Blogger: Mary Keeley
From time to time I blog about a famous author’s writing journey for the inspiration and tips we can glean. It’s been a while, but today feels like a good time to look at my friend and client, Marion Stroud. She went home to heaven on August 8, following her second battle with cancer.
I’ve showcased other authors for their examples of perseverance, path to publication, ongoing career, and so on. I could talk about any of these in relation to Marion too, but the one thing that stands out in these first days since she passed away 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 expressed books of prayers: Dear God, It’s Me and It’s Urgent and It’s Just You and Me, Lord. A tribute to her, posted by her US publisher on the Our Daily Bread Facebook page, received more than 4,000 comments (yes, three zeros). You can view it here.
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 exemplified.
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 a lady. 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 of Christ. This overruled everything else, even when tested one time, resulting in her material disadvantage.
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. Of course, not everyone 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 remember her example.
Focus on the 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 the motivating force.
How often do you think about the legacy you want to leave for your readers? Your colleagues? Your family? What impresses you about Marion’s example that you want to emulate?
Building a strong legacy as an author. Here are a few qualities to emulate. Click to Tweet.
Learn about building a strong legacy from this author’s example. Click to Tweet.