A Letter to you dear Mannie

Dear Mannie,

It has been two years, two months and fifteen sixteen days since you left me, wrapped up in a manila envelope, your destination clearly marked. I fretted over your departure. Were you heading out too soon into the cruel, cruel world of publishing? Two years, two months and fifteen sixteen days ago, you were but a query, a synopsis, and a few sample chapters. You weren’t all there, but most of us aren’t. I wasn’t about to hold that against you. I hoped the publisher wouldn’t either.

It was a start, and we all must start some place.

If things went well, you made me promise to send you off in your entirety when the time was right. I kissed you farewell, secretly cringing at the thought of you being gone. But like most things, I talked myself into believing that your leaving was well timed, and a necessity. You needed to spread your wings, dear Mannie. It was your rite of passage.

I’ll be honest.

There was a time when you disappeared from my mind. Shocking, yet still it is the truth…I began working on something new, something fresh, something that gave me new purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

What could you expect?

I heard not a peep, not even one little word, no phones call, email or notes, to let me know that you were doing fine. Surely I deserved that much.

Finally, I could stand your silence no longer. I prodded you, gently so, but still…. I sent an email saying, remember me? Ah and you did!! I jumped for joy!

You, of course, had an explanation, you’d been busy checking out the publishing world, picking up useful information, marketing strategies — for when you become a book—oh, and let’s not forget editing tips. At least that was your story, although I choose to believe that you spent a great deal of time lounging around instead. But let’s not go there.

If my gentle nudge accomplished anything, it made you feel incomplete.
You hadn’t thought to ask me to send the rest of your pages. I might have thought you would have felt a bit naked before then, but that obviously wasn’t the case. So I slipped your remaining pages into another manila envelope, affixed the postage, sent them off with a kiss and a prayer. I waved goodbye as the mail driver drove away

We were making progress.

I tried not to second guess you, really I did. But one day I peeked into your file. I didn’t like what I saw. I knew right then and there I had to do something.

The revisions were painless for you, but oh so necessary for me.

I even screamed once, “What the heck was I thinking?” letting you go off into the cruel, cruel world of publishing like this. I took away words. I gave you more words. I changed your point of view— first, then back to third. I gave you a whole new chapter of your very own, something I should have thought to do before you went away. I took full responsibility.

And so, Mannie, I hope you are not angry, sulking away in some corner. You’ve been gone so long that I won’t be the least bit upset if you decide to come running home. In fact, I’ll throw a party for you. I’ll write, “Welcome back, Dear Mannie, some things were not meant to be.”

But until that time comes, I shall wait……

Choosing the Right Title

I sometimes find it a struggle to come up with a title for my work. Titles are not always that easy to come up with— good titles at least. The original title for my young adult novel was “Bittersweet” for several reasons that I can’t go into without giving away a key part to the story.  I hadn’t been able to come up with a title until the very end and then it struck me in one of those “eureka moments” you hear about all the time. Just like that I knew what the title was!!

But then things got changed the way they sometimes do in the publishing business. Let’s face it publishing is a business and, when it comes right down to it it’s about book sales and marketing and making money— but, hopefully, a whole lot more. It’s also about producing the best book possible but at the same time keeping the author happy.

So you can believe me when I say “Bittersweet” really was the right title for the book. As a matter of fact, my editor told me that everyone at Nimbus really loved the original title but they were a bit worried because there were a ton of books out there with Bittersweet as the title or with Bittersweet in the title.(Try doing a search  and see for yourself) But still, no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t come up with a title that fit the book better than “Bittersweet.” So as a compromise they came up with “Bitter, Sweet.”

But the final decision rested with me. Was I willing to go along with their suggestion? I thought about the title for a few days before I got back to my editor. To be honest I wasn’t sure what I thought about the comma. Now a comma is just a little bitty thing you might say but still it seemed to jump out at me as if it had a life of its own. Could I live with the comma? And if I couldn’t live with the comma could I live with a totally different title? These things weighed on my mind. It took me several days to be able to say yes I could live with the change and really mean it. For me it was more of a visual thing because realistically it’s pretty much the same title and I was actually surprised by the fact that it seemed like such a big deal at the time. I even tried writing it out to see what it would look like. It is a bit different from the original and as my editor pointed it out gives the book a really nice literary feel. After all, life is filled with compromise and to be perfectly honest, now that I’m used to it, I really like the title.

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 238 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 82,285 hits