Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I have good news! Yesterday, Shambhala made an offer on my book THE WRITING WARRIOR. The book is a follow up, of sorts, to Writing Begins with the Breath. You know -- sort of but different. :-) I don't yet have a publication date, but I'll definitely let you know. I'm thrilled to be working with Shambhala again, and I'm ecstatic to have sold a book in this challenging market.
I thought it might be helpful to those of you who are writers who read the blog to outline the very long path this project went through before finding a home.
In 2006, I sold Writing Begins with the Breath to Shambhala based only on a proposal. I wrote the draft in about six months. After several drafts and edits, it found a life in print in the fall of 2007. The contract I signed had a 'right of first refusal' clause in it. That means that the next property I had to sell, Shambhala has the right to look at it and refuse it first.
My agent and I submitted a novel. It was a long shot, since Shambhala is not known for fiction, but we tried. The editor liked it. Asked for revisions. I provided them. We waited. We made more revisions. We waited. The editor took it to the editorial board, but she couldn't convince them to buy it. This process alone took almost 9 months.
We then submitted a memoir. I submitted a proposal first and received input from the editor. I wrote furiously and fiercely. (Great adverbs, huh?) I tried to do too many things with the book -- make it both a writing book and a memoir. Didn't work. No focus. Shambhala didn't want it. We then sent the memoir to other houses. One editor wrote back right away with the kind of thing a writer wants to hear ... "I almost missed my train stop! I couldn't stop reading." Ahhh... a writer's dream. Alas, the editorial board at her house apparently could stop reading. No sale.
I began working on a few different novels, including some young adult ideas. I have a proposal under consideration for a textbook with Pearson/Longman. I wait.
My agent and I began submitting those novels around. I went to teach back east at the Omega Institute in June and at Kripalu in January. I studied more yoga. I studied Taoism. I kept writing and kept not-writing. I kept teaching. After my workshop at Kripalu, I knew I had a new book concept. I wrote it up, wrote some sample chapters, and sent it to Shambhala. The editor sent it back. Too "x.y.z." Not enough "a.b.c." My agent and I talked about it. I thought about it. I started over. We submitted it again. We received an e-mail from the editor. She likes it. She's taking it to the editorial board. It'll be two weeks.
So, it was two weeks. And then it was a yes.
The process for this book was actually fairly fast -- approximately 18 months. It'll likely be another 18-24 months before there's a book in my hand (and hopefully yours!)
The message: Persevere. Rewrite. Rethink. Re-vision. Be open. Don't attach to an outcome. Don't attach to a vision for the book. Someone else might have a better way. Listen. Remain true to what is authentic and let the rest go. Always have multiple projects. You never know.
Some other shameless self-promotion news:
I will be appearing on Saturday, March 14 at 2:30 at the Tucson Festival of Books. I'm doing a workshop and discussion called THE ZEN OF CREATIVE WRITING. Come on out and visit. It's going to be an amazing weekend. Everything is free! Even the parking! How can you go wrong?
End Shameless Self-Promotion.