I hope you all had a nice holiday. Now let's get back to business! BTW, I'm teaching a 6 week novel writing class in Northern Utah County starting in January.
Read Part 10 here
My Publishing Journey
2009 was a banner year as far as writing awards. Abinadi won the Whitney for Best Historical and also Best of State in Literary Arts. I was surprised on both accounts, first on the Whitney because the competition was quite fierce (and I had won the Whitney the year before, so I thought voters would be looking for a fresh author), and on the Best of State because of the religious and very “LDS” nature of the book.
When I had tried to buy a radio spot for Abinadi on the local radio station, KSL, and have the radio host, Doug Wright, do the live read, I was told my book was “too religious” even for the Utah market. I could have a commercial produced and aired, but not read by Doug Wright or it would sound like he was endorsing a religious book. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. So I guess having it win Best of State was a bit of a victory in that light.
In the summer of 2009, I also received the good news that my non-fiction book, Women of the Book of Mormon, had been accepted. There was a clincher though—it would be released for the next “Gospel Doctrine Book of Mormon” year in . . . 2012.
My publisher’s reasoning was that it would sell better when it was aligned with the proper Gospel Doctrine year.
I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie “2012” but it’s quite clear that the world is coming to an end around that date. I emailed my editor and in a semi-joking manner said that I might be dead by 2012. Or even worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), the world would end and Women would never be published. Also, (I continued to state my case) who really goes to Gospel Doctrine? For me, personally, I’ve been in primary or Sunday School for at least a decade and I’m sorry to say, I really don’t follow the Gospel Doctrine lessons. BUT . . . I do read the Book of Mormon regularly, by myself, and with my children, no matter what “year” it is in Gospel Doctrine.
I don’t know if my editor appreciated my humor, but she said I had great ideas and she’d sent them to the managing editor. (Wait! I didn’t really expect that and then started second-guessing myself. Oh well. Too late.)
The fall passed and I finished writing Alma the Younger and turned that in. On the third week of December, the managing editor called me and told me that they’d accepted Alma the Younger and it would come out in June (instead of the regular fall release I’d had for 6 years). That was a surprise. I took a gamble and asked if “Women” was still coming out in 2012. No, she said, it was coming out in April. 4 months away! It turns out that I found out before my editor did.
This meant that the design department was putting in holiday hours to get permissions on all the artwork that would go into the book (12-13 paintings). Press deadline was the first week of January. I spent Christmas Eve going through copyedit revisions while my husband took the kids out.
I never received the official answer for the early release date (by 2 years!), but I was VERY grateful when Women sold out of its first printing in 2 weeks. That was a record for me, and my publisher was very excited as well. It also proved to me that the Book of Mormon is a subject that can be sold regardless of the Gospel Doctrine schedule.
On a funny note, for those of you who think it’s glamorous to be a mother and a writer, I dropped in at my publishers just as the Design Director got back the proof sheets for “Women”. She saw me in the lobby and came out to show me them. They were made up of 3’x3’ sheets of paper with the book laid out—I can’t remember what she called the proofs. I had left my 2 girls in the car for a couple of minutes, and apparently, they started arguing. While I was standing around a host of editors and designers, marveling at my new book, my five year old suddenly stepped inside, calling out in a very loud voice, “Shut up!” to her sister, who’d remained in the car. (#4 kid gets away with a lot more, that’s for sure)
I put a big smile on my face and said, “I’d like you all to meet my daughter!”