Book Deal Signed

Yes, it's true. At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, just before the launch party of the new American Fork Arts Council Press, I signed a three-book deal with Cedar Fort Publishers.

O happy day!

The title of the first book has officially been changed to "The Forgotten Self-Sufficiency Skills of the Mormon Pioneers". The book debuts in April 2011, if everyone can get all the necessary work done in time. They will be considering hundreds of my photos to put in the book. The manuscript is complete, and in the next couple of days I will be sending them a final (polished once more) copy.

I don't know yet what the second and third books will be. The publishers want to see all my existing fiction and nonfiction projects, which includes two finished novels and a compilation of my classroom lessons called "Avoiding the Collapsing Story" or something near that. I also have an idea for an unwritten sequel to the "Forgotten Skills" book, so we'll see what happens.

After two offers (one from Cedar Fort, one tentative from Covenant) I sent the manuscript to 31 national agents and got 9 requests for the manuscript. Cedar Fort had given me a 30 day window to accept or decline the contract they sent me, and at the end of that time, they granted me a one-week extension (very kindly). One agent made me an offer, which I ultimately turned down (long story short, I didn't think it was good enough) and two agents turned me down. Another agent, Julia Lord Literary, has asked me to please not sign a contract before she could find time to read my full manuscript, but in the end my deadline extension ran out and Julia and the other agents knew that I had two contracts on the line. I had said I had until noon on Thursday to hear from the agents, and when I didn't, I signed the Cedar Fort contract. So that is the story about the agents.

How wonderful was it, at the third Conference for Writers that I have directed, to finally be able to announce I had signed a book deal. Humbling and happy. A wild, wonderful week indeed.

One last thought: I have to say I was mightily heartened during the nonfiction breakout session that Annette Lyon and I taught together on Saturday when Annette said that her editor said that her new "Chocolate Never Faileth" cookbook, which is her first nonfiction book, will outsell all of her seven fiction books combined. Annette said she questioned why she'd slaved for years over those fiction books when her bestselling book will be a nonfiction that took five months of testing chocolate recipes. I thought hey, all these years I've been focused on fiction, maybe nonfiction is really the place to focus, with fiction as a secondary focus. After all, we all must pay our bills. Annette's comments just made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.

5 comments:

  1. Caleb - I had the same thought when Annette shared that. Maybe I'm playing in the wrong sandbox?

    Only problem - the voices won't leave me alone.

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  2. Congratulations again, Caleb. I attended your nonfiction breakout session in April and you said we were the "smartest people at the conference". Or something like that. :)

    I'm in a neighborhood Bunco group. Whenever I host I purchase a few books as gifts along with other kitchen gadgets and treats. Without fail, the fiction choice [always a wonderful and appropriate selection] is the last to go. The women all say they simply don't have time to read "real" books. Makes me sad, but it supports what you and Annette say. My friends will LOVE your book. I can't wait to have it among my Bunco gift offerings very soon. We might have our first Bunco fight over who gets the book!

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  3. Thanks for sharing all that. I think its great and I will be in line for a copy when the book comes out in April.

    I've been thinking about what you said to me in class earlier this year about writing non-fiction; your own experience and that of Annette's really drives the point home.

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  4. That's so wonderful, I am very happy for you! Best wishes for lots of non-fiction success. :D

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