Claudia Sternbach's road to publication: Chapter 3

My phone rang on a rainy afternoon. Between bites of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough I answered it. My old friend was on the line. My manuscript had been residing at her house for about a week. I had been trying not to think about it. Hence, the cookie making. I was trying to reduce anxiety, hence the devouring of raw dough.

She loved it. I felt like Sally Field.

Send it out, she directed. And even mentioned a publisher she thought might enjoy seeing it. I followed her advice. Bowl in hand I sat down at my desk and sent an email to Unbridled Books asking if they might like to read a bit of my memoir. It was, I told them, a collection of essays about kisses. I then retreated back to my kitchen to actually bake some of the chunky, gooey concoction.

Later, while enjoying some warm from the oven cookies with a glass of white wine I heard that "you've got mail" sound emanating from my computer. There was a reply from Unbridled Books. Send it on, said they. One click later, it was done.

I anticipated waiting for weeks, months even, for a reply. But sooner than I had a right to expect a phone call came. A publisher from Unbridled, Fred Ramey, was on the line. I took the phone with me out to my back porch, which is really just a wide cement slab and sat in the sun listening to his voice while trying to make sense of his words. I could smell the redwoods. I could hear birds twittering. I was fully aware of the bald patches in the grass which were the last reminders of our dearly departed dog, Moka.

But I could not seem to focus on Fred. It was sometime around "we may go with a paper back rather than a hard back", that I shook my head trying to clear the chaos.

"Are you saying you are publishing my book? I asked.

"Unless you don't want us to," was the reply.

And there we were. Contracts needed to be worked out. My agent in London needed to be brought back in to the negotiations since she actually had been involved at the very beginning of my writing the book and I did feel I owed her for all of the lunches as well as the pregnancy faux-pa.

In 18 months, in the spring of 2011, my book would be published. It seemed a very long time away. But each day brought me closer. Were there sleepless nights? You bet. Did I worry about what my friends and my family might think of the things I had written? The stories about us I had chosen to spill? You betcha. I still am.

Has the process been smooth? Not always.

But, more about that next time.


Colleen said…
I've been enjoying reading about your journey. Especially love to hear first sale stories!

Keep 'em coming!
As a yet-to-be published author, I salivate on your every word. ;) Seriously, I love the sensory detail in your posts, and stories like yours make me think that maybe it actually can happen.

Good for you, Claudia!

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