Both are making me stronger as God leads, strengthens, and meets my needs (not wants).
This summer my goal was and is to take advantage of this solid chunk of time to write, revise, rewrite, and get this book into publication before returning to school in September. Of course this was the initial goal, or would "dream" be a more appropriate word?
If you are an agent, editor, publisher, or published author you are probably laughing at my unrealistic goals. Why is this funny? Why did I have unrealistic goals? The answer is simple, the duration from first draft to publication is long, hard, grueling, and slow.
Please don't think I am being totally unrealistic, I didn't think a book would be released over the summer. BUT with my first born mentality combined with Allen determination, I believed it would be moving forward towards publication.
The first draft was written in 2006. It is 2012, six years is enough. Even if the book remained on a thumb drive on and off the first four years, it is time. My story, Heidi's story, needs to be told so others will be able to relate to the grieving sister with more insight and understanding.
There are other sisters out there who may have similar feelings that I experienced after I lost Heidi. They need to know they aren't alone and there is Someone who will never leave them.
Where are you in the process Lisa?
I have contacted all the publishers currently reviewing my manuscript for publication and even submitted my book proposal to literary agencies for representation. This past week I sent a polite followup email to inquire of their interest. Once the "send" button is hit, I wait for their responses.
One publisher responded with an apology as the editor in charge of reviewing my manuscript has since resigned. They didn't offer a new contact within the company but recommended an online manuscript website. While not an acceptance, it was a polite and helpful rejection.
One agent has yet to respond and the other is not interested in representing me at this time because she doesn't feel my book is ready for publication. Ouch! This hurt yet once I got over myself, it motivated me. Of course I knew this and thought this was something the agent would help me with. I'm thankful for her honest criticism and suggestions to improve both my craft and editing abilities. Thanks to this rejection, my manuscript is a newly organized book.
In addition to an agent rejection, I have received a publisher's rejection. Each "No" is an opportunity to grow as a writer and improve both my craft and ability to receive constructive criticism.
In addition to learning through rejection I have learned a few things about the publishing world through acceptances and the contract processes.
One publisher offered an E-book contract only so I opted to wait because not everyone has an e-reader. As exciting as this was, it is my heart's desire for anyone interested in my book to have access to it. An e-book only contract limits the readers, those without e-readers still grieve and search for something to fill the void left after the loss of a loved one. So we decided to wait.
Just in the past couple weeks I have received two (Yes 2!) contract offers to publish my book. I have opted not to accept either after much prayer, research, and author/editor feedback about both publishing houses. It is a difficult decision to make, especially when it would have allowed me to meet my goals for the summer.
As much as I like to cross things off the list and accomplish my goals, I want to honor God, my parents, and Heidi in the publication of this book. I celebrate the offers to publish my book. I thank God for the encouragement and feedback with each. I wanted to say "yes" but after much prayer still didn't have any peace so the answer had to be "no". For now, we wait again.
How long do you wait?
There are still a couple publishing houses and one agent considering my manuscript. So I wait. Ed, my parents, Mary, and I have spent a lot of time in discussion and prayer about the next step.
When it comes to finding Heidi, we have waited over eighteen years. Do we want to wait years for the publication of this book too? The answer is simple, no. BUT we do want to honor God through its publication so in prayer we wait, plan, and continue moving forward.
Do we want to touch the hearts and lives of those in need of knowing there is hope and healing after loss, even a tragic loss?
Do we continue to wait or pursue other avenues to have "Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey" published?
This question will be answered in August unless God opens a door before the announcement is made.
Time will tell. My hope and goal is to have an announcement the latter part of August. Keep your eyes and ears open. You never know what might be written in the sand for this book in the near future.