The Serendipitous Path to a Publisher (Part 2)

booktrope-logoThis is Part 2…If you’re reading this blog post and haven’t read Part 1, you can find it here:

I was standing outside the Women’s Building at the Pitch-o-Rama, armed with my manuscript, business cards, and a look of grim determination. Okay, maybe not that grim, but determined, nonetheless. I’d done my research; I knew which agents and publishers I wanted to pitch my book to.  I thought this event would be good practice—I could learn to talk about my book in a clear, concise, and exciting way—even if I didn’t find an agent or publisher. I’d self-published “High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery” in 2014. It had sold well and had received many 5-star reviews. I didn’t need to find a publisher today, I could continue to self-publish. But still, did I want a “real” publisher? Yes, I did.

One of the leaders for the day explained the rules to a few dozen authors in the room: You may enter a queue to speak with an agent or publisher when the bell rings. Once it is your turn, you have seven (short!) minutes to speak with the person on the other side of the table. Once the bell rings you must leave the table and move to another line. No pushing, no shoving. (I might have made that last part up.)

When the first bell rang all the authors queued up to meet their first agent/publisher.  The line for the person I wanted to pitch to was long. The longer I stood there, the more nervous I got.

I can do this.

When it was finally my turn, I gave my best pitch to the publisher across from me.  As soon as I told her that my book had been self-published she stopped me and said she was not interested. I left the table before my time was up, realizing there was no need to continue if the answer was a definite NO. The second and third publisher representatives said they loved the story idea, but immediately told me that they were not interested in my book when they heard that I’d published it myself. Rejection. Big time rejection.

During a break I stood talking with another author and told her that pitching had not gone well for me.  She pointed to a woman across the room. “You should go see with Julia —she was previously self-published and now she’s being published by Booktrope.”

I talked with Booktrope author Julia Park Tracey and she told me about the positive experiences she had working with Booktrope. She encouraged me to submit my manuscript to her publisher. That night I sat at my computer on the Booktrope web site filling out forms and uploading my manuscript.  Then I closed my eyes, and clicked the Submit button. I didn’t expect to hear anything from Booktrope, feeling dejected after my failed pitching session.

A month later I received an exciting email from Booktrope. My book had been accepted for publication! What amazing news to find in my inbox squeezed between all the junk mail that arrives each day. I was thrilled, and I must admit, nervous to sign on with a publisher— a “real” publisher, and me, a “real” author. The serendipitous path to a publisher started when my friend told me to just “breath the air,” and in the end, through a series of twists and turns, I found my way.

Booktrope will be re-publishing my first book “High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery” with a release planned for September. And, they’ll be publishing future books in the Glass Bead Mystery series.

These days, I’m not going it alone. I’ve got a Booktrope team, and we’re working to make great books together.

We can do this.

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