The Book: Part 2

I just got the nicest rejection letter ever.

That’s a terrible way to start – isn’t it? Straight in with the bad news – BAM! And then trying to make it sound not so bad – BAM!

But actually, it is true and I’m rather excited about it.

You may recall from The Book:  Part 1 that a publisher had expressed an interest in an educational book proposal of mine and I had finally rattled off a coherent outline of the entire book – something I had intended to do for several years now. You may also recall that I figured they would probably reject it as I couldn’t quite see it fitting into the niche they were looking for. But hey – they asked to see it so that was good!

Well the letter itself said exactly that – the book proposal didn’t quite fit their needs. Fair enough. If they had stopped there, that would have been fine. It would be most unusual to have got an acceptance on your first book with your first try with your first publisher. Maybe even a few death threats from fellow writers reading this blog might have ensued?!

But they didn’t stop there. They said a lot more.

I was pleased when I read “the manuscript was strong”, the proposal “is basically perfect” and the readers they gave it to “really liked it”.

This didn’t need saying – a “thanks but no thanks” would have done it – so I was pleased the effort was given for what was a long email and felt quite honoured. The email went on to say that they felt I need to get it sent to an academic publishers where the target audience would be more in line with the publishers and this has inspired me to begin the next stage of doing just that.

Problem is – which academic publisher?

The book is basically carefully created memory techniques to help students pass exams in Chemistry. This would be followed by other books in the series looking at specific subjects – Physics, Biology, History etc. I actually give techniques to deal with ten of the most difficult things to remember as well as an in-depth technique to remember most facts – in any subject!

So it is aimed at a teenage market and, accordingly, is quite low-brow and chatty – a definite ‘self-help’ guide – but that surely means it rules out most academic publishers who would be looking for more research-based material – scientific proofs and so on? So what do I do?

Well, for one thing, I’m not sitting still. Since writing the project I’ve got on with my self-published book and it is through the first complete draft and into the second one. I’ve got someone who will design me a cover (a good friend) and another friend who will give me some blurb who is a published author (and doing very nicely in the Amazon rankings – something to aspire to J ). Actually, I hope she might write me a foreword too but she doesn’t know that yet unless she happens to be reading this…

So, the self-published book (which I will do in E-book form and Kindle) will come out first – hopefully very soon – but the Chemistry book proposal needs to go out too. Trouble is, with publishers taking so long to decide over a book and with it being considered ‘bad form’ to send something off to multiple publishers, I could spend the rest of my life waiting for just a handful of them to decide it isn’t for them. I may never get to the publisher who says “this is just what I was looking for!”

What a dilemma. Any ideas anybody?

I said in Part one that maybe part two will be the end of this little series on ‘The Book’. Well, maybe it will be. But who knows? Perhaps a publisher out there will come across this and think “this is my guy – we’ve got to have him!”

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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14 Responses to The Book: Part 2

  1. Kerry Dwyer says:

    How nice to have something positive in a rejection letter. I have had quite a few that just say ‘no thanks’ some that don’t say anything at all and one which said ‘you are starting in the wrong place’. Good luck with publishing your book.

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  2. kidswhogig says:

    BRAVO KEN! On getting a great rejection letter! My first instinct was…do i know someone in publishing – second was – what the the “Writer’s Market” book say to do. In getting my poetry published years ago – things are a bit different. But in “Writer’s Market” each publisher has a different requirement. If you haven’t checked it out there already – that would be my start. Do you think your book is country specific? My whole thought process is forge on. You have come far enough to write it – GO FOR IT! If you need my help on this side of the pond – send me a note!

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    • Thank you – that’s very kind of you🙂 Well I do need to check the Writer’s handbook – but don’t have a copy as it is too big to lug over to Bangladesh! I have to rely on entirely internet based sources of information which does slow things down a little. Still, as you say, I’m going to ‘forge on’ – too much in the blood now to stop! Thanks for a great comment🙂

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  3. boomiebol says:

    Keep at it…google academic publisheres and such

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  4. Ruth says:

    Scholastic? I have a friend in India who had a book published with them. It was only published with Indian Scholastic though.

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  5. Phil says:

    Ken, pursue and keep on with this. One thing you may consider is to re-evaluate the essential principles of the book and write a follow up book that covers memory techniques for any academic study. I for one would welcome a book that gave guidance on how to improve my own learning skills. I would find it particularly useful for retaining music theory. I’ve passed grade 5 Royal college for music theory but can I remember any of it ? … not a chance. Can’t get it to stick. Maybe a book with the techniques you have devised would help if you wrote it with general study skills in mind. Just a thought anyway. Keep going and never ever quit ;o)

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    • Thanks Phil – great thoughts!
      I’ve avoided the general market because there are already lots of memory technique books out there. No one seems to specialise in books directly aimed at the very subjects kids tend to struggle with – hence my angle! I DO intend to do a book on music though – I use memory techniques when teaching people to do Grade 5 theory – always have! You’ve got me thinking about that now…

      Thanks for the encouragement Phil – much appreciate mate!

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  6. Oh, yes you can! Just don’t give up. Don’t worry about rejections, after all may I remind you of the producer [at DECCA I think] who stated: “these guys won’t make it!”, thus rejecting a truly insignificant group [un]known to us all as ..the Beatles!

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