Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 29

Howdy, BGs. Stuart—thanks for leaving a note. Nice to know you’re out there reading. Becky—sorry you’re sleepless in the Dead of Night. Haha. Lynette and MRSD—you think my publishing history is frustrating. Now ya wanna hear how I grow a book? Oh, sheesh, pull out the Tums.

But okay, you two. You asked for it. Here’s the beginning diary on—whatever this book is going to be called. (And I’d better figure that out soon, because the marketing person at Zondervan is gonna want to know—way before I’m ready to tell her.) And by the way, this book is the first in a series of three. Maybe if I knew what the first book is gonna be, I’d have a little better idea of the series, know what I’m sayin’? Anyhoo, I have calendered (Word tells me that’s not a word—it is now) myself to write 6 pages a day. Some authors write anything at first just to get the words down, then do major rewrites later. I tend to write it pretty much the way I want it. (Until my editor gets hold of it, that is.) So when I say 6 pages—those are 6 useable, good pages.

BTW, when I say “calendered,” I mean it. I have one of those Year-At-A-Glance calendars stuck up on the wall. The easy-erase kind. Black felt tip for writing. Red felt tip for my traveling schedule. So for each week of writing, I put down the number of total pages I should have written by that week’s end.

Six pages a day ain’t bad at all. 30 pages a week. Trouble is, I get behind, and then I have to catch up—and then the fun begins.

So Monday I was supposed to start writing. Except I hadn’t figured out much of the plot yet—I have only pieces. So I thought. And stared out the window. And talked to myself. And thought some more . . . I talk to myself while driving, too. (I hope people think I’m on a speaker phone.) Meanwhile, I set up these pages in my new book file: Title page (title to come), Dedication page (dedication to come), Bible verse page (verse to come), Acknowledgments (to come), Word to my readers page (copy to come), and date page—first day the story starts (decided on a date, but it may change).

There. Six pages. See how easy it is?

Then there was Tuesday. Um. Daughter home sick—had to go to doctor. Had to drive friends to the airport. E-mail problems. Procrastination issues that simply had to be taken care of. Plus I got stuck on the first line. Result--zilch pages.

Drat. Already a day behind. And I still don’t know all the details of the plot. Sheesh. Let’s hope I get something accomplished today.

All right. Where were we in the never-ending saga? Ah, yes. Three editors with Color the Sidewalk for Me. Three editors who don’t exactly make my hopes rise. (See how fast I’m learning in this business?)

So we start to hear results. Editor A—surprise, surprise. Sidewalk isn’t Christian enough for the house. I throw up my hands at this one. It becomes very clear to me—as wonderful and respected as this house is (and as much as I love the editor), I will never write for it. Ever.

Editor D—the new one—gets back to us. Loves the book. Wants it in the worst way. I’m to be D’s new hot “find” as an author. D is jazzed, wants to make me a star. Tells Jane and me Sidewalk is going to pub board.

Really? My, that’s some flattering stuff D is saying. A year ago, I’d a died to hear such things. Maybe there's something to this. My hopes begin to rise.

Editor C—whose CEO/Publisher yanked the Eyes of Elisha contract: loves the story! Wants it, wants it, wants it! Will take it to pub board.

Yay. Sort of.

You know the ropes by now.

We wait.

We wait some more.

Sigh. Did I really want to be in this business?

Editor D reports in—pub board has met. AND IT'S A . . .


D is so disappointed. As hard as D fought for the book, those nasty marketing and bean counter people shot it down. Brandilyn Collins is an unknown. The book probably won’t make any money. The house wants only to sign “big” names and isn’t willing to take the chance on a new author.

I plummet again. From high flattery to—hey, who knows ya, anyhow?

Okay. Fine. I am learning how to live up one day and down the next. And besides, I own a lot of cabinets. We still have Editor C left. C says look, no worries this time like the last. Sidewalk doesn’t have the “issues” Eyes of Elisha did. It should get through the board.

Besides, I think rather cattily, they owe me one.

We wait. My hopes can’t help but rise. This is a good house. Maybe, maybe this time . . . Please, God, please. It’s my last hope, you know. If this doesn’t work, we have to go back to square one with this book, too. And that just happened with Eyes of Elisha. Isn’t one square one enough?

By the time we hear, I’m thinking I have a sale. I mean, this time, we’re really on target. Everything’s in place. Everything.

Okay, suspense bloggies. By now, you should sense the hook is coming.

My agent finally hears from Editor C.

Read Part 30


Dineen A. Miller said...

Maybe we should just call you the hook queen! Been here since day one, Brandilyn, and so enjoying it. It's discouraging and encouraging all at once. Nice to know what happens behind the scenes.

Ron Estrada said...

Maybe I should just put book one in the shredder now and start from scratch. Save myself the pain. I only have one cabinet. Brandilyn, did you see the story last week about the cop who showed up at a crime scene to find his own son was the murder victim? I thought that would make a great start to a story. Especially if, say, his wife was murdered within a few days. I clipped the story. My wife is seeking professional help for me.

Stuart said...

Good luck with unearthing your new plot! Hopefully it's not under a mountain. ;)

Thanks for sharing your "book birthing" process as well as continuing your journey to becoming published.

C.J. Darlington said...

Any hints on the plotline or premise of the new series? I hope it's something that is exciting for you to write. That'll make or break a book, in my opinion. If the author ain't into it, it will definitely show. :-)

Is there anything you do in particular spiritually to prepare yourself to write a new book?

Shannon McNear said...

Oh, Brandilyn. LOL ... you know I don't say this lightly, but I feel your pain! I'll be praying the story comes to you ...

And if I weren't already committed to seeing my own journey through, I swear ... I'd give up now and go back to something comfortable like scrapbooking and trying to keep my house decluttered! Yikes. LOL!!

Thank you, again, for sharing!

Becky said...

Hahah--I hear you say you're sorry about my sleepless nights, but I know better. Like other authors, I suspect you're loving it. Just like wanting to make readers cry (OK, I confess--I teared up at the end of Dead of Night. Really an excellent book, Brandilyn.)

I am so glad you've agreed to diary your calendaring ! : D I think that will be extremely educational, too (as is your account of the road to publishing--a possible non-fiction book?)

Linda said...

Hi Brandilyn! New bloggee (did I spell that right?) here. I stayed up too late last night reading the continuing saga of your journey to publication. Wow! The perils of Pauline had nothing on you.

Reading all your posts at one time was fun, but now I have to wait like all the other BGs for episode #30 in the great novel publication caper. Sigh.

I did get some terrific help on my own novel, though. Now I know how to get those first six pages done! :o)

mrsd said...

Thanks for sharing your new book process with us! Ask and you shall receive. :D

How many cabinets do you have? And do you ever kick the overhead cabinets? 'Cause that would make a great book cover for the non-fiction 'How To Grow A Book' book. Or at least be awesome for marketing purposes. ;)