10 Things I Didn't Know Until I Published My First Book: Guest Post By Greg Bancroft

Posted on: Apr 10, 2013

Publishing can be a confusing process, and many first-time writers have no idea what to expect. Or they might expect certain things, but it turns out to be completely different. Today, first-time author, and writer of the newly released Betsy's Day at the Game, Greg Bancroft shares some of what he's learned since beginning his publishing journey.

  • Working with a publishing company, going into the office, dealing with editors and staff is not as mysterious as I thought. Real people work at real desks in an office focused on selecting and publishing children's literature. However, in a way, when I first visited the office, I felt like I was entering some kind of "special place" - off-limits to only a handful of "special people." I wasn't sure I should enter. In reality, it's a pretty normal office (albeit, a very cool space) where people work very hard at their jobs. Not scary, not mysterious.
  • From submitting a draft to seeing the book on a store's shelf took longer than I had imagined. Add in the time I took researching, writing, field-testing and re-writing, it was a good two years or more.
  • Seeing someone as talented as Katherine Blackmore (and as well-known!) draw such beautiful illustrations and capture the story and relationships so well, was surprising to me. What a talent. What a gift to me and to this book.
  • Seeing people's reaction for the first time, upon reading the book, and responding so favorably is what I'd hoped for but didn't really understand fully. The book has had quite an impact on people: remembering times with family at a game, reflecting on relationships with parents, grandparents, and kids. More than just appreciating a sweet story, it evokes a visceral and emotional response from others.
  • I didn't realize that people would clap. At different readings, with kids or with adults, people have clapped. They like the story and have shown appreciation by clapping!
  • People have very different roles in the publishing company. I have some kind of mental block that prevents me from knowing exactly who is supposed to be responsible for what aspect of the publicity or event or other part of the marketing process. Thankfully, everyone is still patient with me!
  • I didn't know that U.S. workers could and did still print, assemble, and ship books like mine. I'm very excited by that.
  • When an editor makes a change in my writing, I have to trust that it's the right move. Actually, I was surprised by how easily I could accept the edits. It was not off-putting or offensive to me at all.
  • I had no idea that baseball nuts inhabit publishing offices. We're everywhere! I didn't expect that.
  • I was nervous about signing my first book (I even had to ask how to do it - what pen to use, that sort of thing). For some reason, I thought it would be difficult - people waiting in line, people able to read my writing, spelling their names correctly, other dumb thoughts). But it was so much fun! I dedicated books to little girls and boys who love baseball, and whose grandparents were thrilled to give them such a sweet book. So I got to wondering, could we bring a whole new generation of fans to America's favorite past time...?

We think that's exactly what you're doing, Greg. This is the first stop on the Betsy's Day at the Game blog tour. And also make sure to check out Greg's feature on the Girl Scout Studio for the month of April!

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