Thursday, September 25, 2008
A Hunting We Will Go!
You know how it is. We’re all striving to find an outlet for the stories burning inside, to stumble onto one editor willing to listen long enough for us to slide a foot in the door before it slams shut again. It doesn’t make it right, but our desperate, yearning hearts are the reason editors find plot-covered squares of tissue waving from under bathroom stalls during writer’s conferences. In essence, we are the predators, and they are the prey.
I love to tell the story of how I became part of Barbour Publishing’s family of authors. Last year on a quest to wriggle through a crack in Barbour’s door, I set my sights on Rebecca Germany. She had read my chapter in the ACFW Genesis Contest and expressed an interest. We discussed meeting at the upcoming conference. She even suggested breakfast. I cracked my knuckles, narrowed my eyes, and tightened my finger on the trigger. I practically had her bagged.
I could hardly wait the few remaining weeks until we met. I focused my one sheet, strapped on my proposal, and set out for the hunt—like Elmer Fudd tracking that wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny. The first day in Dallas I ran into Becky. She’s friendly enough. I’m all giddy smiles. But something is wrong. The whole dynamic has changed. I’m not getting good vibes like before. As if to confirm this feeling, Becky cancels our breakfast, says we might meet up somewhere later.
Huh? Dazed and confused, I feel my trophy slip through my grasping fingers.
I guess my despair showed, because Becky took pity. She assured me we’d have a chance to speak later. Hmmm. You bet we would! The only trouble, my scheduled appointment with her wasn’t for two more days. I couldn’t pinpoint where I’d gone wrong, but with Becky acting so cool, I had to do damage control. And fast.
The next day, one of my critique partners learned of my plight and gave me her appointment slot with Becky. Wahoo! She was back in my crosshairs. When I arrived at the scheduled meeting, Becky glanced up at me with startled eyes. Sort of like that deer caught in the headlights thing. I’m thinking it’s not a good sign.
So I pull out all the stops. I try to keep her talking about my book, but she’s vague. She actually starts to squirm. Visibly. She finally mumbles something like: “The final say is out of my hands. There are many people involved in making the decision. I’ll let you know something as soon as I can.” Tight smile. Quick handshake. My sure thing bounds off into the brush, and I never got off the first round.
During the next day’s session, I’m sitting there nursing my wounds when Becky takes the podium to announce Barbour Publishing’s 2007 contract recipient. Not just any old contract. A three-book contract. As she describes this triple-blessed author, I suddenly realize it’s me! I also realize Becky has been evasive to keep from spoiling the surprise. Headlights shift my direction. Blindsided, I can only sit there and gape. Turns out the hunter became the hunted, the predator the prey. That wascally Webecca Germany got me wight between the eyes!
But you know what? It didn’t hurt a bit.
Marcia Gruver, author of Diamond Duo (book 1 of the Texas Fortunes series available October 2008)
Editor Du Jour Becky