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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How I Got Published – Part 3 (On To The Publishers)

When we finally went to the publishers, I’ll have to admit I was really nervous.  I already knew too well that lack of platform was a strike against me.  My agent had already warned me of the likely reactions.
Not another non-fiction book with no platform.
Without even a toe in the door on platform, we really can’t even consider it.

I knew that I would keep writing and finish the book, even if no one wanted to publish it.  And that’s just what I did.  While Rachelle was sending out my proposal and talking with publishers, I kept writing.  For one, it kept me sane.  Plus, it helped me to remember why I had felt so passionately about the book in the first place.  It was a labor of love, not money or opportunity. 

I was prepared for the worst.  I was also glad we had waited.  The proposal was so much stronger with WorldServe’s input and edits, and we had even switched up a few of my sample chapters, adding more recent text that better captured the theme of the book.  If all else failed, I felt like I had done my best.  I’m the one who always tells my kids, “All God asks us is that we do our best.”  Now I just had to live it.

After Rachelle submitted the proposal to a first round of publishers, we had a good sense of who was interested and who wasn’t.   And we got some incredible feedback.  Even some of the large publishing houses that couldn’t overcome my lack of platform liked my writing.  I remember one editor commenting that my writing was compelling, but how on earth would I ever find time to promote my book?

It was a good question, but I took offense to it at the time.  Again, I was being punished for being a busy working mother.  People just assume we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.  (I’m one of those people who believes that the busiest 10% of people in the world are the folks you call when you need to get something done.)

There was one publishing house that we had our eye on from the start, David C. Cook.  They were incredibly enthusiastic from the initial proposal, gave immediate feedback, and let us know when the publishing board would be meeting to make a firm decision.  I continued to pray and thought, “this might really be it.”  I thought I was dreaming when they offered me a publishing contract.  (No, I didn’t receive a large advance and the lawyer in me couldn’t help but propose edits to the contract, but when you’re a first-time author with no platform, you quickly learn to sign on the dotted line!)

I’m so grateful the team at Cook took a chance on a first-time author, and I know that together we’ll build a platform for working mothers of faith who really need to know they’re not alone inside the church.  (And for working mothers outside the church, I pray that we’ll build understanding that the doors of the church are open with grace, not closed with judgment.) 

It was late 2008, and I was more than thankful to have a publisher.  Surely, by the end of 2009, my book would be published, right?  Well, almost.  As I would learn, editing takes time.  And the editing process was yet another adventure.


Gina said...

I appreciate your insight. Can I ask something: What do you do if you're not getting any feedback AT ALL? Rachelle has had my book with publishers for months now and I'm not hearing anything back from any of them. I'm sitting here tearing my hair out with frustration and don't know what to do.

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks much Gina, and thanks for posting. As you can tell, I'm new at this, so take my advice with a grain of salt. The only thing I can say is, if you love to write, keep writing. There was a time when I thought I would write a Children's book. There was also a time when I thought I would write a story about my grandmother. It took me years to formulate the idea for Chasing Superwoman. I have to believe your journey isn't over. Please keep me posted.