Thursday, January 29, 2009

How We Got It Published

We were caught up in the celebration of completing our initial draft of the book. Finding someone to publish it was another big adventure.

One day I browsed through the Internet reading about traditional publishing and self-publishing. I sent out inquiries to three companies through a link on their web page. All three of the publishers responded to me. BookPros, however, was swifter in their response and patient in their explanation of what their company provides. We sent them samples from our book , a brief synopsis, and our bio and waited.

On Monday, July 14 at 1:00 pm we spoke with two representatives from BookPros, one of which was the President. They were interested in our story. Paul and I asked many questions and took notes on the entire conversation. They had read our sample chapters. They said our story was unique and it was different from other books on this topic in that it extended beyond our immediate family. They had to show it to a few other people but he didn't see any reason why they wouldn't accept our book. We got off the phone and felt a great sense of accomplishment. Someone actually thought we had a book worth publishing. It was our first confirmation that we had written something worthwhile. We were ecstatic. I couldn't concentrate on anything that day. All I could think about was the reality of our current situation.

As you have probably guessed, we were accepted by BookPros. We had done our research on the company and felt very comfortable signing up with them. We signed the formal contract and started on our second phase.

We were assigned a project coordinator for our book. She is the communicator between us and the editor and others we worked with along the way. She has done a great job. We have tried very hard to meet her timeline for each step along the way. It is only fair that we do our part so they can do their part. Sometimes it is difficult to sign off on things because you know you could improve your writing. You just have to let it go.

From July through December we edited our work, gathered photos, approved our layout, and sought permissions for copyrighted material. If you want more information about any of those topics, we would be happy to share our experiences with you.

In December the final format was sent to the printer. We received our first copy of our book today, January 29, 2009. YIPEE! All for now.

How It All Started

In 2005 our boys prompted us to write a book about our experience as parents of two gay sons. We always felt that there was a role for us in helping other families with gay children so the idea appealed to us. They were both excited about the prospect of completing a book. We all felt there was a need for this type of story to be told as many families struggle with the news their child is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We've heard many of those stories directly and through our sons. We aren't perfect parents and our boys aren't perfect sons (although we feel they are pretty close!) but we made it and can't imagine our lives any different now. We feel normal! Sorry - I got sidetracked....

We were both still working full time as educators in the Eau Claire School District so there was a lot of "self-talk" about "can we", "should we" and if so, when? We talked about the content, the arrangement, and how we would even approach such a big project. I can remember sharing the idea with a few friends and they were very encouraging to both of us. I always felt that Paul's voice as a father was important to share. In our experience the fathers seemed to have a harder adjustment when they found out their son was gay.

Once we officially removed our school badges in the summer of 2005, we each started writing ideas and stories. That process extended over three years. Paul kept a journal of his reflections and I wrote specific incidences over a ten year span. We didn't really plan it that way but it turned out to be distinctive in the book. We sometimes covered some of the same content and feelings but in a different way.

At the end of our second year most of our stories were in a rough format but we felt the book needed more voices. During the third year we asked my mom, our sons, and other people who were either part of our story or shared their personal story with us along the way. to share their personal journey or reflection with our readers. We felt that addition to the book gave it breadth; it gave the reader a chance to identify with more than just us. It was interesting that our initial previewers favored different parts of the book. That was good news to us because we felt our goal of association with someone in the book was successful.

The stories were recorded and an initial editing was done. Now what? We wanted to publish our story but we didn't know how to get it in front of a publisher for consideration. That will be our next blog.