Learning the Publishing World

Learning the Publishing World

When I announced to my wife that we were going to write a book, the look on her face shouted “Are you out of your mind?” Our careers were both more technical than liberal arts. Much of the writing process was new to us. Certainly, working on a project together was extremely difficult considering all the discussion and compromise required to gain agreement on issues ranging from the story elements and character development to the wording used to describe a thirst, or one’s anger, or a woman’s hair style for example. And when Lynn was diagnosed with cancer, the writing became tenfold more difficult. By the time we finished writing our novel, The Black Angel of the Lord, I thought the hard part was over. We had reached the peak and only needed to climb down the other side. Right? Well, no. Getting it published was also a challenge due largely to our ignorance of the process, but our wonderful editor and publishing agent encouraged and guided us along the way. They are special people. Once the book arrived on the market, it sold quite well and received many positive responses. We reveled in the pleasure of seeing the rooms fill as people arrived at our first few speaking engagements. I felt proud and thought success lay at our feet. However, over several months of speaking in various venues, fewer and fewer people were in attendance; still, we readily accepted the honor to speak at a nearby library. This time, when we looked out into our audience our eyes found only three people: two were friends from the publishing company, and, in the front row, sat the third person, an older lady who had braved the cold temperature (8°) to attend our presentation, apparently eager to hear our story. What do we do? My wife sings in a chorale and when they have no idea how many people will come to hear them sing, the director says, “If a hundred people attend the concert, we sing our best for them, and if one person comes, we sing our best for him/her.” That’s right, and we gave the best presentation we had for that one dear lady who sat and listened to every word we spoke. Afterward, this woman approached us and said “Thank you. I did not miss a word. You work so well together and my mind never wandered.” She had asked a few questions at the end of our presentation which clearly showed her interest and we expected she would buy our book, but she did not, and everyone said goodnight. It became obvious that interest was waning in our presentations and book sales. One person in...

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