Best-selling novelist Karen Kingsbury was rejected 30 times. Despite this, she said in a recent interview, “Stay with it until God closes the door.”
Karen Kingsbury was rejected 30 times
The best-selling author, who is sometimes referred to as “America’s favorite inspirational storyteller,” claims that as a young author, she was rejected 30 times before a publisher took a chance and hired her.
In the middle of the 1990s, Kingsbury’s first inspirational novel, Where Yesterday Lives, struggled to find a publisher. At the time, she wrote crime novels and had previously worked as a journalist.
“I had done four true crime books,” Kingsbury told Christian Headlines. “I had written for the L.A. Times—I was a sports writer and then a crime writer. And so I wrote crime books, and everyone loved them. And they were received very well. But I didn’t want to write that.”
Led by God to write Christian novels
After reading Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love, Kingsbury felt compelled by God to shift from crime novels to Christian inspirational novels.
“So I wrote my first [inspirational] novel, Where Yesterday Lives. My agent dropped me. He said, ‘Karen, you were going to be a star. Why do you want to do this other stuff?’ — you know, why would you want that? He dropped me, and I had to kind of be on my own.”
Where Yesterday Lives was pitched to hundreds of publishers and she received 30 rejection letters. It took about a year to locate a publisher who was interested.
“The first rejection letters kind of surprised me. But it was a secular publisher. And they were like, ‘We do nonfiction crime, and you’re wanting us to look at fiction inspirational. We just don’t do it.’” She reported that another publisher said, “I loved it – it made me laugh, made me cry. But I don’t have a place for it. We don’t publish” inspirational fiction.” It wasn’t really such a thing back then,”” she said.
“And finally, at the one-year mark, I got a call back from Multnomah who said, ‘Please tell me it’s available. And please tell me you have more because we want to sign you to a three-book deal.’”
Karen Kingsbury was rejected 30 times, but now she’s a best-selling novelist
Where Yesterday Lives was published by Multnomah in 1997. Since, she has authored over 100 books, some of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. Today, more than 25 million copies of her books have been sold.
Kingsbury, a professor at Liberty University, claims that she frequently shares her experience with aspiring authors. “Stay with it until God closes the door. Because it’s worth it. You don’t know what’s gonna be right around that next corner,” she concluded.
Header image: Karen Kingsbury holding her book, ‘Just Once’ [karenkingsbury]. Instagram, 15 March 2023, https://www.instagram.com/p/CpyDM7LumdF/ https://www.instagram.com/p/CpyDM7LumdF/
Reference: Christian Headlines