Thursday, August 11, 2011

1,254 days from query to contract (but then again, who's counting?)

Fogg in the Cockpit was released on July 28, 2011.


The journey to publication of this WWII military history book about my husband’s father, Captain Howard Fogg, seemed long and arduous. Was our journey abnormally difficult or fairly typical? I just don't know. What I do know is that I kept records of the query, rejection, and contract process, and thought I would share that information so you can judge for yourself.

My husband (Richard) and I began to work on this book in late 2004, and over the next two years we did a great deal of research and wrote text to interweave with the text from Howard’s diary and other document excerpts. We completed the first, 60,000 word manuscript draft in early 2007. We were so excited! Now it was time to send out queries!

1st Query: 03/24/07 to Talbot Fortune Agency – rejected

2nd Query: 04/02/07 to Dystel & Goderich Literary Management – rejected

3rd Query: 05/07/07 to Stackpole Books – no response

4th Query: 07/30/07 to Potomac Books – rejected

5th Query: 05/08/08 to University Press of New England – rejected

6th Query: 05/08/08 to Naval Institute Press – rejected

7th Query: 05/11/08 to Carlton Publishing Group – no response

8th Query: 05/11/08 to Burford Books
06/12/08 – Burford requested sample chapters
06/20/08 – sent sample chapters
06/21/08 – declined

9th Query: 05/11/08 to Westholme Publishing – no response

10th Query: 05/11/08 to Camroc Press
05/13/08 – Camroc requested sample chapters
06/20/08 – Camroc requested full manuscript
07/03/08 – declined and suggested we try a university press

11th Query: 05/18/08 to W.W. Norton & Company – no response

12th Query: 05/28/08 to Skyhorse Publishing – rejected

13th Query: 05/29/08 to Hellgate Press: No response for 21 months

14th Query: 05/30/08 to Schiffer Publishing – rejected

15th Query: 07/08/08 to Utah State University Press
07/09/08 – USU requested 2 copies of full manuscript
07/10/08 – mailed 2 copies - USU acknowledged receipt of manuscripts via email – no further response

16th Query: 7/25/08 to University Press of Kentucky – rejected

17th Re-query: 11/21/08 to Stackpole (referral from one of their authors) – rejected

18th Query: 03/09/09 to University of Oklahoma Press (referral from one of their authors)
03/16/09 – requested full
No further response despite several follow-up emails

Demoralized, we decided, “The hell with it, we’ll self-publish!”

Over the summer I read Lulu’s guidelines, registered with them, and requested an ISBN. Then we decided to try a couple of additional queries, but if we had no offer by the end of the year we would self-publish. This was our last salvo, so to speak.

19th Query: 05/01/09 to FPP Aviation
05/03/09 – requested full manuscript
05/05/09 – sent full manuscript

Who said silence is golden?

20th Query: December 29, 2009 to Norlights Press – rejected

21st Query: January 3, 2010 to Casemate Publishers

Back to the 19th Query that we sent 05/01/09 – 9-1/2 months later…
02/18/10 – email re: wants to make an offer
02/23/10 – met with publisher, received verbal contract offer, contract to follow
03/27/10 – we sent follow-up email re: status of contract – No response

Then everything happened at once.

03/29/10: Received charming response to 10th query we sent 21 months previously. In summary, our query and sample chapters had been misplaced during a move. Hellgate requested a full manuscript which we sent 03/30/10.

03/31/10: Received an email from Casemate (21st query) expressing interest. “We would be very interested to discuss this project further as we feel this is a very interesting story and perspective on the war.”

04/06/10: Casemate scheduled a conference call with us.

04/08/10: Received a verbal offer from Casemate contingent upon increasing word count from 60,000 to at least 75,000. (Minimum 75,000, maximum 125,000 words.)

04/09/10: Sent additional material to Casemate to show that we could, indeed, increase the word count.

04/13/10: Sent even more additional material.

04/13/10: Received an offer from Hellgate Press, the one that misplaced our query for 21 months.

Now what? Casemate was interested but we had a bird in the hand. Two, if you counted FPP, though we were now skeptical about them.

04/15/10: We let Hellgate know that we had an offer from Casemate. The Hellgate editor was terrific. He assured us his offer would remain while we decided who to go with. He complimented Casemate, said they were a great press and much larger than his. Could offer a color insert whereas he couldn’t.

Stewed and debated the pros and cons of the offers.

04/21/10: Let Casemate know that we had an offer from Hellgate.

Paranoia reigned. No word from Casemate.

05/13/10: Sent follow-up email to Casemate, inquiring about status of offer.

05/14/10: Casemate scheduled conference call to review contract terms.

05/25/10: Back to the 19th Query, FPP. Still no response to our follow-up emails or a voice mail, so we sent a letter and email withdrawing our manuscript.

05/25/10: Let Hellgate know that we were going to accept Casemate’s offer.

06/16/10: Still no contract draft from Casemate, sent follow-up email.

06/20/10: Sent additional material to Casemate with estimated new word count.

07/08/10: Still no contract draft from Casemate, sent follow-up email.

We were now considering going back to Hellgate.

07/26/10: Phoned Casemate and left a message re status of contract.

07/28/10: Casemate phoned us, explained the delay, and reinforced their interest in the manuscript. Reviewed terms, deadlines, and estimated publication date. They would need the bulked up manuscript by 11/01/10. Yikes! Could we have one more month, until 11/30/10?

09/01/10: Received contract. Deadline for submittal 11/01/10. Wait! What happened to 11/30/10!? Oh well, we can do it!

09/03/10: Mailed signed contract to Casemate! Time for champagne!