Friday, July 31, 2015

Think of it as "Eat Pray Love" for the cerebral set

Another day, another draft. China under the Covers proceeds
toward publication. Check out the awesome how-to illos!

At my first job in publishing I wrote rejection letters. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of them. So when I started sending out my queries on behalf of China under the Covers, I could easily imagine where they landed, and what would happen. My missive would add to an ever-growing pile, likely the responsibility of an editorial intern or assistant (bless them) to magically make disappear.

Every once in a while I would sneak a good query from an unknown writer on to the relevant editor's desk at the magazine where I worked, but I knew that was risky. It could get totally lost there, never responded to, and yet—there was a chance a heretofore unknown writer could go on to make contributions and renew everyone's faith in "over the transom" submissions.

My competition—good luck finding it.

I started sending out my proposals last summer. So far—and I just received one today—three rejections. That's still a far cry from the 121 received by Robert M. Pirsig when he shopped Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (one of the half-dozen titles sitting arm's length away from me in the section of my library that I dedicate to inspiring masterpieces).

Given how little information is out there regarding Chinese bookbinding and the burgeoning interest in craft, printing, and books, my book fills a gap and shines a light on one of civilization's most useful and enduring tools. The only other book I've found dedicated to Chinese bookbinding is Edward Martinique's slim manual (left) written for the academic audience and printed in China in 1983.

I have two more agents and publishers to send to, then I embark on the independent route. Luckily, I have incredibly experienced people helping me get there, including ace proofreaders and an expert illustrator.

In other professional development news, this summer I reached a milestone in my quest to get comfortable speaking in front of crowds. So when the China under the Covers show goes on the road, I'm ready.

2 Comments:

At 12:18, Blogger Katie Van Heest said...

I believe in your book project, Margaret! It sounds like you have a clear plan already, but are you following the advice of Jane Friedman re: publishing today? I think she knows what she's talking about, and her book, blog, and interviews might trip you onto a new strategy or two. I admire your transparency about this process, and I hope you'll keep updating us (your blog readers)!

 
At 15:55, Blogger margaret said...

Thanks, Katie, I will look her up!

 

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