hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: A Publishing House is Born

A journal detailing my efforts to launch my career as a novelist. The goals are to share info about succeeding in this field with other aspiring authors, to provide updates to the many supporters who have asked me for them, and ultimately to build the momentum necessary to assure success in this venture.

Friday, December 31, 2004

A Publishing House is Born

I learned a ton as the result of my experiences with “The Pendulum’s Path,” but I wasn’t financially successful. I can’t exactly recall how I talked my wife into supporting my efforts to write another book, but I did. Maybe she’s just an understanding soul. Regardless, I thought long and hard about the topic for my new book. The idea of writing a Tour de France story kept popping into my head, but I kept pushing it away because I wanted something that would attract a bigger built in audience. Eventually, though, a story came together in my mind that I just had to tell. I’d need to write it to clear the way for my blockbuster, whatever that might be.

I never would have attempted this story, though, if not for Marty Jemison. He’s one of only 21 Americans to ever finish the Tour, plus he has a pair of national cycling championships to his credit. Marty is a stud who knows pro cycling like few others, and I was lucky enough to convince him to take a look at my project. The energizing thing was, once he read my first draft he went from being mildly interested in the idea to being intensely devoted to making sure I wrote the most accurate manuscript I possibly could. Without his input there is no way I would have created a novel worthy of the sort of reactions from the pro cycling community that this one has received.

Simultaneously, I worked with Noveldoc to critique the manuscript and produce a story that made sense to laymen. I was beginning to believe that this novel could eventually attract a mainstream audience. My efforts at shopping it to agents and editors were met with the now familiar supportive rejection letters, though. “We love what you’ve done here, but don’t feel that we are the best equipped to represent it…”

After a slew of such dead ends I finally caught the interest of a mid-sized publisher. I was thrilled at the possibilities, and everything seemed to be moving forward smoothly, when in December of 2003 they informed me that they wouldn’t be publishing the manuscript until Spring 2005. I’d thought through my marketing plans in detail and I couldn’t bear to let the window of opportunity that was the 2004 Tour de France pass me by. At the time it looked likely that Lance Armstrong would retire that year. Once he did, the minimal interest that the American public had in pro bicycle racing was likely to disappear.

I gritted my teeth, took out a second mortgage on the house, then took my rights back. My wife and I formed our own publishing company (eventually named Three Story Press partly in tribute to the tall but narrow house we live in). She’s been so supportive of the whole venture that I have to wonder whether she’s recently been fitted for a pair of rose colored glasses. She used to be so realistic. What a wonderful change!

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