An Agent Asks: Why Do You Write?

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.”   Robert Frost

Today's guest is my very own agent, Diana Flegal, or Hartline Literary Agency! Not only has she gotten me 3 book contracts already, but she is warm and approachable, quick to help, and quite frankly, I like her because she isn't scary! (I don't know about you, but the idea of meeting an agent face-to-face was terribly intimidating to me, and the first one or two I met, I felt like I was going to the principal's office.) 

Here are some words of encouragement from Diana for you:


It is important for writers to ask themselves why they are writing, to have a personal mission statement. Going against the established way of doing things can get you labeled as rebellious when in fact you're just different. In Christian circles, it can be tough to map out your own path, and walk in your unique giftings. 

I have a propensity to think outside the box and therefore am drawn to those that do so as well. As an agent, I tend to like authors that do not write to the market.  Their stories are compelling, interesting and written well. But they are different.

In a recent post discussing digital changes in the publishing industry  David Stearman wrote in response: “I’ll have to admit that I’ve been exposed to some low quality writing since the advent of the eBook. But I’ve also been exposed to some really great stuff that might not have made print in the fear (of financial loss) ridden world of traditional publishing. There’s more opportunity out there for all levels of authors now, and hopefully, as in the past, the cream will eventually rise to the top of the bucket.”

I am grateful for the small presses that have contracted and published these authors. But in todays drenched market, it is challenging for these authors to find their readers and their sales can be discouraging. We repeat our teacher and mentor Michael Hyatt’s words: "writing may be queen, but platform is king" (especially true for nonfiction authors), and our efforts intensify to up our social media stats and we find and share articles of those unknown writers who have "made it big" to encourage one another. Yet low sales numbers have many authors asking if it is time to throw in the towel.

This is when we need to remember God’s mathematics and our mission statement.

Luke 15:3-7 ESV/ So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

Luke 15:8-10 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In God’s economy, it is all about the one.

And that one then often multiplies when they tell another.

Ask yourself why you are writing.  For fame? Fortune? Influence?

Or are you writing because you are a writer and that is what you have to do.

Writers write.

Writers with a smaller platform can still find their readers online. Consider blogging and offering your chapters in downloadable content in installments.  Be willing to start small. Write articles for online magazines. Is there not a magazine in your genre? Start one.

But write for that ONE. Chances are you’ll be read by many more.

Stay encouraged. Hone your skills and write on!



  1. Great advice, Diana. If our words can impact even one life, what a blessing!

    p.s. Love the Robert Frost quote, too!

  2. Wonderfully encouraging. thanks

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