[Today’s post is by Robert]
Despairing of ever finding an agent or publisher, Glenn and I nonetheless went back to work finishing the manuscript. More focus was needed, I’d learned, so I did that. Change this, correct that POV, clarify the characters. Thirteen months later a polished draft was finally ready for shopping around to publishers.
Skipping over query letters, except where required, we went straight to submitting book proposals. Do you know how much time it takes to write those? Publisher A wants the overview, the synopsis and the marketing plan presented this way. Publisher B wants the same information, but presented differently. And so on. Maybe print publishing – which currently finds itself in serious competition with ebook publishing – could become more attractive to authors by standardizing book proposal formats.
Then came the weeks of waiting. Watching the mailbox. Checking email multiple times daily. Calling the landline from the cell phone to ensure it was still working. Finally, a small publisher in the western U.S. made us an offer. Ecstatic, we contacted a couple of well-recommended agents. Conventional wisdom had said one can land an agent if one has a contract in hand. Right?
Not this time. Our book was too controversial. They weren’t sure they could sell it. We were unknowns competing with established authors. Other ‘reasons, as well.
Not to worry. The contract was good. We’d go it alone. Off went the manuscript to the editor. Only it seemed the editor assigned was using grammar software to ‘edit’ our book. Back to the publisher where another editor was assigned. Better this time. She gave good counsel, made intelligent recommendations, improved the book. Then she acquired a medical problem that prevented her working – completely.
Back to the publisher again. A third editor was assigned. Her first email was prompt and professional. We were back on track! Off went the manuscript again, then nothing. Confused and concerned, we emailed the editor-in-chief. A senior editor was promised.
The following week our senior editor emailed asking for the most recent manuscript and setting expectations on when we’d hear back from her. Under-promising and over-delivering, she sent the edited manuscript sooner than anticipated. Finally, we finished our final edits, prayed over the manuscript, and sent it back to the editor.
Next step – waiting for the cover design.