Monday, May 05, 2008

Deadline - Wright

I’m facing a deadline. The manuscript for my devotional book, Down a Country Road, has to be off in the next day or two. By this time in the writing process, I’m so sick of the manuscript I would almost use it to light a bonfire in my back yard. Well, okay that’s a bit of hyperbole.

A book seems to take me forever to write. Years of writing: re-reading, re-writing, revising. Then sending it to a critique group. That itself takes a year and provokes another round, or twenty, of revising.

At last, it’s time to interest a publisher. That means working through the agony of a book proposal: preparing a dynamite query letter, writing outlines and summaries and market analyses, picking sample chapters and duplicating letters of recommendation. Every page must be perfect.

After picking six or ten prospects I launch my book proposal into the blizzard of pitches raining down on hapless publishers.

Then I wait and wait, and wait some more. Should I send a reminder? Should I call by phone or send an e-mail?

Finally, a reply arrives. "Send manuscript." Wow, a bite. I oblige.

More waiting until in early 2007 the treasured words are heard. "We love your book. We’d like to include it in our publishing schedule for the fall of 2008." Oh, that far off? More discussion ensues. The publisher asks for a few changes. A contract is signed. I breathe a sigh and move on to other things.

Ten months later the publisher asks me to reduce all chapters to a given word count. Instead of tearing out what little hair I have left, I set to work again, trimming 1200 word chapters to 960. Now that is tough.

Happily, in the process of this final revision, I recapture some of the passion that led me to write the book in the first place. I remind myself of lessons learned about God and his grace from butterflies and partridges, storms and spring.

Even though I have another long wait ahead until I will actually hold the book in my hands, I’m satisfied. I know I’ll have done the best I could to share with potential readers the wonder and glory of God along our country road.

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