Two New Releases on Marriage

One thing I want to do more on the blog this year is let you know about new releases from WordServe clients. It’s more than just self-promotion and kudos to the author (although admittedly, that’s part of it). I also hope that by telling you a little about each book’s journey to publication, I can offer some inspiration, encouragement and education for your own journey. Hope this helps!

The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man ~ On Purpose and With a Plan

By Kathi Lipp

This book holds a special place in my heart, because Kathi was my very first client (thanks, Kathi, for taking a risk on me!) and this was the very first book I sold as an agent. Kathi’s publisher is Harvest House, and this is the first in a series (she signed a two-book contract).

Kathi has been writing and speaking for nearly ten years in order for her first book to be published so she could become an “overnight success.” She speaks to large and small groups nearly 50 times a year. Platform? That’s what I’m talkin’ about, folks. Greg and I found Kathi in the slush pile just days after I joined the agency. I loved her proposalโ€”a three-week plan for wives to put the spice back in marriage by paying better attention to their husbands on a daily basis. Kathi’s writing is funny, down-to-earth and practical, and completely drew me in.

But what put Kathi over the top was that her great idea and strong writing were bolstered by those ten years of platform-building. We were able to present publishers with a three-page list of speaking engagements Kathi had already booked for the coming year. This is what took Kathi’s book from “Wow, great stuff” to “Wow, great stuff that will SELL!”

Congratulations, Kathi, on your publishing debut.
Visit her online here.


I Do Again: How We Found a Second Chance at Our Marriage ~ And You Can Too

By Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs

This book has only been out for a couple of weeks, and already the authors Cheryl and Jeff are getting emails everyday from readers all over the country, testifying to how it has touched their lives and given them renewed hope for their own marriages. It’s is a unique memoir of ten disappointing years of marriage, seven painful years of divorce, and a remarkable spiritual awakening that opened the way to healing. It’s a story of the power of prayer and redemption, and God’s power to bring a new and vibrant love out of the ashes of this family’s pain.

I first met Cheryl three years ago when I was still editing and writing books. Greg had agreed to represent her, and she needed a collaborator. Cheryl and I hit it off, and I thought her and Jeff’s story was amazing, so we agreed to work together to create this book.

(For those of you who are lamenting the amount of time things take in this business… I know how you feel! Three years feels like a long time from start to finish.)

The Scruggs’ book sold on the strength of the story itself (the remarkable journey Jeff and Cheryl have been through), together with a strong proposal and a growing platform. They’d begun a marriage ministry in the Dallas area and were speaking regularly to huge audiences. Greg first met them on a referral from one of his clients, and immediately recognized the power of the story. Greg sold the book to Mick Silva at Waterbrook Multnomah; it released three weeks ago, and has been generating strong media interest.

Big News: Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs will be interviewed by Kathie Lee Gifford on “The Today Show” tomorrow (Friday). It will be live, sometime in the last hour of the program. Take a look if you get a chance!

Congratulations to Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs on your first book!
Visit their website.


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Jabbertype on December 11, 2011 at 1:59 AM


    Wonderful blog post, saw on…

  2. Gwen Stewart on January 10, 2009 at 2:06 AM

    >Congrats to all three authors and to you, Rachelle.

    Both books look fabulous. I especially love that Kathi Lipp has aptly used the terms “Husband” and “Project” together. Husbands always seem to have a project of some sort brewing. Now it seems Kathi has pointers for wives to have a project too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yvonne on January 9, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    >I saw the interview on the Today Show. I thought they did a good job of getting their testimony in the time they were given to talk.

    Their book is also in the CBD catalog that came in the mail this morning.

    Agents don’t get much publicity, do they? You will see the author’s name, the illustrator, and maybe the publisher…but no mention of the agent. I’m sure the author appreciates you!

  4. Avily Jerome on January 9, 2009 at 12:36 AM


    Curses on the Catch 22 of the platform!

    It’s a heckuva lot harder to get speaking engagements if you don’t even have a book to prove you know what you’re talking about.

    And it’s a heckuva lot harder to publish a book if you don’t have a platform already.

    *sigh* What’s an author to do?

  5. Lynn on January 8, 2009 at 11:09 PM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    I want to thank you for these posts. Dineen sent me over and first the books sound like excellent resources for our ministry. Second, I apprecaite sharing your knowledge and know what we must do. Thank you.

    Have missed you. Hope Colorado is great. I visited my mom in Grand Junction this summer. Miss that state a ton. Hugs.

  6. Elizabeth M Thompson on January 8, 2009 at 10:39 PM

    >Both books sound great. I also have a marriage-focused book in the works (long-time works) and both of these titles will make great research sources. Thanks!

    Oh, and I love to hear how books came into existence. These types of stories are a great addition to your blog.

  7. Kathi Lipp on January 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    >Hey Rachelle –

    Thanks for the shout out!

    I am not a gambling woman,but your are the best gamble I have ever made!

  8. Pam Halter on January 8, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    >Congratulations all around! Even though things can take years, it’s still encouraging to hear the success stories.

  9. Amber Lynn Argyle on January 8, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    >Of your clients, how many haven’t been able to find a home? It’s the scariest question an agented, but unpublished person can ask. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Renee on January 8, 2009 at 12:17 PM

    >Wow! How exciting. I really like the sound of Kathi’s book. But I think it is awesome that God used the hard times in the Scruggs’ life to speak to others in similar situations.

  11. Dara on January 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    >I’m definitely going to check out The Husband Project.

    Both books do look amazing though.

  12. Lady Glamis on January 8, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    >Thanks for sharing those books! They look fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Jessica on January 8, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    >Both of those books sound amazing! Congrats to the authors!

  14. Richard on January 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    >Great idea for a post! Can’t wait to read the backstory next time!

  15. Chatty Kelly on January 8, 2009 at 9:03 AM

    >Congrats to you Rachelle and your clients!

    This reinforced to me what I heard a writers conference, that writers must be speakers too. You also showed the importance of platform. I can’t imagine have 50 speaking events…and a 4 yr old. I’m not quite in that season yet.

    Have a great day.

  16. Marcie Gribbin on January 8, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    >These look like great books to recommend to my Women’s Ministry group. Thanks for highlighting these together for us! Congrats to you and the authors and prayers for all of you that God will use these books as tools to strengthen many marriages.

  17. Rachel on January 8, 2009 at 8:37 AM


  18. Myowne on January 8, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    >Thanks for this highlight on these two sets of authors. I appreciate hearing about writers living their dreams. This also gave me some food for thought about building a platform for my writing and speaking ministry.

  19. lynnrush on January 8, 2009 at 8:16 AM

    >Wow, that’s great news about being on the Today Show. How exciting, and for a first book? That’s awesome.

    Thanks for sharing these books with us. **smile**

  20. Kim Kasch on January 8, 2009 at 2:10 AM

    >I’m always looking for new things to read.

    I’ll definitely look up the titles you post on your page.

    And Congrats to you and the authors!!!