One week ago, Facebook Memories unearthed this gem:
Yes, this is an email from my publisher. Last year, on the 19th of January, my book was accepted for publication.
The first thing I remember from reading this email is disbelief. I had to read it three times to be sure, and then I screenshot it and sent it to my husband and a couple of friends just to make sure I wasn’t actually dreaming (I wasn’t).
So how’d I get there?
When I got the idea for the book, I was in the early stages of my pregnancy. I was due at the end of September, and as I got more and more whale-like in size, I knew it would get harder to be out and about; my thinking was if I had all the pieces in place, I could spend the later part of my pregnancy on actually putting the book together. So I spent months gathering research and interviews, digging for sources, and researching how to get a book published.
Here’s the thing: EVERYTHING I read online at the time about getting a work of non-fiction published said that I had to write a proposal and just the first few chapters of the book to send to a prospective publisher, and only if they accepted it and commissioned the book from me was I to complete it. So I thought, cool, I’ll write and send my proposal and sample chapter along first, and by the time publishers actually get back to me, I’ll probably have given birth and we can work something out. And if nobody liked the chapters and it all turned out to be a bunch of phooey, I figured I could turn those into articles, sell them to some magazines, and call it a day.
I prepared a proposal and sent it along to two local publishers* at 9:17am on August 7th. By 2pm on the same day one had emailed me back. “We’d like to review the full manuscript,” the email said.
So as it turns out, when you email Malaysian publishers, you should have the whole damn thing written first, contrary to how it works in the Western publishing world…where all this online advice was coming from.
I panicked, then panicked somemore, then finally calmed down enough to send an email back apologising profusely and asking if I could submit my manuscript in December. They graciously said yes and told me they would put it down for review in their editorial calendar. Since I had some interviews and observations that I could only get to after confinement, I actually ended up only sending it in January (sorry guys…). Then, about a week later, I got THAT email up there.
And now, many edits and emails and speaking engagements later, here we are.
Happy anniversary, GerakBudaya! You guys have been incredibly supportive, and I’m so happy that I got to publish my first book with you. May there be many more to come. ❤
*I never did hear back from that other publisher. Like, at all. Not even a form rejection. Maybe mental illness just isn’t their thing?