Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Publishing Journey--Part 12

Read Part 11 here

My Publishing Journey

Part 12

Okay, this will be the final entry in My Publishing Journey. I think I pretty much caught everyone up and while the saga continues, it’s best saved for another time.

In January 2010, I saw a book called “Abish” by KC Grant on the shelves. I immediately bought it to read. I was a little worried that my publisher wouldn’t be interested in my book on Ammon since Abish is in that story—and here they’d published a whole book on Abish by another author. I emailed the managing editor to see if my idea might receive some “pre-approval” before I started writing. The committee gave me the green light, so in March I started drafting Ammon. I wrote through the spring and most of the summer since I wanted to get it turned in before September. I was worried that if I turned it in later, it would miss being a spring/summer book and be a fall release. This would make it 15-18 months between releases.

In April, I had a new story idea—different than anything I’ve attempted before. I could see it as both a YA or an adult novel, but thought the appeal would be greater if written as YA. I wrote down the premise, then shoved it in a drawer. I couldn’t deal with any new ideas yet. You’ll see why when you read below.

My first non-fiction book (Women of the Book of Mormon) came out in April 2010 and to my surprise it was a fast seller. In two weeks the first print run sold out. I was doing plenty of signings at Costco and other places. My first Costco signing took place in my hometown of Orem. I was deathly afraid that I’d run into someone from high school, but that didn’t happen.

I had skipped a meal, which usually happens when I schedule too much in a day, and so I was hungry by the time I arrived at my book signing. At the Orem Costco, the author table is set up quite close to the large refrigerators. So I sat there all night salivating over the chocolate mousse pudding that was front and center. I did have one lady who came up and was disappointed that my book was on the “Mormon” women since we are “so oppressed.” A very interesting conversation to say the least.

I also had a book signing in St. George at the Costco there. It was kind of strange to see polygamous families milling about. Of course, they wouldn’t come close to my table. They are very strict on what they are allowed to read and my book would probably be considered scandalous to them.

Soon after the crux of book signings, I took my kids on a trip to Israel. My parents were living in Jerusalem at the time, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to take my children. I’d lived there as a 7 year old and later as a teenager so it was neat to show them around and let them get to know more about my childhood.

Back home, Alma the Younger was just being released. When I asked about doing book signings for the novel, I was told that the stores were dead in the summer. So I guess I wondered why my book was being released at such a “dead” time. But really, I didn’t have any complaints and was very grateful to have the novel coming out. I did a couple of signings around Father’s Day Weekend, and then later during the fall season.

I finished Ammon by July and let my alpha readers read through it. After edits, I turned in Ammon in August. I fully planned to take a break, but some readers had planted a seed in my head about writing of the “women” in the Book of Mormon. I decided to try my hand at a shorter novel, women’s fiction, first person, from the point of view of the daughter of Jared (which takes place in the Book of Ether). The daughter of Jared is a truly evil woman and plots to kill her grandfather. I didn’t want the book to be too dark, or too much of a downer, so I decided to give her a younger “good” sister. I wrote in the younger sister’s point of view.

I selected my alpha readers carefully. I wanted readers who were familiar with my other books, but who were also adept at writing and editing young adult fiction. The Daughters of Jared has a decidedly young adult approach, although I would officially categorize it as “women’s fiction.”

The three readers all came back with great fixes, as well as compliments. Two of them said it was their favorite story of mine so far. I turned that book in just after Thanksgiving.

Also, in October I went to the Bouchercon Conference in San Francisco. A few years ago I wrote a thriller based on the hunt for the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. I finally got an agent, but the selling process has been going very slow. I wanted to meet some editors from national publishing houses, and San Fran seemed like the closest place to do it. I had 5 publishers ask for the book and when I got back to my agent, she thought 2 of them were good choices. So we submitted to 2. One rejection has come in so far. If the other publisher says no as well, we might submit to some smaller publishers. So, even when you have 8 books published, rejections still come!

I dabbled a bit with my YA novel idea and wrote maybe 45 pages over a couple of months, slow paragraph by slow paragraph. I don’t know if anything will come of it. But I would like to get it roughed in, then polish the first few chapters and see if I can get any interest.

In the meantime, I had my former editor ask me if I was interested in co-writing a book with her on Christ’s Gifts to Women. She’d started the first couple of chapters, but had a baby . . . and you know the story from there. I read through what she’d written and really liked her vision. So I told her I’d finish the book. Several weeks later, we turned it in. Yes, I took the “non-fiction” plunge again, but this one wasn’t as intimidating. Maybe there really is something to co-writing! Time will tell if Daughters of Jared or Christ’s Gifts to Women will be accepted, but I think my readers will be happy if they become available.


Michael Knudsen said...

I love "Costco signing" stories. You've racked up some good ones. A very nice career so far. I for one can't wait to get my hands on Ammon!

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks Michael. By the way, I enjoyed "The Rogue Shop"!!

Janette Rallison said...

I'm sure there will still be many more parts to your publishing journey!

Heather B. Moore said...

Janette, it's nice to look back in large chunks :-)

Christina said...

Now that you are so far into your journey, do you have a list of "must reads" for someone who wants to write LDS historical fiction?

Heather B. Moore said...


I don't think you necessarily need to read other LDS historical novels if you are thinking of writing your own (I never did). Just research enough that you know what has already been done and what is available out there. Also, for the LDS genre, you'll need to know that there is an invisible box you need to write inside as far as what is acceptable and what is considered gratuitous.

But, if you do want to read an excellent historical writer in the LDS genre, I'd recommend N.C. Allen.

Christina said...

Now you have me worried. What is in the box and how do I know if I've stepped outside of it? It's not that I write "dirty" but I do have bad guys that do bad things...

Heather B. Moore said...

Christina, you can definitely have bad guys doing bad things, but it's all about the details in the description. You can read other LDS suspense novels or thrillers (such as Jeff Savage's "A Time to Die") and it will give you a good feel for how things can still be creepy and scary, but not with too much graphic detail.

And you'll get away with more on the violence side then would, say, the language side :)

Christina said...

Thanks Heather!
Good luck on the rest of your journey!