So, I had completed a draft of the story. And now it was time to share it with my husband Vince. I don’t remember why I e-mailed it to him – I must have been at work – but I got up the gumption and hit send. Those next 14 minutes were agony waiting for that reply to pop up in my inbox. And then, there it was – seven words and four exclamation points… “I think it is awesome! Tear jerker!!!”
Now, let me tell you something about Vince…he is not an exclamation point man. Vince is the most even-keeled, poker faced man I’ve ever known. He is great in crisis situations because things just don’t rattle him. In fact, I’ve only seen him get riled once in our 13 years of togetherness (and I was really pushing his buttons). So, all that to say, the fact that he included not one, but four exclamation points, told me something. I may have something here.
Then I sent it to my mom and little sister, who is an amazing writer and totally more skilled than me. They loved it, too. And my Mom said she cried. Ok, so my family doesn’t hate it. That’s encouraging.
Knowing that I didn’t have a complete turd of a story, I started researching traditional vs. self-publishing. I knew from the little knowledge I had that it can take years or even a lifetime for authors to get picked up by traditional publishers – and I’m the most impatient person ever. That’s when I started looking for self-publishing companies and was quickly overwhelmed by all of the options. You can completely self-publish – like drawing your own illustrations, creating your own book online, etc. That didn’t feel right for me especially since no one needs to see my kindergarten-level drawings and it’s kind of necessary to have halfway decent pictures in a children’s book. So, I knew I needed help – at least an illustrator and editor. After several nights of Googling, I happened upon Beavers Pond Press, a local self-publishing company in Edina, Minnesota. Their website drew me in right away…
You’re an independent author with a passion, trying to get your book out into the world…
We’re a small group of passionate book nerds, and we want the world to love your work.
There are about 900 different ways to publish a book, and you just want someone to help you figure out what to do.
I read every page of their website – several times. I was in love. I knew I had to meet with them. I filled out their intake form with more information about my manuscript and said I had never done anything like this before but that I was “going for it” since it was always something I wanted to do. I hesitated for about four minutes…wondering if I should hit send (again) and telling Vince this was one of the hardest things I’d ever done (besides giving birth to my almost 10-pound hunk of a baby). Then I hit send.
I remember getting the response back the next day from them and totally reading into everything they said. How they were thrilled to hear that “I’m going for it” and asking me to come to the office to see their other books and set up a meeting with one of their managing editors. I had no idea what this meant. Was this something they did with all inquiries so you could really see the kind of caliber their books were at and realize that your idea is doggy doo compared to the award-winning pieces on their shelves? I had no clue. But I scheduled an introductory meeting and started mentally preparing myself to have my dreams potentially crushed by said managing editor.
More on that meeting in part three…