Wednesday, February 06, 2013

An Announcement

Sometimes, life works in ways you don't expect.

Let me tell you a story.

Early in January, I was surfing the 'Net and looking for potential freelance jobs. I visited the website of The History Press, a book publisher specializing in local and regional history. I'd had my eye on them for some time and was impressed with their dedication to publishing history books that university presses and big publishers missed.

On a whim, I sent them my resume and asked if they had any freelance opportunities available. I mentioned that I had focused on local history with my master's thesis on the German POW camp at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, during World War II.

Within ten minutes, I had a return email. I started reading, and my heart stopped.

It was from an acquiring editor.

"Would you be interested," she said, "in sending a book proposal on the German POW camp at Fort Robinson?"

Here is where life is interesting in more ways than one. I have long thought I needed to write the book on this camp. I did most of the research for my thesis and just needed to compile it for a book. But I kept putting it off. Now, however, I was being asked to write a book proposal on it for possible publication.

I didn't hesitate when I said I'd love to submit a proposal, and I worked on it that weekend, submitting it on a Sunday night.

The editor loved it. She told me she would submit it to the editorial board during their weekly meeting.

So I waited.

Then the phone call came.

"Well, it's not a yes, but it's not a no, either," she said. "They want to know if you can incorporate all of the major camps of Nebraska so that we can market to the entire state. Would that be possible?"

Instead of just a marketing to a small corner of northwest Nebraska, my book could reach far more people across the state. This meant more work on my end, but I didn't care. This was a golden opportunity. "I can definitely do that," I said.

She said she would call me back with their decision. Thirty minutes later, the phone rang.

"They accepted it!" she said. "Congratulations!"

That, my friends, was a good day.

I am now happy to announce that I have a book deal for a non-fiction book on the history of the Nebraska POW Camps during World War II. It will be published in mid 2014.

Finally, that master's degree in history is paying off.

I do believe that maybe I'll crack a smile the next time I pay my monthly student loan... =D

37 comments:

  1. OMG, how awesome is that!? Congratulations! :)

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    1. Thank you!!! I'm very excited!

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  2. Congratulations, Melissa! How wonderful that you grabbed the moment, took a chance and voila, the door opened! I'm SO excited for you. I didn't know about this part of history until I read your postings on it. It'll make a fabulous book -- I'm looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Christine! I'm looking forward to all the research and the writing...a true mark of a history nerd. ;)

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  3. WOW WOW WOW!!! Fantastic news Melissa! Can't wait to hear how this goes. :)))

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    1. Thanks so much, Anna!!! It's pretty darn cool. I feel like I'm finally using my master's degree!

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  4. Congratulations! That sounds fascinating--I can't wait to read it.

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  5. This is brilliant! Well done!! :)

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  6. Look what happens when you take a leap. That's super exciting. Congrats!!

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  7. Wooo!! That is so exciting and awesome! I know you will do a great job at it. This is very cool news!!

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  8. WOW!! That is amazing!! Time to focus all the irons in just one fire! :)

    Congrats on such a huge accomplishment. Seems like book deals are the rage right now among people I know. Good things coming to some of the best people!

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    1. Thank you! I am going to try and get my novel done first before I really plunge into the history book - we'll see how successful I am!

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  9. Congratulations! That's awesome news!!

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  10. That's just wonderful! Congratulations!

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  11. That is so exciting. And sounds like such an interesting read! On our recent trip to Montana, I had the opportunity to look at a coffee table book featuring one-room school houses in Montana. My cousins school house which I included in a recent blog was part of it. It is a great and interesting book. I thought of you, knowing you like to write about history, even though it wasn't WWII history. The history of 1-room school houses in Nebraska. . . Enjoy your new project. . .

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    1. Thanks, Sandi! I'm looking forward to digging into the research. That is always the funnest part. :)

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  12. Oh Melissa! I'm so excited for you!! You did it!! I always knew you could, and would get a book published-but now that it's become a reality, I am beyond ecstatic! I can't wait to be the proud owner of a copy when it comes out!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Valerie!!!

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  13. WOOT WOOT!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What an amazing opportunity for you! It will turn out fabulous. I can not wait to read it! Sometimes life throws us some great curve balls and I am certain you will hit this one out of the park! Congrats Melissa, you deserve it!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jess! It's pretty darn cool!

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  14. Totally awesome news, Melissa! I'm so happy for you!

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  15. Oh wow! What brilliant news and so well-deserved. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you very much, Debs!

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  16. Oh my goodness!!! Oh oh oh oh!!! What an AMAZING announcement!

    Doing happy dance for you!

    And it's amazing how fast it went. Unheard of in publishing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Margo! It was pretty darn fast - I think I'm still in a daze over it!

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  17. Brilliant news! Well done Melissa xx

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  18. Oh, Melissa, I'm so happy for you. Isn't life strange? All that delicious fiction of yours waiting to be released, and yet it's your non-fiction that will be your entree into this difficult old business. (Secretly, I have always wanted to do non-fiction, but have neither the credentials nor the confidence.) You are such a clever girl!

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    1. Thank you so much, Fran! Yes, I do think that having the non-fiction published will help with the novel. That is my hope anyway!

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  19. That is so AWESOME! Your knowledge and study of history is so amazing to me. And one of the things I love most? You embody this charm and pace of things from days gone past. I see the things you write and the pictures you share and feel the passion you feel for it all and I am enchanted. You are exactly the right person for this job. Congratulations!!!

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