Monday, April 13, 2009

Hope Arrives!

Love is a Verb by Gary Chapman arrived on my doorstep this morning via Fed Ex (sorry, honey it wasn’t UPS). My hubby is a manger at UPS so he doesn’t like me to mention the competition by name, but there you have it!

I’ve kept this book under wraps because in publishing you just never know. For those who aren’t familiar with the process, let me tell you how it works (sort of!): You send in a story via an open call for stories or if you’re fortunate, the editor comes to you personally and asks you to write for a certain volume.

Then comes the wait. If you’re a savvy writer, you will keep a hard copy of the story and file it away with the date and note it on your Excel spreadsheet of projects (date submitted).

More waiting.

Pay attention to periodic e-mails, but do NOT bug the editor. There is one exception: If you double submitted something and you heard from the other publisher first. That is an entirely different post, which I won’t get into right now (but let’s just say that it can get you into some “hot” water and you better have your ducks lined up when you perform that daring feat). I for one, will never double submit (ever!).

Then one day—when you’re least expecting it—there will arrive an e-mail from the editor that your story has been selected as a semi-finalist. You shout, “Yippee.” But it’s a small “yippee” because that’s no guarantee of anything (for certain).

More months pass by and you get another e-mail, stating you’re a FINALIST! You do the happy dance, sign the contract (read it first!), and then fax or mail it to the editor (or publisher). Following the directions carefully.

Signing the contract still does not guarantee that you’re in the book. It just means it passed by the editor, the managing editor, and now goes to the publisher.

But don’t get too excited yet. Now you really have to wait. This is the last communication you will receive. Yes, there’s a very good chance you will be in the book, but it’s now up to the publisher (they have the final say-so); and in this case it was Bethany House.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

If you’re a “smart” writer, you have made notations on your Excel spreadsheet of dates along the way and you’ve kept writing and submitting.

Sometimes the publisher has posted a “Search In” option to the book on, so you can start searching for your name before the due date (in this case it was May 1, 2009). But not all publishers use this method.

You wait patiently and keep writing.

And then one day, the doorbell rings, it’s the Fed Ex truck. He speeds away as you look down at the steps and see a brown box. What’s this? I didn’t order anything from Fed Ex? And then you see the publisher’s name and let out a “yelp.”

I carried the box inside (heavy because they are hardbound books), and tried to rip it open with my bare hands (ignoring the tab that would have easily released the contents). No, I had to break two fingernails, get a paper cut, and jabbed myself with scissors before the books tumbled out.

Two hardbound author copies with a beautifully designed dustcover.

Two copies.

I only expected one (after all I only had one story). How nice…one to keep and one to give away.

At that point, you are "hopeful" that you're in the book. Certain is a good word, but not for sure until you scour the table of contents for your name.

You’re feeling a little better…you actually see your name!

You turn to page 210 and then it’s for certain. You read your story and Dr. Chapman’s commentary on what you wrote. You check the bio and see your name again.

Afterwards you get out the file and write the date you received the book and file it away under “finished projects”).

You do the happy dance one more time.

Oh yeah, the check. That comes out later, sometimes 4-6 weeks later depending on the publisher. You do the happy dance with that one too (it’s a double celebration). Actually, it’s many dance steps along the way, some are slow dances, some are jigs, and sometimes it's a waltz. It all depends on the project.

But today I did the happy jig twice. My check arrived in the mail (the same day that the books arrived). That has never happened before—ever!

Jon came back home to give me the stub to pick up his tux for a wedding he's, so I autographed the book to him as an early graduation gift.


Do I always make the list?


One year, I was always a bridesmaid and never a bride. I made it to the semi-finalist list and never made it to the finalist. Never get discouraged. I turned around and submitted them to another publisher and they accepted all THREE!

Why do I write about the writer’s life on a Monday morning? Because for some reason, I always receive my author copies on a Monday. Today I started humming the song, “Monday morning…” and said a prayer, “Thank you, Lord, for another opportunity to share with others your message through my writing.”

That is the true gift…sharing with others what gems and pearls I’ve gleaned along this journey called life.

It gives me hope for tomorrow!

Living Life Passionately,

P.S. Leave a comment and Love is a Verb can be yours!


Dana said...

Connie, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of you!!! Gary Chapman! That is So cool! Gary Chapman is the BOMB! In fact, our Pastor will begin a series on "The Five Love Languages", next Sunday. We took the class ten years ago, but can always use a refresher.

I can't wait to read the book, and ESPECIALLY your story! Wow!


I was just adding one of your articles to the Passionate for Life Magazine @

Connie Pombo said...

Hey Dana,

I'm still dancing!!

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is one of my favorite books of all time, so I'm thrilled to be part of this project. It's a beautiful book and I just finished reading all the stories (awesome!).

I need to jump on over to Passionate for Life Magazine.


Connie said...

You go girl! Look at all those books you got to load onto your website! I am so proud of you! And so privileged to call you friend...Do I really get a chance to win this book that I also submitted to but didn't get to dance the happy dance to? I love you oodles.


Connie Pombo said...

Yes, yes, get a chance to win the book; I haven't set a deadline, so we can keep on dancing.

Actually, I forgot that means more work, posting to websites. Yikes! I'm going out to practice my speech (I talk to the parking lot!). :)


Susan Skitt said...

A big woo to the hoo! Hurray for you - I'm so glad!!!

You explained the process perfectly. For sure the whole publishing thing is a PROCESS.

Right about now I'm at the happy dance mid-section after signing the contract for God Sightings (Simon & Schuster/Howard). I even got a copy preview of their edits which were wonderful by the way. We'll see! It's in the Lord's hands, as it has been from the start.

Can't wait to do our Women of the Bible book signing on May 9th. I've missed you!

My mom says she needs a whole book shelf for my books, but I think your mom needs at least two or three shelves for yours! I'm so proud of you. You are an amazing writer and friend!

Connie Pombo said...

Thanks, Susan!!!

And a big shout out to you! God Sightings--how exciting!!

Anyway, "yes" I am excited for the book signing. How fun, fun, fun!

I leave for Nebraska this weekend and Pittsburgh the following week--lots to do--and then Jon's graduation! Can you believe it?

One day at a time (right?).