Book Publishing Process: This Divorced Mom is Savoring Every Step!
I’m switching gears here today to talk about this amazing journey I’ve embarked upon with the traditional publisher who bought my memoir. Cause not only is the book publishing process brand new to me, I’m finding the whole process fun and super exciting. I swore to myself after I wrote my memoir, The Secret Life of a Newly Single Mom, that if and when I ever got the darn thing published, I would enjoy every second of the process. So I am. Regardless of whatever comes of it in future.
A couple of months ago, my American publisher, Seal Press, appointed a developmental editor to work with me on my manuscript. Her job is to edit grammar and punctuation,in addition to helping me ‘flesh out’ and organize the book in the best way possible. Having heard stories from other authors about how editors totally massacred their work, I’m grateful to be experiencing the perfect opposite. Not only does my editor ‘get’ my story, she goes the extra mile to help me stay true to my writing style and voice. She makes my work mine, only better.
So what does the process entail at this early stage of game? She and I are, and have been, going through my manuscript chapter by chapter for two months. She emails them to me one at a time, sometimes the pages a blur of her red ink *grin. She inserts comments and ideas where ever she thinks necessary. She even writes examples of how a scene can be fleshed out. I then turn them around to her to the best of my ability. And if I don’t agree with something she changed, we discuss it over the phone.
As a feminist house with a history of publishing landmark books for women, by women,I’ve learned that it’s important I keep the larger needs of our women audience in mind. For example, I introduced a new character named Tory in my memoir by describing how she’d lost a lot of weight. As my editor pointed out, that comment wasn’t necessary – it’s not essential to the story, nor does her weight define who she is in terms of a person. Women are dying because of the negative messages out there around being thin, she said. Every time women read a small sentence like that, the messaging is reinforced, even if unconsciously. And though I hadn’t thought of that when I wrote it, I 100% agree with her. I have a responsibility to be honest and real in my work, yet do so in a way that fights social limitations on women, not uphold them. I’m proud to be a part of that.
My editor and I will continue working on these edits for another month or so . In the meantime, I’ve also been appointed an in-house publicist. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how helpful and available she makes herself to me – cause I’d also heard that this isn’t the case at other houses. Anyway, she’s helping me prepare for the National Publicity Summit which I’m attending in New York come October. There I’ll be pitching major news media like producers from The View, Fox TV, Dateline, and over a hundred others, so I can hopefully get some appearances on their shows.
LOL – Am I nervous? you ask. You BETCHA! Talk about a leap outside a person’s comfort zone! But as I’ve learned time and time again these past four years since divorcing, sometimes you gotta just say “What the hell” and just GO FOR IT. If I’d allowed my fear to get in front of my desire to write a book, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even if I don’t sell a million copies, even if don’t get a national interview with Barbara Walters, I love that I’ve had the opportunity and the tremendous support from my friends and family, to pursue a passion that has transformed the woman I’ve become.
And so I’ll keep following this fire of mine, and I’ll keep daring to believe in what I do and who I am. And whether you, my reader, are a divorced woman/man daring to believe in am emerging passion,or whether you too, are an author or aspiring one, I say “Just Keep Going.” If this former stay at home mom from the suburbs in Calgary can do it, so can you.