It all begins with Leighann Calentine writing a book...
... because her opportunity created other opportunities. Leighann's book was to have a handful of sidebars written by some DOC members. Luckily for me I had just written a piece for her blog that she wanted to include in the book. She asked, I gleefully accepted, and months later her book was about to be published.
I never submitted my bio to her publisher and so one day they contacted me for a few lines about myself to include with my sidebar. That's when I met Lynne. I'm chatty and so if you get on the phone with me, I chat. I ask questions, tell stories, don't judge... it's sometimes lonely being a Stay-At-Home Dad. Lynne and I got on right away and she seemed to be enjoying our talk. As she got more comfortable, I got more comfortable, and then I asked how a person gets the opportunity to write a book. She told me about the numerous ways that it could happen and then expressed that she enjoyed what I had written for Leighann and said, "if you ever have an idea you should tell it to me".
Well you don't say that to a man who has wanted to write a book since he was five and not expect to get pitched a book on the spot.
I began speaking in the pause Lynne created at the end of her statement and I don't think I stopped until I fully expressed my idea for a book about being a Stay-At-Home Dad. When I finished speaking I was a bit embarrassed. She hadn't asked me to pitch a book, hell I'm not even sure she wasn't just being polite when she said, "If you ever have an idea...". I spent a long few seconds imagining that I may have just burnt this bridge but I felt good that I took my shot. That book idea had been in my head forever and it was ready to be let out.
My pitch must have been pretty good becasue that phone call ended with the promise that my idea would be presented at Lynne's next pitch meeting. I couldn't believe it, I found the notion that a publisher was going to sit in a meeting and pitch my concept almost otherworldly. Her promise marks the first time this year that I have been lucky enough to say and mean, "I never hoped or expected for this to happen to me". I was grateful and excited to hear back.
I tried not to wonder that next weekend if the Friday meeting really included my idea or if anyone liked it if it did. Monday morning I woke up thinking about that meeting, wondering, but I quick put it out of my mind and began my day. No one was calling, I'm just a guy that blogs about type I diabetes, sure I have stories and yes, I think I tell them well, but what are the odds? Pipedream at best.
But then later that day Lynne called, holy crap she really called! My pitch was a hit at the meeting. "How much time would I need to submit a sample table of contents" for review? I was shocked, surprised, excited, stunned, my head was spinning. I couldn't think of my name let alone how long I'd need to write a TOC. When Lynne hung up the phone I danced around my bedroom in a way that I am quite sure was neither attractive nor dignified.
I only recently had the courage to tell Lynne this next part. I sat down two days later and wrote my table of contents in ten minutes. I already knew the story that I wanted to tell, all I had to do was give each chapter a direction. The next day I went back to my list and added a three sentence description to each. I was describing to myself what I wanted each chapter to be about. I was drawing a map that I could follow when I wrote. I read and re-read that TOC a million times before I sent it off. This was it, this was my one opportunity. No one was ever going to make me this offer again. I believed that I was benefiting greatly from being at the right place at the right time. There was no way the universe was going to line up like this for me twice. I was going to take my best shot, grab on to this moment and not let go until I had no more to give to it.
I put that effort into my pitch, my TOC and if someone at Spry Publishing actually wanted to take a flyer on me, I was going to pour every ounce of who I was and what I had to offer into writing the best book that I could.
In the next installment Life Is Short: Where do I Sign you'll find out if they said yes to myTOC (spoilers, they do), I'll talk about my nerves and how I overcame my self doubt so I could began writing.