Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
I’m starting off the new year with something old. Below is the first post ever written for our blog. And since we began the blog the first work day of January 2009, it seemed apropos to take a look back at what we hoped the blog would contribute to writers. Eight years and 2,016 (ironically since we just ended 2016) posts later, I can say that our blog accomplished so much more than we ever dreamed.
As is typical with God, he surprised us, exceeding our expectations of what kind of community could develop. The way you all encourage, pray for, hurt and rejoice with each other is a thing of beauty. You light the way forward for all of us.
Those of us who write the posts deserve no accolades for the caring that takes place here. That belongs to each of you. Thank you for what each of you contribute to this blog.
Now, happiest of new year’s and here’s that first blog post:
I like the idea that, nestled in 2009’s calendar pages, we find newfangledness–the surprise of what’s to come; the anticipation of the unsought good news; the opportunities we can’t see as we crack open the new year’s door.
The word “newfangled” finds its roots in two words: “new” (as if we couldn’t guess that part) and “to take or seize.” Isn’t that what a new year should be about? Seizing the new and pushing forward into uncharted territory?
That’s the stance we’re taking at Books & Such Literary Agency. We’re seizing on technology–twittering, blogging, and other newfangled social networking–to stay connected with those who want to know more about trends in book publishing, the writing life, and sundry other topics such as how to organize your desk, your office, or your life. (I’m eager to read that blog!)
As we launch our “Between the Lines” blog this week, I’ll write a bit about our agency’s distinctives and introduce you to our staff, each of whom will chime in so you can meet them personally. Then I’ll close out the week with tips on how to keep your ’09 writing resolutions, since the year is bound to be full of newfangled ways to avoid what you really want to do.
Each week of the month one of the four agents in our agency will lead the blog conversation, introducing a new topic on Monday. Feel free to dive in with your opinions! After all, the goal is to stay connected. Once a week our in-house publicist will write a blog on Marketing Matters. She’ll offer insights on how to stay in touch with your readers, find new readers, and think about new ways to develop a fan base.
In developing Between the Lines, we thought of it as a sort of magazine. So you’ll find “columns” on the right-hand side as you scroll down. These will include a running commentary on the books we’re each reading; Newsflash, where we’ll keep you up-to-date on publishing news and some of our authors’ accomplishments; the latest twitters from each of us who are involved in that newfangled way to connect; flicker photos of our staff and some of our clients; and even a weather report from our main office’s location in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Welcome to Between the Lines. And remember: Seize the new opportunities inherent in this new year!
What a wonderful post, Janet! Thank you for sharing this.
* I never knew the roots of ‘newfangled’, though my interpretation would still be different. It harks back to a cheerful Newfoundland who participated in The Great Canine Wine-Tasting Party, when a group of dogs helped clean up after I dropped a jug of merlot (while I was frantically trying to keep them away from the broken glass). She found that she could not walk forwards, backed herself into the angle formed by two kitchen cupboards, and let her frustration be known with booming basso-profundo barking. Newf…angled. (A Newfie with a hangover is NOT a pretty sight.)
* Between The Lines pretty well tracks, chronologically, my own writing efforts. “Blessed Are the Pure Of Heart” was completed in the summer of 2008, and I was following Rachelle’s blog at the time. I started my own site somewhere in that timeframe, and it took awhile to settle down to any kind of focus. At the moment it has a focus I would prefer not to face three times a week, but, as Ned Kelly so famously said (just before he was hanged), Such Is Life. (And did you know that Ned Kelly was portrayed on screen by none other than Mick Jagger?)
* But all of that is by the bye; what I’d really like to say (well, repeat, as I’ve said it before) is that Between The Lines is nothing less than a lifeline for me. I’m housebound, have no phone (can’t talk well any more), and have fallen from the Speeding Train Of Life; my life-paradigm is very different from most, and makes correspondence a bit difficult. But here, in this community of kindred Christian souls, I’ve found a home. This community has kept me buoyed by prayers in a life that’s become white-water, and while there may not be a calm pool in temporal sight, my head is held above the roil to appreciate the beauty of the rocks and eddies as I spin by, and I’ve been given the duty and desire to document the trip.
* I used to wonder what ‘my readers’ would look like. I’ve learned that they are not mine at all; I am theirs.
Wow, thanks for sharing your first post, Janet. What an awesome way to start the new year. This blog and the B&S community is such a blessing.
Andrew, your wine tasting story gives a new meaning to the term “lap dog” ?
Perfect, Lara! 😀
* This is one of the things that made me change my life-motto from “Carpe diem!” to “Carpe canem!”
* Oh, very well. The other thing that brought on the Motto Modification was my father’s funeral reception. Five large dogs were being supervised in a back bedroom by a hippie…and when said hippie wanted a smoke (yes, THAT kind) she let them out.
* They thundered down the hallway, dispersed the guests, and helped themselves to the hors’ douvres and punch. Then they joyously debouched into the neighbourhood, and led all on a merry chase. It quite spoilt the solemnity of the event, and for that I am forever grateful.
Lara, thanks! To play me, it would have to be Ken Watanabe. No contest!
Thank you for that last sentence, Andrew.
Thank YOU, Heidi.
Oh Andrew, the dogs gone wild scene you described would be perfect for a movie. Now… what actor would you choose to play yourself? ?
Oops, Lara. I put my reply in the wrong place! To answer again, if you didn’t see it…Ken Watanabe.
This blog does a lot of good. I rarely miss reading it though my comments are few and far between for the most part. I like to learn and this is a great place for that enterprise. Thanks to you and your team for contributing to our lives by giving us something of worth and value offered in a gracious and personal way. I’ve made friends here that I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting aside from B & S. Carry on with the good work. Blessings in 2017.
A big THANK YOU, Janet, for Between the Lines. It is a highlight!
*And thank you for the positive view of “newfangled.” I always heard it in the gnarly voice of a backwoods codger, preferring his unhappy rut to any forward progress. From this day forward, I’ll hear it in Janet Grant’s encouraging voice: “Seize the new!”
Thank you, Janet. I’m so thankful you started the blog, and I’m super grateful that I found you. I’m treasure each person here. And I always mourn a bit when people drop off from the weekly conversations. Even one person can make such a difference.
I share that feeling, Shelli. It’s always a John Donne moment when I realize that a name won’t be reappearing…”Ask not for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I am still quite new to the B&S community, but I’m so very grateful to have found you! I find here such encouragement from other people who just…”get it.” I’m also learning so much, which means more than I can say.
I always look forward to your comments, Jennifer. They’re insightful and always well-phrased.
Thanks, Andrew. Likewise!
Janet Ann Collins
I love this blog! It helps me stay in touch with people I’ve met at conferences, inspires and teaches me to keep writing, and is a community in and of itself. Thanks to everyone at Books and Such for keeping it going even though you have so much else to take up your time.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
I have no words to even come close to adequately conveying just how important this blog, and this community, and this agency, are to me.
I’ve made MANY friends here, some I’ve even met in person!
This blog is where I go first, almost every Monday to Friday, for industry ‘meat’.
I’m certain that there are other very good writer blogs, but this one is my favourite. This one is home.
I’m usually still writing after midnight and often after 2:00 a.m. Before I shut off the laptop, I almost always check to see what the B&S blog for that day is. I love reading the comments of the community of folks who share here regularly. I treasure the prayers that were offered after my accident. (I’m almost back to “normal” except for a bit of a limp, which shouldn’t last much longer.) I have learned SO much at B&S, and I plan to keep visiting as long as you keep posting and I keep writing.
Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments. And, Jennifer Majors, I like the blogaversary designation.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
Thanks!! And here’s to a LONG and happy life for B&S and this blog family.
And 2009 is the year I first met the Books & Such agents at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference! I love the blog. I don’t always comment, but I’m usually here.
The first thing I did last year was find a community. Books and Such was answer.
This year, the first thing I did was relocate my writing table. Changes coming in truckloads and avalanches.
I’m super grateful for the blessings I received from this community. Marked my first full year as a writer. Now, onto the next thing.
PS: Whoopee. Happy anniversary.
Xochitl E. Dixon
This post is a wonderful way to rejoice over what God has done in and through this blog community, Janet. While my health issues force me to limit my involvement in writing comments, so I can meet my writing deadlines, this is one of the few blogs I “must” read weekly. Since I began researching how to start writing for the Christian market and called you (gulp, do you remember that blooper?), I’ve been learning from you. The content on this blog continues to be valuable. I often save links so I can refer to them when needed. And this is one of the few writing blogs I recommend. I thank God for each team member’s hard work. It is a blessing to know I can count on being equipped and encouraged when I read the weekly posts. I’m praying for each of you, praising God for all He’s done and for all He’s planning to do as you continue to invest in His writers.
Xochitl, I don’t remember that you called our office!All is forgiven–long ago. I’m so pleased to read the ways in which our blog has been meaningful to you. That’s encouraging me to keep on keeping on.