Though we’ve never met in person, Deb Haggerty has impacted me positively. Unbeknownst to her, I heard about a kindness she extended toward a friend of mine. Getting that glimpse of Deb’s character draws me to her, and I believe you’ll be drawn to her, too, after learning more in this interview.
Please join me in welcoming Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., Deb Haggerty, to Writers Connect.
Deb, when and how did you come to know the Lord as your Savior?
Deb Haggerty: I had known about Jesus and religion from a young age. I went to Sunday School and church. However, I knew I was missing something—I saw people in my church who were peaceful and happy although they’d had so much hardship in their lives. I wanted what they had, so I started studying religions. But not until I was eighteen did I find out the difference between religion and a personal relationship with Christ. A pastor at a church I attended commended me for all my study about religion but told me I was missing the point—I needed to know Jesus personally. With the explanation of the relationship, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And then, as I relate in my book, These Are the Days of My Life, I ran away for years, only coming back to that relationship when I was in my mid-thirties.
What is your primary role in the writing community, and how did you achieve this position?
Deb Haggerty:I’ve been involved in speaking and writing since the 1990s. When I was professionally speaking, I was told I needed to write a book. Instead, I wrote stories for other people’s books—and was more successful in becoming “known” through that strategy than had I written a book of my own. In 2000, I went through treatment for breast cancer—chemo cost me my hair. And companies didn’t want a bald woman giving speeches. I did some talk radio from home and wrote short pieces when asked. In 2012, I started my freelance editing business, Positive Grace. A year later, I contracted with Elk Lake Publishing as an editor. When the acquisitions editor left, the publisher offered me the position. I worked in that job for a year, and then the publisher became ill and could not continue in the business. After much prayer, I bought the company in 2016.
What do you recommend to writers who are pursuing publication?
Deb Haggerty:Attend as many writers’ conferences as you can. Take classes—in fiction or nonfiction, and in the genres under each. Read books on writing and in your genre. Learn what makes a book successful. Determine who your audience is and what level of writing you need to reach them. In other words, learn your craft before submitting. Examine your motives for writing. Realize two things: getting your book published will take time; and you’re not likely to make much money from your book unless the Lord blesses you with a bestseller. Check the websites of the agencies and publishers you’re interested in working with. Make sure you only submit to agents or editors whose requirements match your work. And once you find them, make sure your submission is error free. If the proposal isn’t perfect, they will assume the writing will not be good either and reject the project.
What are your dreams and goals for the next year?
Deb Haggerty:Our mission is to captivate our readers and carry them to places of escape, encouragement, education, and entertainment—to broaden their horizons and urge them to new heights. More than anything else, we want to point people to Jesus Christ. I’m passionate about spreading the gospel of Jesus by publishing positive books. My personal mission is to come alongside the authors the Lord brings to me and to help them get the words he’s given them out to their readership in the most professional manner possible. He’s brought me staff who share that vision, and I get to mentor and help them too. In 2020, we hope to match or exceed our publication numbers for 2019 and to become better known in the industry so we attract more experienced authors and agents. We’d like to have the majority of our books in audio book format before the end of 2020.
How can we pray for you?
Deb Haggerty:Pray the prayer of Jabez for us: “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” (1 Chron 4:10). We’d love to publish more books next year. Pray for my authors—that Satan would be thwarted in his schemes to prevent them from writing and getting their work out to readers. Pray for my staff, all volunteers who share in the royalties from our book sales, that they would stay healthy and be able to continue working with us. Pray for book sales—that the numbers would increase substantially and more readers would be reached for Jesus Christ. Praise God he has provided sufficiently for us to continue to fund this ministry. Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. is our ministry. We give all glory to God for this opportunity to work for him.
Deb, I’m so pleased to know more about you—thank you for sharing! Your journey in the writing world testifies of God’s faithfulness as you have diligently served Him. Thank you for your Christlike example. Also, I’m grateful for your helpful tips about publication, which reveal your wisdom based on years of experience. And finally, I love Elk Lake’s mission “to point people to Jesus Christ.” May the Lord continue to bless you in your labors for His glory.
Dear Readers ~ I trust you’ve benefited from learning more about Deb Haggerty, Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., and how you can pursue publication. Please remember Deb in your prayers, plus feel free to contact her via the links in her bio.