The following are the words of Teressa V Staten Ph.D., Archway Publishing author of “Back From the South: A Couples Transitions From Segregation to Integration.” Learn more about Teressa from her website and Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
Continuing the Legacy
For several years after my husband passed, I considered finishing a draft of a book that he had begun about the life of my son. Of course, I procrastinated for many years. However, one of my close friends suggested an idea that began my self-publishing journey. She was the one friend who always planned our interesting trips. This time she suggested we come together and write. Each of us came up with a broad writing goal. I decided to write a memoir about my husband who had been one of the first African Americans to integrate the Marine Corps, and the Huntsville, Alabama Police Department.
Focusing on Writing
We started a writing club in the fall of 2014. My home was the meeting place. We would each write toward our individual goals over a day and then share what each had written gathering reactions and feedback from each other. Over the course of a year, we did this about three times. Between our meetings, we were to continue writing, but that did happen…most of the time. The book began to take shape and decided to focus on not only my late husband’s life but also about my growing up and that of our son who took his own life.
I decided to get serious after feedback from the group of friends was very positive so. I joined the Atlanta Book Club Association where I began to interact with a few members and received information about steps to take toward getting your book published. After registering, I attended the Atlanta Book Festival over the Memorial Weekend in 2015. I submitted my query letter to three publisher’s teams and I received positive feedback. These were face-to-face one on one meetings that lasted 15 minutes.
My Publishing Journey
One publishing company requested that I send them the first chapters as the issues proposed in my book related to areas of special interest to her company. I ended up sending them the chapters and an improved query letter. After about six weeks the agent emailed me to arrange a conference call with two others in her company.
The team went over a few minor changes and indicated that once I sent them a revised version, I would receive a contingency contract. I was on cloud nine. At the close of the phone conversation, one of the individuals added I should redraft the three chapters only in my voice. Mind you this was one of two teams who had complimented me on the way I had written in my husband’s voice. I listened and indicated that I would respond within two weeks as I had other obligations.
I did think about the request and discussed it with two of my writing team members. Both thought the style of the book was unique and that I should proceed as I had begun using my husband’s voice until after we got married. I informed the editor of my decision by email without room for further discussion. I also sent out query letters to three additional publishers and got some feedback. However, their requests did not fit with the direction my book was going.
I knew I was going to finish the book regardless and learned about self-publishing through the Atlanta Book Club. I began to research self-publishers and went as far as having conversations and review of their options. After receiving a special offer from Archway Publishing and since it was associated with Simon and Schuster, I decided to work with them. I was assigned to a concierge who was probably young enough to be a grandchild. She was very patient and responded quickly to any concerns that I had. Others in the organization were most helpful and open to allow me to be satisfied with my book. The development team was excellent especially with my cover, which I changed several times.
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