Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Author's Log: Day 1

I am writing a new book about father-daughter relationships, to be published by a major player in the book industry in the Spring of 2008. Beginning today, this blog is my live diary chronicling the publication of that book.

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give insight into what it is like to be an author, hoping that aspiring writers might learn something of value from my career experiences.

A little history:

I wrote my first book, “Why a Daughter Needs a Dad: 100 Reasons,” in November, 1998. That manuscript was rejected 62 times before it made it onto bookshelves in March, 2002. Since that time it has sold over 750,000 copies and has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List four times.

In the last five years I have written 17 additional books; 16 are available now and the other will be released this Fall. These books were all published by a Nashville publisher, Cumberland House Publishing.

One day last summer I received an email from Andrew Stuart, an agent in New York. He had read the daughter-dad book, and liking it, asked if I had agent representation. I did not. We agreed on a meeting, I flew to New York, we had a great lunch at a Bobby Flay restaurant, and now he is my agent.

Believe me, I am fortunate, not only to have been able to publish so many successful books thus far, but to be found by a great agent. In fact, I have been turned down by more agents than publishers.

Andrew and I tossed around many ideas for a few months before we focused in on what we thought was a fabulous concept for a book about father-child relationships. I then spent a while writing a proposal for that book, one that included stories submitted to me by friends and fans who were willing to share their life events in writing.

That proposal went out to major book publishers across the country, and Andrew and I waited patiently for an acquisition offer to come in. We waited, and we waited. None came.

Undaunted, Andrew withdrew the proposal and asked me to tackle it again, revising it based on the feedback we had gotten on the first proposal. So I did; about four times.

Sometimes it is hard to move away from your first “fabulous” idea. At other times it is hard to become inspired, but you write anyway just to stay busy, hoping your muse will eventually whisper in your ear. Apparently my muse was on an extended vacation.

And then one day, she showed up.

Inspired at last, I wrote a new proposal, and loved it more than the first one. Andrew liked it, too. Optimistic, he sent it out for a second round of reviews. It generated lots of discussion, and finally an offer.

We had some hurdles to jump, but cleared them, and now the contracting process is underway. I don’t want to jinx the success of the book, so I’m waiting until I have a signed contract in hand before I announce who the publisher is. For the moment, let’s just say you will recognize the name, and I am VERY excited.

That brings us to today, ten months to the day since I received the email from Andrew.

This afternoon I have a conference call with my new editor; we are going to discuss her expectations about what the book will be when it is completed.

You see, book writing is a collaborative process – a little bit of what I think, what my agent thinks, and what my editor thinks. Even though I may be holding the pen, there are always several minds at work. If you think you have an infallible idea, you’d probably be the only one.

I hope you stay tuned as I document the twists and turns of writing what I hope will be my biggest bestseller yet.


richardwirsching said...

Thank you for sharing

Christy Borgeld said...

I look so forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

Christy Borgeld