The Biggest Mistake Ever, by Staci Stallings

I’m winding down a whirlwind November and slowly settling into December, so some of my friends are helping me out with my blog. Author Staci Stallings pitched in with this humorous post:
 When my first book was published, I soon learned writing the book was the easy hurdle when compared with promoting a published book. Strapped for time and energy to give to promoting, much less to promoting and writing more, I took a friend’s advice and started publishing “cyber-serials” through my website. Basically, a cyber-serial was one of my novels, published through my newsletter by e-mail two chapters at a time, free for anyone who was subscribed to the newsletter. The idea was a hit although at the time I only had about six-hundred subscribers. People were writing to say how much they liked the book (and then books when I began the second one the next year). I felt God had truly led me to publishing like this—at least for that time—because it solved so many problems I was having with the other way of publishing.

Then shortly after sending out a set of chapters midway through my second cyber-serial, I received an e-mail with the same subject. Figuring it was either an “unsubscribe” or a comment, I opened it. There in brilliant red-on-black were the two chapters I’d just sent out—line edited. That’s right. Just like your high school English teacher used to do to your papers when it looked like she had bled all over them!

It took me a full minute to get over the shock. I mean, I’m sure you’ve found mistakes in books before, but have you ever actually taken out a red pen, marked up two whole chapters, and sent it back to the author so they can see what they’ve done wrong?

I finally shook my head in disbelief and clicked off the message, still trying to figure out what to do with it and how anyone would have the audacity to do such a thing. The ideas of what to do ping-ponged back and forth in my head. Should I write back and angrily ask what the person was thinking? Should I duck my head in shame and forget publishing altogether? Should I ignore it and figure whatever was the issue was their problem not mine? I’ll tell you what my feelings wanted to do… Option #1. My spirit wanted Option #2. My head said Option #3.

Eventually I chose option #3 figuring I just didn’t have enough pieces of why someone would do that to “fight back” and do so fairly. A month went by, and it was time to send out the new chapters. I have to admit, I was a little worried about doing so, but I had promised, so I did. About two hours after I sent it, I received a new message from this same person. Figuring I would find another set of marked-up chapters, I opened the email, which began:

“Dear Staci, I am soooooo, sooooooo sorry! I really REALLY messed up! When you sent me the chapters last month, I thought they were chapters from my critique group! I am so very, very sorry! Can you ever forgive me…?”

It went on thus for about a page and a half. As I read it, I literally started laughing hysterically! It took another twenty or so messages between the two of us before she finally quit telling me how sorry she was and ceased asking for my forgiveness. That’s how Love Inspired author Debra Ullrick and I became best friends.

It was one of the best mistakes she ever made, and one of the best decisions (to calm down and give her the benefit of the doubt). In the process, I got not only a best friend, but I got the chance to know and walk with a wonderful, Godly lady. So be careful of judging others when they make mistakes–often times we just don’t have all of the pieces.

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2004

 A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Spirit Light Books–The Blog

Facebook Author Page at:

Staci’s Bookshelf:


Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings

Come on over for a visit…

You’ll feel better for the experience!

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Guest Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Biggest Mistake Ever, by Staci Stallings

  1. Linda Yezak says:

    What a wonderful ending to your story! Always great to make new friends. Thanks for filling in for me Staci!


  2. Great story! Unsolicited criticism is the worst, but who knew it would end so well – or so funnily? Thanks so much for sharing and giving me something extra to smile about this morning.


  3. A great lesson in not giving into our intial reaction of retaliation and anger when confronted with what we feel is unwarranted criticizm. Thank you for sharing. It will be a story I will long remember…..


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