Friday, June 7, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature- Bill Giovannetti

Today I welcome a Pastor/author who discovered his gift from those who sat in his congregation:
Bill Giovannetti

Enter to win Bill's new release,
Secrets to a Happy Life 

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

I met Bill through My Book Therapy classes. We both have attended these sessions to improve our writings. When Bill mentioned his new book would release June 15, 2013, I asked him to share how God has led him on his writing journey. Here is what he said:

Near-Paralyzing Fears

I confess to a number of near-paralyzing fears: the fear of heights (acrophobia), the fear of bridges (long, high, windy ones with low side rails that threaten to suck me to a watery doom, gephyrophobia), and the fear of public speaking (glossophobia).

The last fear is one of God’s funniest jokes in my life: I am a pastor. I preach to a couple thousand people every weekend. I’ve told my church the worst walk in the world is the 30 feet from behind the curtains to the pulpit. I’m in good company; recent studies have shown the average person fears public speaking more than rattlesnakes.
Or death.
As in, “Go out there and preach or I’ll shove this rattler down your back."
I asked Bill to send a funny pic!
"Fine. Hand over the snake."
Why would God do that to me?
I can’t be sure of all his mysterious ways, but I do know this: God grows me by moving me into my fears. And I think this is the magic sauce that has dipped me into the publishing stew.

My first attempt at writing was a horribly boring — though grammatically correct — rewrite of what was then my most popular sermon series. My very best friends on earth hemmed and hawed before pronouncing it boring.
I smiled on the outside, but did a silent scream on the inside. In many ways, I am a fundamentally insecure guy. So I shoved my insane writing fantasy into the black abyss where it belonged and gave up writing for almost ten years. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of bad reviews. I was already enduring the public-speaking phobia on a weekly basis, so one's enough, I figured.

But the writing bug isn't that easy to kill.
Fast forward to a new church in a new state, where I discovered a handful of established authors sitting in my pews. Over lunch, Dave Meurer, a multi-published humor writer, said, “Bill, people need this stuff you’re preaching. Have you ever considered writing?”
“It’s boring,” I blurted out. The alarmed look on his face prompted me to elaborate. Dave gently coached, prodded, taught, rewrote, and cajoled me into a book proposal and a visit to the legendary Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference.

You should also know, I am, by nature, an introvert.

We drove the four hours to the conference together. Dave explained the importance of "the pitch." I practiced my butt off, but couldn't nail it down. I kept freezing halfway through. I'd never be a rich, famous, New York author like Richard Castle.

Pitch clumsily memorized, we arrived in time to join the line for dinner. The stranger in front of me turned around and asked the fatal question: "Do you want to practice your pitch on me?"

I froze.

What planet was this? Who asks those questions? What kind of author-boot-camp-hell was I at? Introverts are not good off the cuff. I knew I had a rational brain in there somewhere, but I couldn't access it. Don't talk to me, Ms. Stranger-Danger! Where's that gaping chasm when you need one?

My Inner Dummy conscripted my vocal cords and my ears heard a voice that sounded like mine blurt out, "It's boring."

"I'm sure it's not," Ms. Smiley Face said, evidently immune to pre-authorial lunacy. "Give it a shot."

So I did, throbbing headache and palpitating heart adding audible punctuation. I pitched my pitch. Again and again and again in that rustic camp in California's mountains.

And that blasted pitch never felt good or right or fearless, not even once. Pathetic, I know.

When God tells his people, "Fear not," I have a hunch he doesn't want us to let fear tower over our lives like an orc over a Hobbit.

Later that week, at a meeting on a bench under a tree, I nervously pitched my book to Janet Kobobel Grant, an agent I would later find out was one of the best in the biz. I went down in flames, no doubt. One phone call later, she took me on as a client.

A charity case, perhaps, or a clerical mistake. Nobody would want my book.

A few months after that, Janet produced my first contract. And now I'm under contract for my fourth.

I can't speak for anyone else, and I know God works in different ways with different people, but for me, the journey into writing has passed through the scary valleys of rejection and failure and incompetence.

Writing, like life, flows with emotion. And true emotion, wrapped in wisdom, humility, and perseverance, is the golden ticket to publishing success.

Bill Giovannetti teaches at AW Tozer Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of the 2,500 member Neighborhood Church of Redding. He enjoys life with his awesome wife and two great kids surrounded by the snow-capped peaks and pristine lakes of northern California. With humor and grace, Bill’s writing informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. His third book, based on the life of Joseph in the Bible, just came out from Bethany House Publishers, called Secrets to a Happy Life.


To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Bill Giovannetti's book: "Secrets to a Happy Life":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.
U.S. residents only
Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Bill,  for Joining us This Weekend!

Oh to sit in the sanctuary and be blessed by Bill's preaching of God's Word.  God placed the right writers in his congregation to spur him on to publication. Take a look around your life, who has God placed in your presence to help you whether by encouraging words, or technical help?


Cynthia Herron said...

Wow! Bill, I'd never heard your WHOLE story before! So encouraging! I read it over my phone this morning while at the breakfast table. My husband and daughter enjoyed it, too! What a kick-start to our day!

Mary, thanks so much for bringing us Bill's testimony today. It really spoke to me. So proud to call him an agency-mate, and I really hope to hear him preach one day!

Can't wait to read Secrets to a Happy Life. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good morning, Cynthia. What fun to share our time over breakfast this morning. You and I need to go together on a road trip to California.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Gabrielle Meyer said...

I was introduced to Bill (via the internet) just a couple of months ago when I joined the Books & Such Agency, but in that short time, I've come to respect him a great deal. I've heard awesome reviews of Secrets to a Happy Life and I can't wait to read it! Loved hearing his publishing story--and realizing all of us go through so many of the same emotions on this journey. Thank you Mary & Bill! This was a great way to start my day. :)

Rita Garcia said...

Thank you, Bill, for sharing your testimony. You inspire me!

Camille Eide said...

Encouraging words to this likewise fundamentally insecure, painfully introverted & boring author. Who is now reminded that God set up not one but TWO free trips to Mt Hermon for me in 2008 & 2009 and may have had a reason for that. Especially encouraging because just this morning I'm seriously considering quitting this writing gig altogether...and am now reminded that God may actually have something to say about that. Perhaps this is a Moses/2 Cor.12:9 moment, and your story reminds me that God will use whom he will to accomplish what he will, not because of our strengths and not in spite of our weakness but perhaps because of our weakness.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing, and thank you, Bill. (BTW, I have a copy of the book on the way :) )

Unknown said...

Bill, your sense of humor and steadfastness to rely on God instead of take the snake provides hope for the rest of us. Interestingly, you and I have the same fears. You've given me courage to keep on keeping on, my Friend. And CONGRATULATIONS on Secrets to a Happy Life. Aren't you glad Janet saw past your self-professed flame-out to the heart of the author? I am. And I'm not alone. Blessings!

Donny Pauling said...

My copy has also been ordered, but I purchased the Nook version, which won't be released until the 15th. That gives me time to finish the book I'm currently reading.

sue harrison said...

As Cynthia and Camille say, this interview is so encouraging. I attended an ACFW conference two years ago. I LOVE to speak in front of audiences. My Alaska novels had hit bestseller lists across the world, but I'd never done a face-to-face book pitch before. I crashed and burned every time I tried to pitch my book. By the end of the conference I was nothing more than a cinder. I love hearing that there is hope yet for the future.

Thank you so much, Bill and Mary!

cloleary said...

It is really good to hear how difficult it was for Bill. I see him every week as he preaches his sermon and would have no idea that he was ever scared. He seems so confident. His sermons are anything but boring. I have read a couple of his other books and they are great. Looking forward to reading this one as well.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Gabrielle, so nice to see you today. Thanks for mentioning the reviews for Secrets to a Happy Life. I'm not surprised, though. Already I have seen what a gifted writer Bill is.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I agree, Rita. His testimony speaks of the gifts God has given him.

So nice to see you today.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I find your words as inspiring as Bills. You have gained much from your experiences, seeing God's love for you. And in spite of our weakness, He grants us the blessing to be a blessing to others through the talents given to us.

I was so happy to see you here today. Thanks for coming.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Perfect time, Donny. Please be sure to write a book review for Bill on Amazon. This will encourage others to purchase his book.

So nice to see you here, Donny. Hope to see you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

And you also give us strength, knowing that a published author struggles when faced with "the pitch." I've tried several ways to psych myself into giving a calm, prepared presentation...someday I might...not sure how long that will take, though...LOL

Mary Vee Writer said...

I have heard the same from other pastor/speakers. They tell of their nervousness...AND then God gives them a gentle shove toward the lectern/pulpit and somehow helps the words to flow from their heart. We all need to be thankful for and pray for our pastors.
So nice to visit with you today, I hope you come back.

Janice said...

I loved reading about another introvert. The humor is really a blessing and helps to take some sting out of bumblebee stung my tongue and I can't talk syndrome.

My brother is the salesman in my family. Maybe it helped that our father had my brother out pulling his little red wagon door to door selling tomatoes in our neighborhood as a child. What a relief I did not have to do that!!! But I never learned to sell. I can pitch a ball so that a child can hit it with a bat. That's about my best pitch. Thanks for the heads-up about doing the sales pitch for a book in case I get to that point. I did try at one point to sell Usborne childreh's books but bumblebee syndrome prevented me from being successful.

It would be great to win this book. It would make me happy! I would like sometime to hear a sermon by Pastor Bill as well as read his book.

Blessings, Janice

Janice said...

Just another quick note related to this post. I am currently reading the novel Bridging Two Hearts by Michelle Ule, and not long after reading about Pastor Bill's gephyrophobia I came across that same word on page 91 in the novel. One does not expect to see a word like that twice in an hour. Interesting...

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Janice!
So nice to see you today.
At times, I think anyone can be an introvert. It's when we are shoved in a situation where we feel uncomfortable. I definitely experiences these situations.
And, yes, unfortunately doing pitches is a part of presenting your book to an editor, agent, etc. Practice practice.

Mary Vee Writer said...

That is amazing, Janice:)

Shopgirl said...

This looks like a good one I could really benefit from. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Veronica. Yes, I agree this looks like a fantastic book. I hope you win:)

Unknown said...

I not only read his books but have the blessing of hearing him preach TRUTH each week:-)