Friday, October 24, 2008

Not That Exciting

Compared to everyone else's story, my story of how I found out my book was going to be published is quite boring. For me there was no "Call" and I didn't even have an agent at the time, so there was no one to really tell me what was going on or guide me through the process. I wrote "The Sakura Tree" one weekend after watching a wonderful documentary about picture brides on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.) When I was finally happy with the text and had revised it death, I printed out four copies and mailed them out to four different publishers. Three of the four publishers I sent my manuscript to were American, but the last one was sent to Red Deer Press, a small Canadian publisher. One by one the rejections came in. I tried not to let them upset me and I even tried to convince myself and others that I didn't care, but every time I opened a letter and read that another publisher was turning me down, my heart would sink.

Two months passed and I had heard back from everyone, except for Red Deer Press. Though I knew there was always a chance they might pick up the book, my heart and spirit were so low that I barely had the desire to write, let alone dream that one day I might be published. One afternoon, after I had gotten my youngest down for his nap, I went to my computer, sat down and began to seriously question my dream of becoming a writer. I decided that I was going to give myself a test. I would contact Red Deer Press and inquire about my manuscript. If they turned me down, then I would forget about writing and pursue something else. If they accepted it then I would know it was what I was meant to do.

Tentatively I wrote to Red Deer Press and asked about the status of my manuscript. I response. For the next three weeks I checked my email a dozen times a day...each time hoping to hear something positive. As each day passed with still no answer, I could feel my hope fading. I needed this to work out. I didn't want to have to walk away from my dream. Finally I heard back...and it is a day I will never forget. My "yes" came in the form of an email:

"After careful consideration we have decided that we would like to offer you a contract for publication."

I can remember getting up from my computer, walking over to the side of my bed and dropping to my knees to thank God for allowing this to happen. I'm not a religious person, but for some reason I felt the need to pray. "The Sakura Tree" was published in May 2007 and has been doing very well. It was nominated as Best Picture Book of the Year by the Alberta Book Publishers Association and was also recently listed in the CCBC's (Canadian Children's Book Centre's)2008 Best Books for Kids and Teens Guide. I am proud of this book and forever grateful that Red Deer was willing to take a chance on me.


Lori said...

Your story, like all the others on this blog, are truly inspiring. It's also true that I am reading them while I should be writing my book, but well, inspiration has to come first.
This is a great blog. I'm very happy to have found it.

Tracy Madison said...

Carolyn, I love your story. It's very inspiring and poignant. Thank you for sharing it!

Jillian Cantor said...

Great story! I'm so glad you didn't give up on your dream :-).

Carolyn McTighe said...

Thanks all. Sorry I ended up posting late Friday night, because I had a huge Halloween party Saturday that I knew I was going to be terribly busy for and wouldn't have had time to write. Thanks for the nice comments. And good luck on your book Lori.

Maureen Lipinski said...

Good luck, Lori!

I still get chills when I read another writer's story!