A Book Contract? I Wish!

Or maybe I should say, I'm hoping. In September of 2007 I got to go to my first ever writer's conference. It was WONDERFUL. I never knew how cool it would be to sit around and chat writing with other wacky kindred spirits. I learned some good stuff, but even if I hadn't, just the fellowship with other authors was an amazing experience. I got to meet folks I'd only heard of for years, and others I'd struck up online friendships with, but had never actually met in person. So it was a great experience for me.

But the book contract, you ask. Hold your horses, I'm getting to it. It's not that big of news, but for me it is kind of exciting even if it doesn't pan out. In short, I had two major Christian publishers ask to see a proposal for my story. The first one was very unexpected. The way the ACFW conference is set up, they put published authors or agents or editors to host a table at meal times. You just choose who you want to sit with, and go to their table. Well, the first morning of the conference my roomie and I went down for breakfast right on time. Big mistake. HUGE! Because "on time" means late. Almost everyone had already gone in to eat. So the two of us sort of slunk in and grabbed the first two seats we could find. But wonder of wonders, even so we got to sit at the table of the head acquisitions editor of a major publisher. So we all got to talking (there were maybe 8 - 12 people at each table) and this editor guy asked each person to take a turn telling what they were working on. Came my turn and I spouted off my rehearsed little blurb about my story set in Brazil. Big wig editor nodded kindly, then, "Next!" No, not really. He was very polite. But he showed no interest whatsoever. And I basically shrugged it off since I still had an appointment set up to talk to an agent and the editor from the publisher of my choice. So I finished my breakfast and saw someone I wanted very much to meet. While I was talking to this lady, the editor from my breakfast table came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.

"I'm just wondering," he said, "If you'd be interested in submitting a proposal to us for your story."

And I'm standing there with shock written all over my face, I'm sure. And no, I didn't need a mirror to know that. I could feel it! So I'm sure big wig editor guy is rolling his eyes--inwardly, because he still has a very polite smile on his face--and thinking, boy is this one a newbie! When I finally managed to pick my bottom jaw up off the floor, I swallowed hard and nodded. Stammered a very unprofessional "S-s-sure!"

"Great," he says, and hands me his card and another quiet, polite smile.

The moment I got a chance, I ran to the bathroom and called my husband to let him know. Later that same day I had an appointment with an agent. He didn't ask to see my proposal, but he did give me some really good tips about pitching to an agent or editor. So the next day I had an appointment with the editor of my choice. She was so sweet, and my knees weren't knocking like they had been the day before when I gave my first pitch. She showed great interest in my story, and asked to see a proposal. Whoo-hoo!

Whoa! Two requests! Talk about getting your head out of the clouds. So now I had to get that baby ready to send. I've heard that alot of editors and even agents just tell anyone they meet with at conferences to send them a proposal because it's easier to send a rejection in writing than to say it to a person's face. Well, the agent I met with obviously didn't do that, thankfully. He simply didn't ask me to send him a proposal. The first editor came to me, and the second one seemed legitimately interested.

So I came home from the conference full of glee and really got to work on polishing the proposal. If you're not a writer, or you haven't submitted any of your writing yet, a proposal is basically a sample of your writing that you send an editor or agent to see if they want to read your full manuscript. It usually consists of the first three chapters of your book and a 3 to 5 page synopsis, where you tell all the major points of the story so they get an idea of your plot. If they like what they see in the proposal, then they'll ask to see the whole thing. And if they like the whole thing...well, hopefully it'll lead to them offering you a contract and then the best part, publishing that baby. It might not seem like a big deal. After all, the first three chapters were already written, right?? Y-yeah. That's right. That proposal has to really shine. I mean, really. So it'll stand out from all the other proposals these guys are getting every day. I went over my proposal until the story was coming out of my ears and I could barely stand to read another single word of it. But I got it done, and in early November I sent it off to both of the editors who requested to see it.

The End.

Ha! I hope not. But that's all the news I have so far. :) These things take a long time. I know that, and I'm trying to be patient. Well, there's nothing else I can do. lol. So now I sit and wait. And wait. And wait and wait and wait. And wait some more. But some day I'll get an answer, and I'm hoping that answer will be in 2008. And I'm hoping that answer will be a yes! Well, duh. Of course I hope for a yes. But if a no comes along, I'm still honored to have been asked by these two editors to see my work. I'm confident that I did my best. That's all I can do, and the rest is in God's hands.

So that's my little saga, and where I stand in my publishing journey. :) Sorry for the long post. But have you really known me to write anything other than long posts??? **grin**

Oh, and if you're a writer, check out the new link I added to my list of blogs. "My Book Therapy" is by prolific Christian author, Susan Warren. She's got great tips if you want to get your writing life organized. (Yes, Judy, I actually said [wrote] that word!)


Marianne Arkins said…

Judy's been keeping me updated, and I'm so excited for you. I have my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Good luck!!!

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