Will you keep your fingers crossed for me? I just received what might be the final proof copy of A Spark of Heavenly Fire. If it’s okay, by this time next week, I will be a published author. If it’s not okay, I’m going to shoot myself.
(Just a glancing blow on a toe, perhaps. What? You thought I meant in the head? I need my head . . . where else would I put my hats?)
Seriously, though, this book has been through several proofing sessions in my effort to make it as perfect as possible. I realize perfect does not have degrees — perfect is perfect — but you know what I mean. No matter how good a job one does, there is always, always something that slips by.
Remember that Persian carpet legend and how the carpet makers purposely put a flaw in their carpets because only God is perfect? It sounds arrogant to me, as if they thought they were so perfect that they had to fake imperfection to prove . . . whatever. Still, if you happen to find a flaw in my book, just remember that it’s there on purpose. (Wink, wink.)
Publication has been a long time in coming. Years, in fact. It took a year to write A Spark of Heavenly Fire, another few months to edit, years of querying and rejections — I queried almost two hundred agents and editors. I did find an agent about three years ago, but she was worthless; she sent the book to publishers who did not carry my genre (whatever that might be). When the contract expired, I started querying other agents and editors. Still no takers.
Odd, but through it all, I believed in this book. I have doubts about my other books for some reason, but never about A Spark of Heavenly Fire. It’s spooky thinking that soon I will know if all the rejecters are right, or if I am.
At least my publisher likes the book. He said, “I was told by some other small publishers with whom I had done research that I was going to get mountains of unacceptable crap for every worthy thing I received. So when I got Pat’s manuscript for A Spark of Heavenly Fire, which was like the first submission to Second Wind, I thought, ‘OMG, is this possible?!’ I knew in the first 20 pages that she was the real thing. Then, as we corresponded, I realized where I knew that name: she and I were neck and neck throughout the FCC contest on Gather.com. I remember reading her first chapter of More Deaths Than One and thinking, ‘Oh, man. I hope her second chapter is messed up! I can’t beat this.’ Well, it just goes to show, if you can’t beat ’em, publish ’em!”
So, I’m off to proof the book again. Here’s hoping . . .
February 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm
Don’t shoot yourself, Pat. It’s going to be okay. Readers love your blog; they’re going to love your books.
February 12, 2009 at 5:57 pm
Joylene, it’s a good thing you talked me out of shooting my foot, because as it turns out, this isn’t the final proof copy. A couple of the mistakes from the last copy didn’t get corrected, so I’ll have to submit them again.
I’m making progress, though. It used to be I was always a month away from getting published. Now I’m always two weeks away.
February 13, 2009 at 11:23 am
So glad you’re not going to shoot yourself. And so excited for you. Soon… soon… you’ll know for sure you were right.
February 13, 2009 at 7:04 pm
Pat, I think it’s natural to worry and wonder. But you are very close to your writing–all of us are. I think Spark will go far. It’s an intriguing story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
I think both or your books and any others you publish will always find a place in many, many homes and give hours of pleasure to your readers.
February 15, 2009 at 10:01 am
I’m having mini panic attacks over my unpublished work even in the face of Dead Witness’s success here in B.C. In my mind it wasn’t my best book. But it’s receiving great reviews. And now I find myself wondering if it’s because my protag is 38, blond and pretty. That’s sad. Especially since my last three books are about 50+ year-olds. lol
You’re going to do great, Pat.
February 15, 2009 at 11:48 am
I am learning that there is never a time when an author can sit back and enjoy the process. There is always something more to agonize over.