Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Please buy me!!

I think writing a book is tough work but trying to sell your book and yourself to a publisher is no small feat either.  A while ago I signed a contract with a small publishing company and was elated that they wanted to publish my non-fiction book.  When my manuscript was passed to an editor it was apparent that it needed some major renovations.  I got a call one day and my heart sank as I was told that I basically had to rewrite and rethink my entire book.  The structure didn't work, the tone was too researchy, it was boring and not useful.

I could have given up.  I wanted to but I didn't.  Instead I listened...carefully.  I listened to every bit of feedback I got and started all over again.  My publisher had taken my book off their schedule - my manuscript and  I were in limbo.  It took work to get someone to pay attention to my manuscript again because in their minds it just was a no go.  But I persisted and hassled a very lovely, very busy editor until she finally scheduled some time to re-read my manuscript.  We scheduled a phone meeting and she hadn't yet read the entire manuscript, we scheduled another phone meeting, it was delayed, another meeting was scheduled and she asked if we could delay it another week.  At that point I felt like it was over - but something inside told me to keep pushing, not to give up and that my book was good...maybe even important.   I responded with the following email:

As much as I would love to accommodate, I feel that if we once again delay this phone call any time past this Friday at the latest I may most unfortunately set my own hair on fire.

With all the love and appreciation my heart holds,
Crazy right?  She emailed me back quickly, told me to put down the matches and we had a very productive phone call that Friday.  She is now very much on board with the book, she even likes it and is eager to see it published.   I believe that part of my success was due to my tenacity but part of it was also having respect for the market and being willing to accept difficult feedback.  Publishers need to sell books, they know their market and they know what has sold in the past.  I wanted to write a clever, heavy book.  My publisher wanted me to write a book tired worn out moms would be interested in picking up amidst the chaos of their lives.  My editor encouraged me to tell stories, relax and add some humour - what at first sounded to me like "dumb it down" was actually just "make it an enjoyable read".  My editor helped me find my voice as a writer, she pulled out flavor and color and now I think people might actually want to read my book.  Tenacity and humility I think are a wining combination in writing and in life.       


  1. That's exciting Charla, way to persevere!

  2. Yeah writing the book is one thing selling it is another but I am sure you are glad you stuck with it

  3. Wow, great story of perseverance! Now I want to read it...and I don’t even know what it’s about!

    1. Thanks Kasey! My book is about how important community is for mothers. I can't wait for it to finally be published but it's not scheduled to be published until next year. I guess writers need a lot of patience too.



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