Blogger: Mary Keeley
I’m on the road today and won’t be able to respond to your comments. Almost two years ago I posted a blog about a client, Marion Stroud, after she went home to heaven. She passed away on August 8, 2015 following her second battle with cancer. Marion left a strong author legacy. It’s worth remembering occasionally because all of us in this industry need to be mindful of the legacy we are building.
Once in a while I showcase a famous author for his or her example of perseverance, path to publication, ongoing career, and so on. I could talk about any of these traits in relation to Marion too. But the one thing that stands out in her professional life is that she was deliberate in her choices, decisions, and interactions, because she was building a legacy.
I miss her. I met her in person only once because she lived in England, but we had many lively conversations via Skype and email. Marion has more than 20 published books to her credit, many of them still in print. Titles such as I love God and My Husband and Loving God but Still Loving You and Knowing Me, Knowing You, as well as Fostering No Illusions, a book for foster parents like herself, give you a taste of her common-sense wit. She had a sparkle in her eye to match it.
I stepped in as her agent for her last two beautifully written books of prayers: Dear God, It’s Me and It’s Urgent and It’s Just You and Me, Lord. She touched lives and left a rich legacy of conduct that all of us, writers and professionals in the industry, would do well to model for our own professional and personal legacies.
Here are a few of the qualities she modeled that are worthy goals for us too:
Legacy of generosity
Marion loved to share her writing skills at conferences. She was mindful of others’ needs, especially spiritual, and the impression her words and deeds would have on them. She would go the extra mile with her publishers and support and pray for other authors whenever possible.
Ability to blend business savvy with grace
Marion was a sharp businesswoman, yet always gracious. I studied how she managed both at the same time. The key is that she never waivered in her awareness that she was an ambassador for Christ. This overruled everything else, even when tested one time, resulting in her material disadvantage.
Legacy of kindness…always
There was nothing namby-pamby about Marion. She was prayerfully decisive and intuitive. She had a way of making her point in the most respectful and gracious way. I marveled at a letter she wrote to the publisher of a tiny house in the UK that had been in breach of one of her contracts for some time.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the industry lives by that high standard, and eventually, I had to step in with more direct language in order to set in motion the necessary remedy. But that’s part of an agent’s job when the situation calls for it. In fact, I wanted to step in earlier, so grievous was the breach, but she wanted to try the kind approach one last time to give the publisher an opportunity to respond in like manner. That’s grace, and I will always remember her example.
Focus on readers
Ministering to her readers was uppermost on Marion’s mind as she wrote her books. It was all about meeting their needs, caring for them. Like all writers, Marion hoped her books would attain high sales, and she watched her numbers closely, but the eternal value for readers was always her highest motivation.
How often do you think about the legacy you want to leave for your readers? Your colleagues? And especially your family? How can you use the qualities Marion modeled to encourage your writing community?
Four qualities to emulate as you build your author legacy. Click to Tweet.