I plan on accomplishing three things in this posting.
First, I want to thank all of you who have purchased Dulcy’s trade paperback or her e-book. I don’t know the names of the latter, but I do know those who are getting to read her story in its paperback version because I autograph and mail those books. Thank you one and all.
Second, I want to thank Melynda, the published author who blogs on Crazy World: Where Craziness Abounds, for helping me promote Dulcy’s book. This past Wednesday she posted our interview. On Thursday she reviewed the book.
If you haven’t read her review, please immediately stop reading this posting and go to her blog. Why? Because her review reflects the true meaning of Christmas. You will meet a loving mother whose eyes no longer permit her to read small type and a devoted son—Mr. P—who reads to her. A madonna and her child. Their story, as captured by Melynda in that posting, made me imagine Yeshua (Jesus) and his mother.
Was he high-spirited? Did he play noisily in their crowded one-room, mud-and-straw home? Did he grind barley for his imma? Did she make flatbread on the round oven in the courtyard, which they shared with their neighbors? Did she add spice to a heroic story of their ancestors by acting it out for him?
Did she wet her index finger and wipe a dirty smudge from his cheek? Did he wander off into the hills beyond Nazareth and run home to describe for her the fluid flight of eagles riding the wind? Did they play together on the earthen floor of their home with a wooden toy Yosef had made for him?
Melynda’s engaging review called forth these musings. And more. Her review made me rejoice that Dulcy’s book brought her and Mr. P even closer in their tenderness for one another. Thank you, Melynda, for so skillfully sharing the story of how Dulcy's life touched you and your son.
Third, I want to continue the saga of getting published.
We left the story Thursday with my receiving—on July 6, 1991, a Saturday by the way—a call from Jane Meara, a Crown editor. She offered me a contract for A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story.
I received the contract in the mail sometime in July 2001. A friend read it for me and called it “boilerplate.” That is, it was a typical contract; its terms for the advance and the royalties were common for a first-time author.
I’d receive $2,000 as an advance against what the book would ultimately earn. This money was nonreturnable. That is, I didn’t have to return it if the book ultimately didn’t get published or if it didn’t “earn out” the advance. I’d receive this advance in three equal payments: when I signed the contract; when I approved the copyedited manuscript; and when the book was published.
My royalty would be 10 percent on the first 5,000 copies sold; 12 ½ percent on the next 5,000 copies; and 15 percent on anything beyond 10,000.
I signed the contract and hugged myself in delight. Dulcy’s book was going to be published.
Jeremiah, Eliza, and Noah await a treat,
while I await news of Dulcy’s book.
During the next year—between signing the contract in July 1991 and the release of the hardcover in October 1992—I spoke often with Jane. She did a superb job of sharing with me just where the book was in the publishing process.
The copyediting was minimal, but essential. Dulcy had used many short sentences. The copyeditor often brought these together with the judicious use of the semicolon. I learned from her the use of that mark of punctuation.
The other big happening during those fifteen months was the selecting of an illustrator. I’ll share that satisfying story with you on Tuesday.
(Continued on Tuesday . . . )