The Best Christmas Present Ever
I’ve been rather quiet for a while. Let me explain why. Of course, there was Christmas. We did only a bit of decorating, but not as much as usual. I cooked a few foods traditional to our household, and baked some cookies for giving away, but not as much as usual. We didn’t attend any Christmas events in person, only a few online. Even without family here to cook for and grandchildren to entertain, I still found myself, not only preoccupied, but occupied as well.
It all started on a Friday night exactly a week before Christmas. Our supper was finished, and while Wayne washed dishes, I decided to check email quickly before choosing something to read from one of our many Christmas story books. I scrolled through new email messages, most of them requests for donations. Then there was an ad, from a self-publishing site I assumed—I didn’t recognize the name. Usually, I just deleted such ads without reading them, but this one sounded slightly different—they used the name of my book which I didn’t remember giving to anyone, but then I’m often surprised about how information travels on the web. I opened the email and began to read:
Dear Kathleen, Thank you very much for your proposal submission. I am pleased to inform you that we have accepted your proposed book for publication.
Was I really seeing correctly? I read on, almost skimming in my haste.
I have enclosed four important documents you need to review: 1) our Author Guide, which details our publishing process . . . 2) our House Style Guide Supplement . . .
My eyes jumped down to the bottom of the message. Wipf and Stock, one of the places I had sent a proposal. This wasn’t a gimmicky ad—it was real!
Some people would whoop and holler or even scream. Some would jump up and down. Instead, my insides turned to mush, and I actually sat lower in my chair, feeling weak. I read the email again to make sure it was not some sort of trick. As much as I hoped to find a publisher, there was a part of me that didn’t quite believe it would happen.
“Wayne,” I called, in as normal a voice as I could muster—I wanted to surprise him. “Could you please come here for a moment?” He probably thought I had a computer problem. That’s why I usually call him from the computer. I called him again before he appeared. “Listen,” I said and began reading again. He stood and listened. “Wonderful!” he said, but he didn’t sweep me off my feet as my sister assumed. We were both a little shocked. “This is the best Christmas present I could ever get,” I told him.
My evening’s plans went out the window. While I called and emailed a few friends, Wayne did what Wayne does, downloading all the attachments that came with the email and beginning to read the technical instructions for submitting my manuscript. I wasn’t ready for technical details. All I knew is that my plans for the next month had suddenly changed. I wouldn’t be putting together more proposals to send out. I would be doing a whole new set of things. I had a hard time going to sleep that night, but for once I didn’t even mind.
Of course, I could have simply laid aside all book-related activities until after Christmas. I planned to do so, other than sending an acknowledgement of the acceptance to Wipf and Stock and writing to another publisher to inquire where they were in their process and to let them know I’d had an offer.
To make a long story short, the other publisher had tried contacting me in November to express interest and ask for more information, but I hadn’t received the email. Now emails went back and forth between us. I talked with friends who had published with each house. I decided to accept the first offer because it was certain, and I didn’t want to end up with nothing.
January began with embarking on the task of getting my manuscript ready to submit. It’s now at the copy editor, and I can pause and pay attention to the rest of my life. I am having a crash course in publishing which is both interesting and daunting, but the process has begun and I am excited. More news will come!