I've always thought about writing a book, but was never sure I could do it, or that I could get it published if I did. How long did it take you to write this and how did you find your publisher?
Well I'm certainly no expert. The process of writing and getting Making Life Better published was chock full of, what seemed to me, overwhelming challenges. But I'm happy to share my own experiences and I hope that it will encourage you to go for it.
For a long time, probably years, I was torn between the old adage, “Everybody's got a book in them” on the one hand and the line from Dorothy Parker, “Poets alone should kiss and tell” on the other. I knew with every fiber of my being that I had something of value to say, but I was deeply concerned that I may not be able, or even know how, to say it well. I'd lived with the concepts and ideas expressed within Making Life Better for years, always holding the thought that “someday, I'd like to try to actually write this book.”
For me, the process began where, it seems, all things now begin – a Google search. I hadn't yet written the book so I began searching for publishers that would accept unsolicited queries (an industry term for a proposal/idea or book concept) from an unknown, first-time author. I found lots (understatement of the year) of options, but they all seemed to fit into one of three categories: Self-Publishing, Subsidy Publishing, and “Traditional” Publishing. Each publishing option seemed to come complete with plenty of its own unique benefits and challenges. For my own particular blend of circumstances and insecurities, I decided to focus on a “traditional” publishing route. (The quotes around that word is just may way of saying that “traditional is also in the eye of the beholder.”)
So, I simply started submitting. I got lots of flat-out rejections. I received some replies that simply, and quite reasonably, said “Write the book and then maybe we'll talk.” But there were a few that responded with a much more desirable “We'd like to see more.”
Most of the publishers I contacted were very upfront about how they operate and provided numerous details of their process. In the end, I chose a publisher that seemed to be the best fit to my needs and circumstances as I understood them at the time.
The writing process is different for everyone. Despite all of the “how to write a book in three easy steps” blogs, articles and programs, I have yet to find any two published authors who would agree on any one process that will work for everybody. What is helpful to one person can sometimes prove to be an obstacle or even a distraction to another.
For myself, the writing process took about a year. I kept to a fairly strict schedule. But I also learned that for me, I needed to make sure that my schedule also included some non-writing days from time to time. I learned quickly that the writing process was actually teaching me quite a bit about myself and that I needed to make room in my thoughts (and my schedule) for these “mirror image life lessons” to break through and help me to continually adjust along each step of the way.
Sorry this has been such a long response to such a short and simple question. But then again, if you've read the book, you're probably used to that ;)
Hope this was helpful. Thanks so much for writing!