The Story I Never Thought I’d Tell with Rosie Makinney (Re-Air)
Are you struggling with a story that you know needs to be told — but you’d much rather someone else write it instead? As writers and aspiring authors, we often have a vision for what we think our writing career will look like. But what happens when God interrupts your plans and challenges you to be vulnerable and share a story that exposes secrets and sets people free?
This week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Rosie Makinney, was waiting for someone else to write the book she knew the world needed. But when her own pursuits didn’t work out the way anyone expected, Rosie found herself writing that book instead. As a result, she discovered the bigger purpose God had in mind. Let Rosie’s story encourage you to keep doing what you feel called to do — even if it’s not what you think you want to do.
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- The shocking turn Rosie’s first book deal took, and how it propelled her writing career in a very different direction
- Why you need a constructive and supportive writing community
- Rosie’s tips on choosing the right agent
- The importance of starting, even before you’re “ready”
- Rosie’s advice for the writer who wrestles with doubt and the fear of rejection
Finding the Right Story to Tell
Rosie Makinney’s book, Fight for Love, and her ministry of the same name aim to help people who have been affected by addiction to pornography — whether they struggle with this addiction themselves or know someone who does.
Rosie is extremely passionate about helping people find their way to healing. But she also admits that, originally, she never intended or even wanted to write this particular book.
Instead, Rosie got her start as an aspiring author by writing a children’s fiction book. When she finished the manuscript, it was as though doors started to open everywhere at once:
- Rosie’s friend introduced her to her own agent, who loved Rosie’s book and quickly agreed to sign.
- Rosie’s book was accepted by not one, but two major publishing houses who were competing to offer her a book deal.
- The agent started negotiating with the publishing houses to get the details of the contract nailed down.
But then, after all that movement, progress on the book deal slowed down. So Rosie decided to work on a different type of project while she waited to hear back from her agent. On a whim, she wrote five pages of the book that would later become Fight for Love for a competition at an upcoming Christian writing conference — and won an all-expenses-paid ticket to attend the conference.
“I thought I’d just go and see if there was a market for it,” she recalls. “And the response to my idea was phenomenal. Everyone I sat next to said, ‘Thank you for writing this book!’ And I was sitting there thinking, ‘I’m not actually writing it!’”
One of the people who expressed interest was someone Rosie describes as her dream Christian agent. Since this book would fall into a very different category from her children’s book — and since she still hadn’t heard much from her first agent — Rosie decided to accept the offer from this second agent instead.
As it turned out, she could not have made a better decision.
Facing Extreme Disappointment
While working on her new book, Rosie finally heard back from her first agent. No progress had been made; instead, the agency was shutting down. So she reached out to another client of that same agent, who gave her some truly shocking news: the agent had been making up fake book deals!
Sure enough, when Rosie contacted the editors who she believed had accepted her manuscript, she learned that none of them had ever received it in the first place.
Rosie was devastated and confused. She had spent no money on this fake book deal, so the scam seemed to have no purpose, and some of the lying agent’s clients had even received fabricated rejections addressed from editors who never saw their manuscripts.
Thankfully, Rosie’s second book was in trustworthy hands. Through the work of her new agent, she received glowing feedback from a number of editors. They loved her story and her writing.
But now there was a new problem: Rosie had no author platform. Due to the sensitive nature of her book’s content, Rosie was writing under a pseudonym, and even though the editors loved her book and her writing, they were reluctant to sign her without a well-known name attached.
“I’m having to put myself out for a project that I’m not even sure I really want to do,” Rosie says, “and everyone’s saying no. And I just didn’t understand. I felt like, ‘What are you doing to me, God? I’m trying to be obedient here and write this, and yet all the doors are closing.’”
In the end, Rosie’s book was rejected 15 times, all because she didn’t have an author platform. Finally, though, the 16th editor accepted her submission — even without an author platform — and offered her a book deal.
Now, looking back, Rosie says this was all possible because God surrounded her with the right people:
- Her writing community encouraged her to write the book in the first place.
- Her second agent encouraged her when she didn’t think it would be possible to get her book published.
- Her editor cared about her message and fought for her book even without a platform.
“Sometimes the journey makes no sense,” she concludes. “And that’s why you need a community around you.”
Saying “Yes” to God’s Call
Rosie’s story beautifully demonstrates how one seemingly insignificant choice can actually be a defining moment that leads us into something we could never have imagined. After all, if she had never said “yes” and attended that writing conference, all the other pieces might never have fallen into place.
Now, Rosie wants to offer hope to any aspiring authors who feel stuck in a spiral of rejections. No matter how many times you’re rejected, remember that you only need one acceptance. So if the first one you try doesn’t work out, don’t give up! God has called you for a reason, and all you have to do is keep doing what you feel called to do.
“I did feel called to write this book,” Rosie says. “I didn’t want to write it. But I really felt like: There is a need to write it. I can do it — I guess I’m going to have to.”
Because Rosie said “yes” to God’s call, she’s able to help so many people, not just through her book, but also through sharing her story. The experience of finding out her first agent had lied was nightmarish, but now she knows what to look for in an honest editor and how to set realistic expectations.
For aspiring authors who are looking for an agent to work with, Rosie’s #1 piece of advice is to trust your instincts. When her first agent wasn’t communicating about the progress of her book, Rosie hesitated to ask about it — even though she sensed that something was wrong.
Of course, it’s important to be respectful and considerate, but book publishing is a business, and you need to work with a professional who communicates clearly and honestly and actually does what they’ve agreed to do.
Don’t let the fear of confrontation stop you from standing up for yourself — if the person has integrity, they won’t be upset by you wanting clear communication. If they’re dishonest, having those conversations early on will often reveal their true colors sooner, saving you precious time and possibly money in the long run.
When it finally came time to publish her book and put her story — and her name — out into the world, Rosie admits to feeling some apprehension. But by this time, she had arrived at a place where the opportunity to share her message felt like a responsibility and a privilege. She had drawn from the stories of many other women while writing the book, and she felt an obligation to do their stories justice.
She also knew that she needed to publish the book under her own name, not a pseudonym as she had originally intended. “My whole ministry is about taking the shame out of this issue,” she explains. “This is affecting so many people, and if I’m not willing to lead from the front, what kind of hope is that? You need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”
Rosie’s story is a powerful reminder to us all of the importance of owning the stories we’ve been given. For whatever reason, you may not want to share your story right now — but someone else’s deliverance could very well hinge on you being obedient and sharing your story anyway.
Overcoming fear and putting yourself out there isn’t easy, but with God’s help, it is possible. And sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perspective to understand that the message you’ve been given isn’t all about you.
For Rosie, this shift happened when she started a podcast during the months leading up to her book launch. The podcast featured other women sharing their own stories and discussing questions that real women face.
“These amazing women just poured their hearts out down those microphones,” Rosie says. “And they were braver than I was. I was facilitating, but they were the ones sharing their hearts. So I almost feel like they led the way. I wrote the book, but they’re the heart of the whole ministry.”
Today, Rosie’s ministry continues to grow in ways that would never have been possible if she had stuck to writing children’s fiction. That’s why she’s able to look back on the experience of watching her supposed book deal fall apart and honestly say that she’s grateful it did.
Because of that experience — and because she said “yes” to God’s call and learned to rely on others around her for help and guidance — Rosie has become a vessel to offer God’s healing to people in need. Her “yes” put the whole process in motion so that God could bring others alongside her to help perfect the work she began.
“Yes, it’s my name on the book,” Rosie says now. “But it’s not my book at all. It was His book all along.”
Persevering Through Doubt & Discouragement
Maybe you, like Rosie, have received rejection after rejection, and you’re wondering why God would give you this message when no doors seem to be opening for you to share it.
If that’s you, Rosie advises reading about the temptations of Christ. “That’s how we are all tempted all the time,” she explains. “We’re tempted to believe that God is not good, that He is not holy, and that He doesn’t love us.”
As Christians, we are in a daily battle against the lies of our enemy, who wants us to doubt God’s goodness, holiness, and love. But even though Jesus may not have experienced the exact situations we face today — like, for example, being let down on a book deal — He was tempted by those same lies about who God is.
So when you find yourself in a difficult situation where it’s hard to believe in the goodness and love of God, remember that Jesus faced those same questions. “Once you know that Jesus has experienced exactly what you are experiencing,” Rosie adds, “then that gives you the strength to just hold on.”
Rosie Makinney is the founder of Fight For Love Ministries – a grassroots organization of women who equip, encourage and empower other women with the faith and the facts to take back their marriages from porn. She is the author of Fight For Love (LifeWay), an international speaker and the host of the popular Fight For Love podcast. Visit Rosie’s website here. Connect with Rosie on Instagram and Facebook.