Well what do you know? Here’s a half ream of paper into which a piece of my heart is woven between the words. This is the manuscript of my next book. We can call it Book Two. Or we can now call it by its official working title — Gene, Everywhere. I say “working title” because until it is published, the title could possibly change. Believe me, this story has had a long list of considered titles.
Gene, Everywhere is my favorite. It fits and feels right to me. When you read it, I think you’ll agree.
John printed the manuscript for me at the University of Arkansas where, as a student, he has printing perks. I plopped it on the edge of the kitchen table and stared at it while I ate a piece of watermelon.
I swear the manuscript has a pulse.
Although it’s still a little early in the season to expect the perfect, sweet watermelon, I think this will be a good summer for them. I’ve already had two and both were mighty good.
I’ve said it before—watermelon is my spirit fruit.
But I digress.
Now what to do about Gene?
In some ways, finding a publisher is the most challenging part of writing a book. Other than doing the legwork, I have little to no control over the process.
I like control.
Why does it have to be so banging-my-head-against-the-wall difficult? I don’t know for sure but I have a few ideas on the subject…
- Because every publisher is looking for something a little bit different than what I’m writing?
- Because of timing?
- Because each publisher is bombarded with thousands of submissions?
- Because many won’t consider my work unless it is represented by an agent?
Really, I’m guessing here. But if you imagine the old needle in the haystack idiom (substituting an entire hayfield for the haystack), that’s what the process feels like to me. To be successful, I believe the situation calls for not only an excellent story and clean writing, but a heaping dose of good luck, being in the right place at the right time, and above all else, never ever giving up.
Sometimes I feel like giving up.
Just being honest.
Reward in the Writing
Anne Lamont said the writing itself is the reward. In a way, I agree. It’s quite satisfying to see my completed work printed out and secured by a heavy-duty binder clip. But I wonder if Lamont partially said that just to make us feel better?
As I ate my watermelon, I smiled at my manuscript sitting on the edge of the table looking as though it might sail out the kitchen door and into the world. Like a child off to school. A high school graduate off to college. A message crammed into a whiskey bottle and tossed into the Mississippi River in the hopes that the exact right person (who happens to be a book publisher) will find it while fishing in the Gulf, adore it, and the rest will be history.
I’ve thought about hiding it in a storage box and leaving it for future generations to discover in the attic. Maybe a great-great-grandchild would publish it posthumously? That’s been successful for some.
But seriously, who knows what the next step will be for Gene, Everywhere. For now, I will continue to trust the process and believe that this story deserves to see the light of day. The important thing is that within these pages I’ve recorded a special time in my life with my father-in-law. A six-week period that changed the course of my future, bringing me to this moment.
And for that I will always be grateful.
To My Readers
Nearly daily, someone asks me when my next book will be out. Thank you for caring. You provide me with that extra push I often need.
If you would like to help me find a publisher for Gene, Everywhere (publishers consider it a plus if I have an audience / following), you can help by doing one or more of the following:
- if you haven’t yet read The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, buy it or ask your library to carry it;
- if you have read it but haven’t posted a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Barnes & Noble, please consider doing so (how to HERE);
- post about The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram;
- tell a friend / share a copy of your book / buy a copy for a gift;
- recommend Gracie Lee to your book club;
- “like” my Grace Grits and Gardening Facebook page and share posts;
- sign up for my Grace Grits newsletter (which I plan to begin sending out more regularly soon!);
- follow Grace Grits and Gardening on Instagram;
- if you haven’t yet listened to Grace Lee Eudora Abbott on NPR’s Arts & Letters, listen HERE (and share).
It takes a village, y’all. And I appreciate that you are part of my village, cray-crazy and small as it may be:)
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.