Thursday, July 25, 2013
A Book's Journey: from writer to reader
The time between the spark of an idea in an author's brain to the published book in the hand of the reader is often years.
The writer may let the idea simmer, formulate, and develop in his mind for many hours, days, weeks, and sometimes years before beginning to write. Then it can take more days, weeks, months, and/or years of writing and researching, as that idea spark creates new characters, worlds, and events. The next step, rewriting, editing, and proofreading before the author is satisfied that it is ready to be read, may take even longer. When that is done, it is time find a publisher who agrees.
Few writers land a publisher or even an agent with the first query or proposal, but may accumulate many rejections, and, if they're lucky, suggestions for improvement. When finally accepted by a publisher, it is possible, even likely, that more rewrites and edits will be required. When the manuscript, the product of the author’s years of work, frustration, and love finally gets into the publisher's queue, he must wait—sometimes months, or even a year or two or three—before the publishing team has it in book form. To the author, this can seem interminably long, and he may fear that the book has been forgotten. What the author doesn't know, unless he asks, is that the wheels of the publishing machinery are grinding along, moving the book through the many steps of the process to completion.
Getting the attention a commercial publisher seems to get harder as the years go by, but perseverance sometimes pays off. And even though it may seem to take forever to see the book finally in print, it won’t happen if the author gives up.
We asked author Jim Moore about the journey of his novels, from the conception of the idea to the day he was able to hold the actual book in his hand. He got the idea for his first book, Ride the Jawbone, from years of driving by the old Montana railroad bed near his ranch near Two Dot, Montana. "Someone ought to write a story about the old Jawbone," he thought. Since no one else had, when he finally retired, he wrote the historical legal mystery. After submitting the manuscript for Ride the Jawbone, to a large number of agents and editors without success, he wrote Election Day, and began the submission process again with that political thriller. When that didn't succeed, he decided to try a contemporary legal murder mystery of the kind he often read. The result was The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda, which he began in 2006 or 2007. "This manuscript," Jim says, "… was offered to many agents and editors with no more success than with the other manuscripts."
In 2010, Jim took a publishing workshop offered by Raven Publishing and presented by Janet Hill. At the end of the class, he left his manuscript for Ride the Jawbone for her to read, "In case you get time to look it over. I know you're busy." He baited her with a delightful short story which he left on top of the manuscript, "Because it has my contact information on it," he said. Janet first read the short story, finding it compelling, funny, and with a great twist of an ending. She enjoyed the flavor of Jim's writing enough to begin the novel—and was soon hooked. Raven Publishing contracted the rights and published it the next year. It sold well and is still in demand after 5 printings. So it was only natural that Raven would want more of Jim's work. Election Day followed in 2012 and The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook as of July, 2013.
Raven Publishing looks forward to more from Jim in the future.