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To order from Amazon, click here. or from Cedar Fort, click here. or from B&N, click here.

To read the first 15 pages, click here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Titles? Titles? Who's got the title?

Titles aren't normally my strong suit as a writer. Back when I first started doing freelance work, I would wrack my brain and agonize over inventing the perfect title. This turmoil was usually wasted because the editor often erased mine and put their own in anyway.

It's why I often slap a ramshackle place holder above my stories these days.

Of all the titles, I've created very few have ever been kept, so it was quite a surprise that my publisher kept the title of my book Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries. My original working title was The Young Elders, but that was very early in the process when I envisioned a more academic work rather than a human interest story.

When I came up with Who's a the Door?, I tested it with several people, and much to my surprise, they all had a physical reaction to it. Instead of a mere "Oh, that's nice," people smiled or chuckled. Right then, I knew it was a winner. I wasn't sure the publisher would agree, but they obviously did.

To emphasize the humor in the book, some co-workers of mine suggested alternate titles such as Who the HELL is at the Door? To this I added, Oh no, they're at the Door! or Hide! They're at the Door!

No matter how you slice it, I knew the missionaries were associated with an unexpected knock. Even those of us who let them into our lives know that the  process usually begins at the door, where we make the split-decision to open it or slam it shut.

It's the same decision readers will make when they see the book. 

Do we put it back on the shelf, or do we buy it?  Let's hope enough people choose the latter.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


Author David J West recently advised me to "push" my book in the first month of its release.  I'm definitely in the middle of doing that now.

Push! Push! Push!

I feel like a crazed father running around the hospital during his wife's pregnancy.  In the last month, I've become a November sponsor for the LDS Publishing blog, arranged a book launch party at Barnes and Noble, scored a door prize for the event from a local florist who is donating a decorated balsam wreath, printed invitations, and told everyone I know about the party.

The problem with pushing is that I sometimes feel like I can work all day on promotion without  resulting in a sale. Keep your fingers crossed that some of this "push" pays off.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to lick the envelops for my party invitations.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Book Came Today!!!

After nearly a year of waiting, I finally got to see the book in its final format today.

I can't believe it. I'm officially an author.

Not only that, but I can't believe what my book is about. When I was a kid, I was sure my first book would be an epic fantasy in the tradition of my favorite author David Eddings. I wanted to write about wizards, gods, warriors and the mortals mixed up in between.

Instead, my first book is a fairly personal account of my own life.

That's so far from what I expected. Telling a true story comes with its own special challenges that not every author can appreciate. I hope everyone mentioned in the book, especially the missionaries who became my friends, are happy with their depictions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I haven't even seen my book yet, but it's being offered as a prize this month at the LDS Publisher blog. 

You can see it here:
That's some great exposure.  I visited the site quite often while doing research about where to send the manuscript. When I explained the premise of the book to the site creator, she agreed to make it part of her monthly giveaway, even though the book doesn't strictly follow all her giveaway rules.

The book is set to be in stores next week, and I haven't seen the finished product yet.  I'm a little nervous because the book deals with real people, and I hope they are all happy with their depictions.

Right now, this is how I feel about my book.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's almost book time/How it happened

Ever since I signed my publishing contract last February, I've been waiting for this month.  Now it's here!

My book is being released with Cedar Fort in about a week, and I can hardly believe it.
The story centers on my true experience of letting Latter-Day Saint elders into my home and getting to know these guys as people.  It's a personal account of our friendship as I explore the LDS faith. 

This concept has garnered a variety of reactions over the months.  Some people are cautiously optimistic, others are happy to see me succeed, while others express great concern over these "bothersome" Mormons.

In any case, people are having strong reactions to the story--from the synopsis alone.  Maybe that's why I found a publisher so fast.

Let's be clear.  Part of me is still reeling from how quickly I found a publisher.  I finished the book last December, edited it for a month, and then decided that I could start sending it out.  The standard wisdom is that it takes forever and a day to get a publishing contract; I assumed that's how it would be with me too.  While I thought the manuscript was decent, my goal was to improve it over the months as the rejections poured in. 

Only they didn't.

I chose four LDS publishing houses where I could submit my manuscript.  They were my top four choices, and I figured they would reject me first.  During the interim months, I'd sculpt the manuscript more, remove any jagged edges and submit the story to a second batch of publishers I had chosen.

Everything was progressing nicely when I got my first rejection in an e-mail.  Then another one, from a literary agent I had contacted.  These two things happened pretty quickly.

Then, one night, when I got home from my day job, the unthinkable happened.  My answering machine had a message on it from Cedar Fort asking me to call the acquisitions editor back.  I was stunned.

Five weeks after sending my manuscript out, it found a home with one of the biggest LDS publishing houses on the map.  I've been on screech every since.

This month my dream will collide with reality.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  To read the first 15 pages of the manuscript, you can read the preview here: