reading it over the weekend. I shut down my computer for the week so so thankful.
Make Contact 
Let me quickly recap the events that led to that email exchange.
A few weeks earlier I’d received a co-publishing offer from a US multi-imprint publisher having sent my proposal to the traditional imprint arm of the group. At the time (2010) this US publisher was one of the few big ones still receiving unsolicited fiction manuscripts for what I believed was it’s traditional imprint. I’m not sure if they are now.
Not being too familiar with co-publishing I sought the counsel of a number of different people: co-published and traditionally published authors, other publishers and distributors.
Only one I knew personally, the others I contacted via email. In our very connected world, I've found most people will respond and in this instance everyone did. I received mixed feedback but it was one contact that turned out to be most generous and significant.
I wrote to Paul Bootes, the CEO of Koorong, hoping, but not really, expecting a reply. He’s a busy man running a global business and doesn’t know me other than the fact I’m a customer.
Quite incredibly, Paul gave me thirty or so minutes of his time (on a Saturday afternoon!) as we chatted about a myriad of matters including my manuscript and the offer I’d received. He also kindly provided me with an introduction to the acquisitions editor at Lion Hudson. Paul’s act is a wonderful example of humbly using one’s own experience and talent to help another.
In my proposal I made reference to Frank Peretti’s “Darkness” books playing an important part in my writing journey, hence, the association in the email above.
That email connection led to a contract offer and in time Angelguard being published.
Now some people would call this series of events, pure coincidence. I don’t. I call them a “God-thing.”

I’m continually amazed how God works in this way: connecting people via a series of seemingly unrelated events and associations.

Next time you receive a nudge in your spirit, act on it. You might just be surprised what eventuates.

What's a time you were pleasantly surprised by God's mysterious manoeuvring?

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Such a great, encouraging story, Ian--thanks for sharing it. And I can just picture Paul Bootes's delight in talking with you and being able to provide that vital link that led to publication. I think you went about it all in a hugely sensible way, not jumping in too quickly and checking things out with those in the business, so well done to you!

    I can think of various 'mysterious manouevrings' by God in my writing journey, but perhaps my first was my own experience of having my first novel published. A young woman in a prayer group at a retreat prayed fervently for this novel to 'be born', after I had shared how frustrated I was in my quest to find a publisher. Then later she told me she had seen an ad in a magazine at her mum's place about a new, traditional publisher and would email me the details. I was touched but also didn't quite believe she would remember, in the midst of her busy life. However, she did and I checked out this publisher as best I could, eventually sending them my manuscript. Months passed and I heard nothing, so wrote them off and kept trying. But then one day, I received an email from them: 'We are interested in publishing your manuscript.' Like you, my response was 'Are you serious?'--I had to get my husband to check that there wasn't a 'not' in that sentence in the email! I ended up staying with that publisher for five of my novels--and it all resulted from that sharing in a prayer time.

    1. Love that story, Jo-Anne. Amazing how God places certain people into our lives at particular times. And the fact she followed through and sent the details. Wonderfully encouraging. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

  2. Wow! That's so cool to hear, Ian. It's encouraging to hear that miracles can happen in the publishing world - especially in these more difficult times!

    1. Hi Annie - it's in the waiting that miracles are conceived. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. That is such wonderful news,Ian. It does hit as amazement and sort of unbelief at first even though the words are there right before your own eyes! I wonder if your wife knew what hit you when you did your little happy dance?

    I love the way the Lord swings opens those doors that were once hard to budge.So glad for you and am experiencing the same as an American agent loves my work and is working on my behalf. So exciting, but reserving my happy dance.

    God's smile: "The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace."

    1. Hi Rita, it was a lovely way to welcome Fiona home from work that Friday night! Love that you have this opportunity in America. What a blessing!

      And yes, I think we underestimate how often God does smile with us. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  4. Hi Ian,
    That was a God-incident indeed! Thanks for sharing the encouraging story with us. I love hearing things like that.

    1. "Incident" is probably a better term to use than "thing" isn't it, Paula? I might adopt that now if that's okay. Thanks for popping by.

  5. Great post, Ian - love the God moments! Hindsight can be such a blessing. Here's one of mine ...

    Back in 2009 I was listening to a group of my Grade 5s read. We'd just finished, and the kids were talking about books and saying how they might write one. I mentioned I'd just finished my first draft of one and that caused a bit of excitement for 30 seconds. Most of them drifted off to something else, except for one of them who I knew was a Christian. I told Monique it was a Christian book and she was thrilled. She asked me what I was going to do next and I said I needed to find someone to edit it. She looked at me kinda funny and said, 'My mum works for her aunty and she's an editor.'

    I told her I'd prefer a Christian one so he/she understood the story better and Monique gave me another funny look. 'Aunty Rowie is a Christian,' she said. 'Would you like her number?' And then we both said, 'Oooh, I've got goosebumps!'

    That's how I met Rowena Beresford. Not only is she a great editor, but a wonderful friend. Gotta love those God moments!

    1. Oh wow, what a great story, Andrea. Isn't God clever how He positioned Monique in such a way to open a door. Incredible.

      Thanks for sharing this story. So so encouraging for us all to read.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your God-thing story, Ian. Thanks for sharing.

    I think many writers see God's fingerprint on their writing journey. I've had my share, most recently at the ACFW conference in Indy. Meetings which should never have happened, did... moments after I'd prayed God would answer the longing of my heart.

    Once such meeting was with our dear Rel Mollet. I thank God for that gift, and am blessed the meetings continue. Rel's a friend who understands the heart of a writer better than most and is a true encourager. :)

    1. Dotti, thanks for sharing and reminding us of the power of prayer and how The Lord can and will move quickly in response.

  7. Ian, thanks for sharing your amazing story. I also don't believe these situations and circumstances are coincidences. Your discernment regarding the co-publishing offer opened the door for God to provide a much better opportunity. Sometimes it can be hard to wait for God's perfect timing and trust that he will provide the best opportunity.

    1. Thanks Narelle. Well stated about the importance of waiting so God can do His thing!