How I got a publishing deal - An interview with author, Christine McAteer
firstwriter.com – Monday January 20, 2014
Christine McAteer recently acquired a publisher using firstwriter.com's database of publishers. We asked her about her writing, and how she found success.
fw: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Christine. Tell us a little about the book you've successfully placed.
CM: The title is Daddy Sir. It is the story of my journey as a survivor of incest, physical and emotional abuse. There were multiple perpetrators and I describe my reactions to the abuse, the pain and terror, and living in a constant atmosphere of acute sensitivity. It is my story and I touch on Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition that I have as a result of the abuse.
fw: What made you want to write this book?
CM: The need to reach out to other abuse survivors. I want to offer hope.
fw: How did you go about writing it?
CM: I made a detailed outline of what I wanted each chapter to say. I revised and added to it as I went along. It took me several years to write it. I self published most of my book and the success I achieved prompted me to revise it and offer it to a publisher.
fw: Was it the first time you'd tried any writing?
CM: This is really not my first attempt at writing since my book went through a number of incarnations. I have self published two other books as well.
fw: Did that process help you?
CM: I think it helps because you refine your writing. My topic is such a one that many publishing houses wouldn't look at it. The experience gave me valuable direction when I approached a publisher who wasn't afraid to publish a difficult topic. He's not only publishing it but has asked me to write another book.
fw: Did you go through a literary agent?
CM: No, I approached the publisher directly and I secured the deal directly.
fw: Did you try any other methods of finsing a publisher before you tried firstwriter.com?
CM: Yes I did. I queried agents and publishers and collected rejection slips.
fw: So how was firstwriter.com different?
CM: firstwriter.com helped me to narrow the field. I chose the nonfiction option and from there I narrowed the market to publishers who accepted autobiography. I then selected publishers to approach.
fw: What did you do after you'd identified suitable publishers?
CM: I researched them online and bought some books to see what kind of work they handled.
fw: Did you then send out specific query letters to each?
CM: I fashioned one query letter that was specific to the content of my book and just changed the name, address and date of the letter. I always made sure to address the salutation to the appropriate name. I sent out a proposal and sample chapters to the publishers whom showed interest. I sent my manuscript to the publishers who requested it.
fw: How long did it take to find success?
CM: I spent about 6 to 8 months trying to place the work in its present incarnation. I was tremendously lucky to have firstwriter.com to point me in the right direction. I probably approached about 25 different publishers.
fw: Did the rejections ever get you down?
CM: The rejections were mostly form letters which were polite. It was early days but I was disappointed when publishers who led me to believe they would handle the work didn't. I handled the rejection by pressing forward to the next name on my list.
fw: Which was the published that signed you in the end?
CM: Eleusinian Press in the UK. I have wonderfully approachable relationship with the editor.
fw: What do you think was the main reason they offered you a deal?
CM: We are an incredible match and it was my query letter which brought his initial response. I can't stress enough how important it is to polish and polish your letter. A well crafted query letter opens doors.
fw: Your book is obviously on a subject that's very personal to you. Has it been difficult to let someone else become involved in the telling of that story?
CM: It is not difficult to let my publisher work on Daddy Sir because our vision for the book is the same. I am enjoying the publishing process. The entire publishing schedule has taken about a year.
fw: What advice would you give to other writers trying to get published?
CM: An agent is the accepted avenue of approaching a publisher and that's a good thing. But do not be afraid to approach publishers directly unless the guidelines say you must have an agent.
fw: And what are your plans when the book is finished?
CM: We are in the final stages of publishing and my publication date is around April, 2014. I am currently working on the second book on the topic, learning how to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also written from my own experience.
fw: The best of luck with it, Christine, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us!
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About the Author
Christine McAteer was born in Greenville Texas eventually moving to FT.Worth, Texas, where a large portion of her book, Daddy Sir, takes place. As a young girl she was sexually abused by her father, grandfather and oldest brother on an ongoing basis until she was 17 years old.
She now resides in Hawthorne, NJ, and is happily married. She has successfully completed several years of therapy and is now leading a full and joyous life. She has previously self published two books, Out of Egypt and an earlier version of Daddy Sir.
Her book will be available in early April through https://plus.google.com.
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