The end of the story
I'm going to tell you how this story ends right now.
A publisher offered me a book deal, complete with a more-than-I-expected advance, but I turned it down.
If you want to hear the method to my madness, here's the long version…
From the beginning
I originally published my ebook as a geek—not a writer—because I wanted to know how the ebook process worked. (Frankly, I loathe writing and I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to finish all 30 pages of my little book. But I'd like to think it is the best 30-page time management book you will ever read. And shouldn't time management books be short anyway?)
When I launched it in October 2010 I hoped to sell a few dozen. Then I sold thousands. I'm still amazed how that happened. But mostly, I am so grateful.
The email that caused all kinds of craziness
In January 2011, an intriguing email landed in my inbox. The sender claimed to be an acquisitions editor from a division of a well-known Christian publisher* (one of the top 5 publishers listed in the Market Share of Top Christian Publishers graphic in this post).
This is what the email said in part:
I’ve read through your book…and would like to know if you would be interested in developing a version for publication with a publishing house?
Naturally, I was skeptical. I thought it was spam. After all, who gets emails like this? Certainly not me. I thought getting a book published was akin to moving a mountain. And they were pursuing me? No way.
I proceeded cautiously, careful to suppress any feelings of excitement, or worse, elation. I did not want to get my hopes up.
I embarked on a googling extravaganza, researching every possible lead about the publisher and the editor.
Much to my surprise, not only did the acquisitions editor appear to be legit, so did her email.
- I had never heard the term "acquisitions editor" in my life. That's how clueless I was about the publishing process. In a nutshell, the job of an acquisitions editor is to find manuscripts that would be a good fit for their publishing house.
- In her email, the editor referred to my ebook as a "book" (without the e). This may be goofy, but for me, it was a significant moment. It was the first time I realized ebooks were being taken seriously by more than just a few bloggers who thought it was a fun idea.
- I've never considered myself a writer, but the fact that she (a) contacted me in the first place and (b) recognized my work as something worthy of publishing made me realize I do have something valid to offer. I should not hide behind the "I'm not a 'real' writer because I've never been published" excuse that keeps me from (a) getting my work out there and (b) makes me feel less than anyone else who writes. Neither should you.
Other posts in this series
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 1
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 2
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 3
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 4
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 5
- Why I Turned Down a Book Deal (And the Lessons I Learned), Part 6