I dedicated my book to two saints – my late father and St. Jude. Both were easy choices. My father was a man of few words, lots of love, incredible wit and will probably remain the greatest man I’ll ever know.
So what’s the deal with St. Jude?
To start, he’s the patron of the impossible. I know . . . plenty of friends and family have told me that nothing is impossible – including that I would someday find success as a writer. That’s all fine and feels great to hear, but the facts remain stacked against most writers getting a book publishing contract with a national release, especially the way it worked for me. Consider my story and these statistics:
- Some writers spend years sending book proposals to hundreds of literary agents and publishers. All told, I mailed fewer than 20 pitches over a six-month time span before I received a contract offer.
- About 80 percent of the books in bookstores today got there with the help of a literary agent who represented the author. I never found an agent who would represent me.
- The publisher who reviewed my manuscript and offered me a contract is Adams Media of Avon, Mass. Each year, Adams receives 5,000 queries, and they publish just over 250 books. That means they actually publish only five percent of the pitches they receive. Of those 250-some books they publish annually, only 40 percent are from unagented authors and only 40 percent are by first-time authors.
Please understand I’m not sharing this background as a way of propping up my accomplishment. In fact, no one could be more humbled, honored and fortunate to be considered a published book author. I mention these stats only because they beg a question: If the odds were overwhelmingly against me, why did it happen? Persistence, passion and some level of skill? Sure. But I also believe this took something else to push me over the top. That’s where I believe St. Jude came into play.
During the 18 months when I was writing essays with no contract in sight, I spent quite a bit of time praying a novena to St. Jude, asking him to help me get a book deal. I’m sure Jude has more pressing issues to attend to than my humble request, yet I’m certain that he listened and put a good word in with The Man. However it worked, I know this: If you really, really want something badly – something you fear is impossible, give St. Jude a try. If it worked for me, I’d bet it can work for you.
If you try this and find your prayer answered, let me know. But better yet, spread the word by giving St. Jude a shout out in whatever way you can. Even saints could use a little earthly praise from time to time, even if it comes from flawed, immature and very human accidental adults.