Thursday, December 13, 2012

Of Book Proposals and Invitations

Over the past few weeks, I've been hoping, praying and working toward the goal of having at least one book contract underway in the new year.  Among the various motives -- e.g., knowing that I need external deadlines to keep myself motivated when working, and wanting to be invited to an authors' dinner or two at my next major conference -- let's focus for now on that of professional, vocational development: I want to produce a book to share my thoughts, yes, but also to demonstrate that I can hack it at a whole 'nother level above that of articles and essays.

To wit, I'd been working on a book proposal, on a topic that I'd rather not talk about here just yet.  One major publisher's guide for book proposals suggests the submission of two chapters of the prospective volume, one introductory, the other of more substance, from later in the book.  It was a wonderful surprise when I was able to hammer out a more-or-less-finished form of the introduction in something less than four hours; my usual writing rate is a good bit slower than that.  So now I need to think about which of the later chapters to try next -- once I clear out some current and overdue projects between now and the beginning of 2013.

The big news is that this cleaning-house stage isn't just for that book proposal, but because I may very well be revising my dissertation for publication very soon.  Last Friday, a senior colleague whom I met and evidently impressed at a conference last spring invited me to submit my dissertation for publication in the series he edits, Emory Studies in Early Christianity.  No contracts signed yet, but I have his and his co-editor's blessing to say that I have been so invited and that things "look promising"; over Christmas break, they'll be looking over the diss. as it stood when revised and bound in May of last year, and they'll let me know what revisions they expect early in the new year.  

So hooray!  It's encouraging when someone takes this strong an interest in my work.  In a variation on a habit we've seen modeled by friends, Karen and I keep a collection of glass beads on one of our bookshelves, beads that we label with reminders of recent gifts of God's grace for which to be thankful.  Suffice it to say that the Emory invitation warrants its own newly labelled bead.  Provided that the publication goes forward, I'm sure there'll be times next year when I am less than thankful for the work entailed -- but this is something that I want and need and am called to do.  More than that: it's an answer to prayer, albeit one that will require much more prayer down the road...!

No comments:

Post a Comment