I walked back to my desk to be surprised by the new email that had just arrived in my Inbox. Ten minutes earlier I sent the email that I hoped would release me into a new life. With nervous anticipation I clicked on the email to open it.
Good morning Ian
This sounds interesting. I was the UK publisher for THIS PRESENT DARKNESS and PIERCING THE DARKNESS.
Can you send me the text?
Are you serious?
Hallelujah. I’m bouncing around the room with excitement. It’s end of day Friday and the weekend beckons.
As a write this post, it’s almost two years to the day since that email arrived. If you recall from my previous post in this series I mentioned I had been provided with an introduction to the acquisitions editor of a UK publishing house. In my proposal I made reference to Frank Peretti’s “Darkness” books playing an important part in my writing journey.
This is another one of those moments that some would call coincidence or luck, but I term a “God-thing”.
I hastily emailed the manuscript and then the waiting began. I’m a patient person by nature so waiting is not something I struggle to do. I was already used to the ‘wait” having sent numerous proposals and completed manuscripts to many different agents and publishers over this ten year sojourn.
Two months passed and I received some positive feedback that gave me encouragement. More people were going to be asked to read the manuscript. A few weeks later, even more encouraging news, the sales team were being asked for sales estimates. Of course, if the sales folk don’t believe they can sell some reasonable volume (whatever reasonable may be, I still have no idea), then the acquisition team aren’t likely to ‘buy it’.
I appreciated being kept in the loop. This also gave me a small glimpse into the due diligence process a publisher goes through before making a ‘Go/No Go’ decision on a manuscript.
Yes, this process did also raise my hopes somewhat. But I tried to leave it in God’s hands.
Finally, four months after submitting my proposal, I received the contract offer from Lion Hudson.
Gee that email was special. I was obviously excited; it felt like I was on the final lap of some very long distance race. It was exhilarating to see the finish line, but also a relief, that this long journey was soon to be over. Only for a new one to commence.
A contract was negotiated having sought legal counsel from the Australian Society of Authors. I expect for most authors this is managed via their agency agreement, however, I’d always encourage seeking your own independent legal advice with experts in publishing contracts. Similarly, when signing an agency agreement, very important to gain counsel.
At this point I chose to start calling myself an author. Up until then I was a writer on ‘L’ plates. Maybe that was one of the reasons it has taken me so long. As Steven Pressfield states in his must read book “The War of Art”, one key first step to beating the resistance every creative faces is choosing to “turn pro(fessional)”. When you decide to identify yourself as a professional at some endeavour, you start working and behaving like one. “The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps.”
There it is: my journey to a publishing contract.
May I encourage those of you who have put a manuscript in the bottom drawer to pull it out into the light. Give it over to the Lord. Seek His guidance. You might be surprised by what he says.
Please do share your own “bottom drawer” experiences. I’d love to hear them.
Blessings to you.