Thursday, April 8, 2010

My publisher, + response to comments

Wow! Thank you! I guess I'll stop worrying about my posts being too long then!

My publisher isn't worried about me "giving too much away" fact, I have the best publisher! They are soo in tune with what I'm trying to do and soo passionate about birds! My editor, who is the head editor there, I'm pretty sure, is a passionate birder. And I mean passionate. And she's deeply empathic to all animals. She has Corgis that she teaches to herd sheep and do agility, and she goes on trips all over the world just to see a certain bird.

A perfect example to tell you about is when it was thought that the white billed (crested?) woodpecker had been seen in the woods in or near Arkansas (I'm not looking it I may have the details wrong). My editor is one of the busiest people I know, yet she cancelled everything and took off for these woods where it was 18 degrees most days and the other days it was just cold and muddy. She tromped around in those woods, looking for this woodpecker for 2 or 3 weeks. That was her priority!

She emails me articles about animal intelligence and wild animals, birds, dogs, interspecies cooperation and communication...she's highly educated about all of these issues. She even took the ornithology course at Cornell!

I could never have dreamed of having an editor (and your editor is your "boss" and main contact at the publisher - the one who acquired your book for the company, convinced the company to get behind your book, and shepherded the book through the entire process of getting it ready for publication) who is such an avid naturalist and animal lover.

So she and I are on the same page, so to speak, about the importance of getting the knowledge out there about animals and their consciousness and sentience and intelligence and individuality. What an amazing woman!

She cried when she read the chapter outlines in the book proposal!

When you write a nonfiction book, what you send to publishers is just two sample chapters and then an outline of the book with about a paragraph describing the content of the other chapters. Well, THAT made her cry! She's such an empathetic person.

And when she presented Wesley the Owl to the rest of the company to try to get them on board to agree to take it on, she baked mouse shaped cookies the night before and passed them out at the meeting along with little barn owl plushies!

When I was getting the book ready for print, I was a little hesitant about putting in too much of the science, and she's the one who encouraged me to explain things more, and I'm so glad I did!

She's also very protective of her authors - like mama bear or mama owl for that matter.

I've found that the people in publishing are soo much nicer than the people you encounter in the music business - i mean the people in the big companies like the executives in record companies vs. the executives in publishing. Most of the publishing executives are lovers of books and they tend to be honest and sincere. It's so refreshing after being in showbiz for my entire life until I was about 23.

Every author I know loves their editor and the people they work with at their publishing company and I'm no exception. I adore the people at Free Press and they are sooo supportive it's amazing!

So..there you have it! I thought I'd describe them to you because before i did this I had no idea what publishers were like and thought they were probably like big book factories or something like that. But no, they're passionate about what they do - at least they are at my publisher.

Dunno why I just felt like writing about that today.I've always wanted to express how grateful I am for these wonderful people in my life. You hear that New Yorkers are rude or less friendly but I've found the opposite to be true - they are real kindred spirits! ;-)



Charlotte said...

WOW, Stacey, you are SO fortunate in so many ways. I am truly amazed to hear the experience you've had with your publisher. I DID have the wrong idea about that part of the business and I'm happy for all of us that she is more than supportive of what you're doing here on the Wesley blog. The mouse cookies and Wesley plushie tidbit choked ME up!!

You mentioned Cornell.. Before Molly & co came along I had been in touch with Cornell's Ornithology dept. to help us get a barn owl nest box that I had placed at work (Florida School of Massage)hooked up in some way to the internet. I was coming out of my skin with excitement. They told me to be in touch when a pair moved in to our "high rise" and they could help connect us to a 20 second loop. WOW does Carlos' system take it all to another second by second level!! I am blown away with the affordable technology that's out there that allows scientists and ordinary people alike to join in the daily wonders of watching nature at this breath taking level..

thanks, Stacey!! Keep up the writing!!!

Margo said...

I'm not sure where I can ask you general questions, so I'm just posting to comments. I had a question about owls and sleeping: I have never seen Molly fully lay down like the owlets do...almost like cats! Does she really sleep when she's on one leg? Hard to think that's comfortable but if she's doing it I guess she is. I know it's hard to sleep with four babies too....but does she ever REALLY sleep? And lastly, can an egg hatch at night? I know the last one won't hatch but I was just curious in general.

Mom still has your book but I'm sure I'll have lots of questions after I read it! :)

suzie2 said...

I just finished reading your magnificent book last night. I cried through the last 2 chapters... a lot.
It was not a pity cry for anyone; it was crying because I have been "there" and I know many others who have...and you wrote and shared it so beautifully.
It is all inevitable, the endings, but never so easy to get through. Time does make it easier to bear...whatever it might be.
I identified with you on many levels throughout the book and I wouldn't have missed those last chapters for anything...very cathartic and heartfelt for me.

We are all so connected in ways we tend to forget...or put aside because we don't want to feel at that time.
I truly do believe owls are your guardian angels, but I think you know that.

Least I forget to add, the rest of the book was delightful, charming and educational, too :-)!! Thank you for sharing it all!

I actually read the acknowledgements in your
book :-)...that is not something I usually do unless I am extremely involved in the book/author.
It was all that good...bravo, Stacey and thank you for sharing it all.

I look forward to more from you!