But in my previous post I promised a rationale, and not only a rationale, but a rationale that justifies the lamest, most hurtful cliche of the English language: "It's not you, it's me." You'll have to let me know if I succeed. Here goes nothing.
I signed with Cook rather than with IVP for a number of reasons, most of them psychological, most of them in acknowledgment of my inner weaknesses.
1. I've had this particular idea for a book for a long time, but I've been too timid to actually put it out there for someone to scrutinize and (say it ain't so!) reject. I finally worked up the moxie to draft a formal proposal and was planning to submit it to IVP when I started to think, Omigosh, my friends are going to see this proposal. They're going to decide whether it lives or dies. And when I thought of that, I had two visceral reactions:
- (VR1) If they reject it, I will take their rejection very personally, and I will be filled with shame and embarrassment, and I will have a hard time making eye contact with my friends and coworkers, and a psychic barrier will be erected, and psychic distance will build between me and my friends and coworkers, and my effectiveness at my job will suffer, and my friendships will suffer, and I don't want that.
- (VR2) If they agree to publish it, I will wonder from start to finish whether they thought it was a good book worth contracting or whether they thought It's a good enough book to make our coworker and friend happy, seeing as how he really wants to write more and lately he's seemed so anxious and timid and trepidatious, and then I'll be distracted as I write and as I work, and I will have a hard time looking my friends and coworkers in the eye, and my writing and my working will suffer, and I don't want that.
Of course, I already noted in my previous post that I did in fact know some folks at Cook, so my experiment in stark objectivity is compromised a bit from the outset, but I'm comfortable with my margin of error--due in no small part to the fact that I got what I wanted, which was a book contract.
2. I get paid for full-time work as an editor, but upon the release of my first book, Comic Book Character, I found myself frequently tempted to devote some of my work time to monitoring the business, marketing and sales concerns of my book. I didn't cave to said temptations too much, but it was a temptation I didn't enjoy, so I wasn't looking forward to the prospects of fretting over the details again, just because I happened to have read-access to the data.
3. I actually have several positive reasons for going with Cook. One is my friend the publisher, whose brain I like. I like IVP's publisher's brain too, but I digress. Another is the delightful editor, who has in our few encounters shown herself to be quite savvy about the industry and the craft of editing. Of course, my friends and coworkers are savvy too, but again, I digress. Cook has been the publisher of record for some great writers, among them Leonard Sweet, Brennan Manning and Matthew Paul Turner--not to mention they recently published a book about my hero of heroes, Jack Bauer. That's got to count for something. Of course, IVP has its share of significant writings under its hat, but darn it all if I'm not digressing again. Another reason for going to Cook with my proposal is the momentum I see happening there: with a lot of new folks with a high capacity for creative thinking about the industry and craft of publishing, I anticipate seeing them do some really interesting work on my book. It's an exciting time to be publishing with them, I think. Not that IVP doesn't have momentum and isn't exciting, but . . . what is with all this digression?!?
All this to say, I'm excited to be working with Don, and Andrea, and Cook. They're cool people doing cool stuff. And I'm excited to have a reason to really crack open the ideas behind Me-Ville. And I still think, for those of you who I've suggested publish with my employer, that IVP is a great publisher to work with and for. You can tell both IVP and Cook that I said that.