I’ve had a lot to think about this week. There were issues at work that I worried too much about. There were issues with projects that I almost let overtake me. There were difficulties with a hundred minor things that really worked on my nerves this week. But when I allow myself a moment to step back and take a look at the whole picture, I see that there are reasons behind all of it and that it all works together to show me something much more important than what I originally thought was happening.
God has a way of redirecting us that is often undetectable. You may not understand what He’s done in your life until years later, but He is always right there working through things with you and steering you toward the right solution for your mission here. For example, I haven’t always understood the importance of some of the “assignments” He’s given me until I’m years removed from completing them. I’m currently in the middle of an assignment that often doesn’t make sense to me, but He leaves little clues here and there to let me know that He wants me to stay with it…so I do. When I reach a point where I’m frustrated or can’t see a way to make things work, I have to take a few moments and think about why I could be dealing with whatever the frustrating issue is, pray about it, and then make my decision about how to handle it. Thankfully, I’ve not given in to the urge to just quit and find something easier to do. I hate to imagine how my life would be without Higher Ground Books & Media.
To give you a bit more context, I started this company as Books from Higher Ground back in 2014. This was a little while after my publisher at the time had announced that his company would be closing and that the rights to the books I’d published with him would be reverting back to me. I think at that time, I had about six or seven books published, and I was scrambling to figure out what to do with them once my publisher was gone. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I could just re-release them myself. I was in the process of writing the next book in the series, so not re-releasing them in some way was out of the question. I started piecing together my little publishing company and before long, I had a couple of other writers who were interested in having me publish their books. For a very long time, it was just me and about three other authors on the roster. And then, one day, I received a couple more submissions. And then, a little while later, a few more. During that time, I completed a three-book contract for one lady and almost immediately after I had them all done, she decided to withdraw and take her books elsewhere. I was devastated by this. I had put so much work into getting the books done and I was so proud of them. She had no complaints about the work I’d done, she just decided that she wanted to go in another direction or something like that. This was the first point at which I seriously considered dropping the whole thing and just forgetting about being an author and publisher. But something told me to keep going. And then I received several more submissions from out of nowhere and made a few more connections. And so, I kept going.
Sometime in 2018, I received a submission from a lady, and I was immediately drawn to her story. I had never read something that had touched my heart so profoundly…even to the point that I was crying as I read the pages. The writing was excellent, and the story was heart-wrenching. I absolutely had to publish this book. I worked for days on the proof and cover and had everything set up and ready to go. Having had several discussions with the author, I was excited to put the book out there. People needed to read this. And I was happy to have the opportunity to publish it. Sadly, as the devil often does, he interfered in the process and at the last minute, the author decided to pull back in favor of another publisher. She had gotten some sort of deal that she felt would be more beneficial to her and in spite of the work I had done, she decided that she would take her book and run. My spirit was completely crushed. Once again, I fought with the urge to just walk away from it all. Why couldn’t people just honor their commitments? What kind of person puts another person through the trouble of working on a project of that magnitude and then pulls away without proper notice? In this business, it unfortunately seems there are quite a few who do this.
In both cases, the authors pulled their books in order to work with what were basically vanity presses. Rather than work with a publisher who wasn’t charging them a dime to publish their work and who would legitimately promote their work as part of a corporate effort to educate, motivate, and inspire readers, they opted for the shiny objects that were being dangled in front of them by these salesmen of ill-repute. I hadn’t gotten into this business to make tons of money and when I started out, God had basically told me that my job was to publish stories that needed to be heard. To work with authors who needed to know that their stories mattered and that what they learned about God’s grace and mercy was something that other people would benefit from hearing. And so, even though each incident had been hurtful and frustrating, I kept going.
Every few months or so, I received a few more submissions. I hosted and attended a few events and made more connections and from there, a few more authors were added to the roster. And growth has been fairly steady since then. What started out as a way to re-release a few books I’d written turned into a vehicle through which some 60 authors are able to tell their stories to the world. And although we’ve had a few decide to leave us, we have overwhelmingly surpassed all expectations that I might have had when this all started. I’ve been able to connect with some of the sweetest people through this “project” that is undoubtedly my mission here on Earth.
Every year, I look back on where we’ve been and what we’ve been able to do. And I am always surprised at what we’ve been able to accomplish. There is always opposition and usually some level of frustration. We’ve endured financial woes, difficulties with software or hardware, problems with shipping, and a host of other little attacks meant to discourage us from doing the work we do. But God is good. And He made sure to step in and help us over each one of the humps we encountered.
I still have big plans for Higher Ground Books & Media. Each year brings a brand-new focus and the hope that we’ll be able to help more people by sharing stories of hope and healing. We’ve worked very hard to be one of the “good” publishing companies and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to do right by our authors and our readers. Our schedule for 2023 is already filling up and we are looking forward to new books from a few of our authors. In 2024 we’ll celebrate our ten-year anniversary and we’ll no doubt, be looking for some spectacular way to celebrate this great milestone. We’ll share more with you as we get closer to that time, but for now just know that your support over these past eight years means more to us than you could ever know. Thank you for listening, reading, and just being here for us. We are forever grateful.
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.
If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.