It’s been several months since I reported that I’d sent the manuscript for the second book, Keeping the Faith, off to the publisher. A number of you have been kind enough to ask about its status since then. Today I finally have something definitive to tell you, but it’s a good news/bad news situation.
Good news? The publisher (Review and Herald) has assured me repeatedly that they’re interested in the book.
Bad news? Review & Herald will no longer have a printing facility.
Bottom line? I’ll have to look for another publisher.
For those interested in more detail, I’ll try to be concise. You’re probably aware that the book-publishing business is changing radically these days. Book-and-mortar bookstores are downsizing or closing altogether, having lost much of their business to online distributors. Similarly, book publishers are dealing with a decreased demand for printed books in light of the increasing popularity of e-books.
During the last year or so, Review & Herald has been going through a process of reevaluation. During these months, they’ve been unable to offer me a contract since they weren’t sure they could follow through on their end of the bargain–i.e., actually print the book. We discussed other possibilities, including the option of publishing Keeping the Faith as only an e-book, but needed to await the final reorganizing decisions before we could proceed with any specific plan.
Yesterday Review & Herald informed its authors of the final decisions. Essentially, they will be responsible for the publishing aspect of certain materials required by the worldwide church (e.g., lesson quarterlies, some magazines), but their actual printing press is closing.
What this means is that I’ll need to re-start the process with Pacific Press. I sent their acquisitions editor a request for consideration of the manuscript today. He’s undoubtedly inundated with requests from other authors in the same situation, so it may be several weeks before he’s able to respond. What’s more, Pacific Press doesn’t generally accept (or even consider) fiction. But if he is interested in seeing the full manuscript, it will take another 2-3 months for it to be fully evaluated.
Some have asked me about the option of self-publishing. While I haven’t ruled that option out entirely, it isn’t my first choice. The process of traditional publishing can seem convoluted and lengthy, but it has the distinct advantage of requiring that the book pass through multiple sets of hands before it comes off a printing press. In this case, where I am brazenly claiming to represent God Himself through a fictional tale, I feel this process is vital to assuring that I do not inadvertently misrepresent His character.
Objective editors experienced in the written expression of thought are simply more likely to foresee how a particular word, phrase, or symbol may be misinterpreted. The editors at Review & Herald were able to catch several potential problems in the original manuscript of The Race: An Allegory; their conscientious reviews were invaluable in making sure that it became a better representation of God and His amazing plan of salvation. I’m confident that He has a purpose in all of this as well.