Read Part 4 Here.
My Publishing Journey
For the first nine months of 2004, it was pretty exciting to know my first book would be out in September. At times it seemed surreal to think about. The editing process began, and I had my first experience working with an editor. One of the first things he told me was to change my epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. He wanted them to be all from the Old Testament. Then I had to write chapter notes, a bibliography, a preface, and acknowledgments. All of which I’d eventually become well versed at, but for the first book, it was a lot of work that I wasn’t expecting.
I also had to “tone down” a few things, something I expected because my publisher is very strict on content. For my first book it wasn’t too much, but in future books, it would become more of a trial to find that balance.
The publisher also decided to switch my series title with the volume title. My original series title was “Of Goodly Parents” because of Nephi’s famous line, and the reader would know right away that it was a series on Nephi. Then the volume title was “Out of Jerusalem” (with subsequent volumes as “Into the Wilderness,” etc.). I wasn’t sure about the switch. I asked a few friends, and they liked my publisher’s decision. So I decided I could live with it after all.
Everything would be wrapped up in May, which was good timing since my baby was due the beginning of June. The final project was to have an author picture taken. I was nine months pregnant, but it was only of shoulders, up, right? The photo session went well and I had high hopes until I received the proofs back. The woman in the photo wasn’t me—or at least she wasn’t who I saw in the mirror. I asked my editor, “Can I NOT have an author picture in my book?” Thankfully he said I didn’t need to have one.
Just before the cover was designed I had a strange phone call from my editor. “We were wondering if we could change your name. We’d like to use your initials: H.B. Moore.” I thought of the years I’d spent writing, the rejections, and finally having a book published . . . and now no one would know it. My editor explained that it would broaden my target audience and men would be more willing to buy my book if they didn’t automatically think it was a romance. And if I decided to write in another genre, then they could use Heather Moore (it would take me 8 books to get to that point, and not having an author picture in my first book further perpetuated my secret identity as HB).
My top 5 best moments in publishing:
1. Acceptance of book
2. Seeing cover for the first time (and loving it)
3. Holding actual book in hand
4. Having someone you don’t know at all tell you they liked your book
5. Finding out your book went into a second printing
More good moments would come, and they are all tempered with challenges (which you’ll all get to hear about eventually).
Back in the day, my publisher scheduled book signings like crazy—weeks of Saturdays filled with multiple signings. Eager and ready to be an author, I jumped on board. Problem was, I had four little kids at home, and my son was playing flag football on Saturdays (which would turn out being NOTHING when my daughters started soccer).
Also, I was nursing a 3 month old baby.
If the book signing was a fair distance (everything is far away when you are nursing), my husband and kids would drop me off, then pick me up two hours later. I’d nurse the baby, then go to the next book signing.
One of the first things people would ask me is “If this is a series, when does the next book come out?” I’d say, “Next fall.” But then I decided to ask my publisher about it. I emailed the managing editor: “If I want my next book to come out next September, when do I have to turn in my next manuscript?” Her response: “December 1.” I looked at the calendar. It was the middle of September.
To write, to research, to edit, took me about 6 months on my first book. I had 2.5 on my second book. Yes, I had about 50 pages drafted, but a long way to go. I couldn’t imagine how I’d meet the deadline with four little kids, and one of them 3 months old. But I had made a commitment when I first got my acceptance that I’d turn in a book a year. I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m. for the next 6 weeks and worked from 4:00-8:00 a.m. and then a few snatches throughout the day. Sleep had become a thing of the past.