“What’s happening with your book?”
I get that a lot. In addition to, “How did you get your hair to do that cool thing?” and “Are you sure that’s how ‘research’ is pronounced?” Or from my students: “Did you grade all the things yet?” Or from my kids: “Do we have any of those Spiderman fruit snacks left?”
I’m good for an equal measure of answers. Dunno. Maybe. Still foggy on that one. Okay?
But the book question plagues me a lot and so I thought I’d lay it out bare. Here’s what’s happening with my book.
You may remember how I wrote a spiritual memoir about my intercultural marriage. And how I got an agent and she turned out to be wonderful. She helped me craft a killer proposal and she submitted it to two full rounds of Christian publishers. My agent has been as kind and thorough as she has been prayerful.
Her positude has made a huge difference because the road to finding a publisher can be quite negative. Waiting and waiting seems to beget more waiting and then the door one’s been knocking on opens quickly and then closes. The rejection feels rare and fresh every time. It’s been a long process of all of that. All said, I’ve been pouring my guts into this book–the writing and the pitching and the proposing for about three years.
After two rounds of rejections from publishers, here are three things I’ve learned:
1. I am not Oprah. I am not Oprah’s best friend Gayle. I am not Joel Osteen or his wife or anyone whom they’d remember in the Osteen will. Ergo, I am not famous and a book deal isn’t going to fall into my lap. My platform, the invisible box upon which I stand to promote my ideas, is pretty microscopic compared to others who score big book deals. This is an obvious hurdle and not one to easily dismiss. Publishers care about platform and it’s more than just being invited to the popular girls’ table in the cafeteria. It’s a marketing base. It’s a branding package. It’s the underpinnings to some really successful empires.
2. I am so close to this book. My kind colleague and his wife taught me that. They recently read the manuscript and gave me some keen feedback which is helping me to shape a new iteration of it. Because this book is so intertwined in the fibers of my being, to be perfectly dramatic, I needed some distance from it. I needed some extra eyeballs to help me reshape it. I’m so grateful for their input and for all who have helped me to keep believing.
3. I still believe in this book. When I hear of others struggling through issues in their family or marriage that fall into the bucket of intercultural relationships, my heart starts beating fast. This is my bag! I want to say, “I have so dealt with something similar,” followed by a, “And I hope you enjoy Chapter 4, if only for a laugh about what not to do, courtesy yours truly.” I believe there is a captive audience for my book. I believe that there is potential for this book to really bless others and to be a part of some important conversations that have for too long felt too awkward to broach.
So to the question of what’s happening with my book: it’s gearing up for the sprint home. It’s in better shape than it’s ever been. It’s so ready to break through a publisher’s ribbon and to stand in the winner’s circle. But first, let me take a selfie.