Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Grand Unveiling

I have good news to share. I am going to have a book published! Great Basin National Park: A Guide to the Park and Surrounding Area will be released by Utah State University Press in April or May. I am very excited (and also a bit nervous!).


Here's how it all came about.

Seven years ago I started work on a book, a non-fiction book, about the area where I live. I decided to write the book because my husband told me things that I had not read anywhere. When I asked him how he knew that stuff, he said he had just listened to stories or observed things.

Some of the things he said were really cool and I didn't want them to be forgotten, so I started writing them down. Since I'm an ecologist and love exploring the area, I decided that I wanted to write a natural and cultural history of the area. We went on drives every weekend, checking out canyons, hiking up mountains, learning to read geologic maps. I interviewed lots of people, getting their perspectives on the area. I read everything I could find and was lucky to tap into a couple people with extensive libraries.

Two years later, I finished my manuscript. I sent off a query to an academic press and they responded right away that they wanted to see the whole manuscript. So I sent if off and about a month later got a very nice letter back. They liked the book, but said it was unpublishable in its current form--it was too long and detailed. If I would cut about 50% out, they would be happy to take a look at it again. They also said that I should be sure to put a copy of the current form in a library so that it would be available for people who liked the really detailed local history.

Well, I didn't want to cut 50% out, but I could see where I could trim it down. So I edited the whole manuscript. I sent a query to a second academic press, and they soon responded that they wanted to see the whole thing. I sent it to them and then waited and waited. I waited some more, and finally got a one-page form letter rejection. I was not happy!

The silver lining was that I had waited long enough that I could look at the manuscript with fresh eyes, and I reedited the whole thing, cutting more out, tightening up my writing, and updating information. Then I sent a query out to a third press, Utah State University Press, and they wanted to see the manuscript. So I sent it in and heard that they were quite interested. Then I didn't hear anything more for awhile. I had gathered some new information, a friend had helped me with editing, and I again went through the whole manuscript, word by word. I figured I had cut about 40% from the original. I contacted the press to find out what was going on, and they had had a long freeze on new books due to budget cuts. But they were almost done with it and were now interested in my manuscript. I sent them the revised one.

They sent it out to two outside reviewers who made very helpful comments and I reedited the manuscript again. Then the editor took it to the Board of Directors for Utah State University Press. They voted to approve the publication, and I signed a contract. After more edits, copy edits, indexing (and a few more edits), (plus a couple title changes) the manuscript was sent to the printer. (The process I mentioned in this paragraph took about two years.)

Now we're just waiting for it to come back!

What's a little more waiting after two years of writing and five years trying to get it published?

You can see more about the book at its very own page on the Utah State University Press website. It's the first item in their spring/summer 2012 catalog, which is very exciting!

I've made an author website (which feels a little strange to do, to be quite honest). I've always been semi-anonymous on this blog, but now you can find out a little more about me at: http://gretchenbaker.com/. You can also see the Table of Contents of the book. Part One is an overview of the area and the natural and cultural history; Part Two is about Great Basin National Park; Part Three is about all the really cool places around here, from Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge to Gold Hill to Crystal Peak and much more.

The book is available for preorder from USU Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Western National Parks Association outlets at the Great Basin Visitor Center and Lehman Caves Visitor Center will also be carrying the book if you want to wait to see the hard copy.

To any of you who are reading this that I interviewed or who helped me proofread the book, I will be giving you a signed copy. This book really wouldn't have been possible without the help of so many people. I am very grateful for people sharing their stories, photos, editing skills, and supporting me in this grand effort. I hope you will find it worth it.

Thank you!

13 comments:

John Mosley said...

Congratulations!! It also explains why you went from anonymous to having an author's website in the last week or so. How do I get a signed copy? (NOT kidding)

phil said...

You should talk to Nath Jones(from rensselaer..Dr. Jone's daughter) she has been publishing her things. She has a facebook page and I'm sure she would like to chat and share information. Ill order a copy as I always keep up on the local kids who are doing new and great things...

Phil

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Gretchen, your persistence paid off. BTW it is a very interesting book.
Germaine

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Gretchen! It sounds like it was a long, but fruitful, journey.

~It's Just Me~ said...

Congratulations!! ^ ^

Dessert Survivor said...

Anyone planning to visit Great Basin National Park and Snake Valley for a few days should get this book. It is an excellent guide to the area, explaining what interesting things are along just about every road in the valley. I suspect there is quite a bit in the book that even people who live in Snake Valley do not know. (I was one of the proofreaders--it is a really good book.)

G. Robison said...

I am SOOO excited! But I bet it doesn't have the story about the day my dad flew over Snake Valley in an F-4 and scared Freddie Baker's cattle (and thrilled all the locals), way back in 1972. LOL

jhami said...

That is super cool! Can't wait to see it!

~mel said...

Congratulations! You stuck with it and now you are a published author. HUGE PAT ON THE BACK for sticking with it!!

Silver Fox said...

Congratulations! Can't wait to read it.

John Mosley said...

@ G. Robison: In 1994, I got buzzed by a B-52 that was doing a practice low level nuclear attack on Tule Valley. It was about 400 feet above ground level … and I was behind a bush with a shovel at the time. (Yes, you are correct in your thinking.)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Gretchen!!! Your perseverance has been recognized with becoming a published author.
Kudos!

gut

maucotel said...

Congratulations! Sorry I didn't see this post earlier, but I am excited to read this book! I love the local details on your blog.

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