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Details of My Trip to My Publishing House

Have you ever wondered what really goes on inside a publishing house? Who works there and what do they do all day?

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis and visit my publishing house, Bethany House Publishers. I went with my agent and two other debut authors to tour BHP's facility, meet the staff, and get a first-hand glimpse of the inner workings of publishing.

Let me just start by saying--WOW!! It was a dream come true! I won't ever be able to do justice to the experience in this blog--it was more exciting and nerve-wracking than I'll ever be able to express. But it is my hope to share just a bit of what I experienced and learned.

Of course in the days leading up to the trip, I fretted over the usual things like: What should I wear? How much deodorant should I pack? And did I need to make a mad dash to my stylist for a color and cut? (Yes, I really did stand under the kitchen light and ask my daughters if they could spot any grays.)

A week before the trip, I nearly had a heart-attack when my acquisitions editor emailed me to ask if I really meant to fly in at 11:30 pm. Only then did I realize when I'd purchased my ticket, I'd clicked on an identical night time flight, instead of the morning one I'd intended! Several phone calls and a few bucks later, I was back on track for my mid-day arrival.

When I landed in Minneapolis, my line-editor and the head of marketing picked me up and took me out to lunch. I can honestly say that was one of the highlights of my trip--having the opportunity to get to know those two ladies on a personal level.

After lunch, they helped me get checked into my motel, and then we headed over to the Bethany House office building. The sign in the picture above welcomed me as I entered. I couldn't have asked for a better greeting!

My first meeting of the day was with the ENTIRE marketing department. Picture me, trembling and sweating and seated at a long conference table with at least eight other people. And of course we were all there to talk about ME and my book. I can't even begin to relate how much I learned from the meeting, but I will try in future posts.

I had several more meetings over the course of the two days. I was able to chat with my editors about The Preacher's Bride and my most recent rewrite, along with the progress I'm making on my next contracted novel. They provided some valuable insights on a couple potential trouble areas.

I also met with the director of the creative department. He explained the process of developing book covers, introduced me to the talented woman working on my cover, and gave me a sneak peek at the ideas they've developed so far.

I did a podcast interview, spoke at a potluck in front of 40-50 staff members, chatted with many of them, hung out with my agent and the other authors, and so much more! But enough for today!

So what do you think of commercial flights these days? Pack of 10 peanuts or a bag of 3 mini pretzels? And tomato juice? Com'on! Who drinks tomato juice on a flight? And has anyone else ever had to sprint through O'Hare with ten minutes to catch a connecting flight? Can you explain to me why they don't have more moving sidewalks?

Oh, one more thing. Does anyone sit in an airport without talking on a cell phone anymore? I thought it was absolutely hilarious that the only people not talking on cell phones were the ones who were texting. *wink*

On a more serious note, I'd like to thank everyone at Bethany House for making my trip such an incredible experience. (Thanks guys! Now that I know you peek at my blog from time to time!)

61 comments:

  1. Oh Jody! That was an awesomely cool experience to read about. LET ALONE TO ACTUALLY LIVE IT! Just reading about your trip had me totally absorbed and made me excited thinking about my ONE DAY... How super. Thank you so much for sharing. (^_^)

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  2. How exciting for you! Sprinted for a connecting flight in Detroit. Was directed upstairs to a tram.

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  3. Wow!Wow!Wow! What an experience! I guess when I first heard you were going, I thought you and the 2 other debut authors would be together the whole time. I cannot imagine having to meet all the departments by myself. How nerve-wracking! Did you know you would be doing this solo? Where was Rachelle all this time? And what in the world did you have to say in your speech? Aack! :)

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  4. I'm so giddy for you. What fun, especially the creative department portion.

    What, no elves setting type? ; )

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  5. Oh I was so hoping you'd blog about this! I love the inside scoop! :)

    I, too, have wondered about tomato juice on the flights...odd. And I have to say that the very few times I've flown, I'm on the phone in the airport too. BUT - let the record show I'm on a real phone you can see...not a blue tooth that makes it seem as though I'm talking to thin air. First time I ever saw one in use was in an airport and I thought the lady's cheese had slipped off her cracker.

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  6. That sounds so exciting, Jody! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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  7. How exciting for you! I can't wait to hear more. And thank you for sharing your nerves. I have been more nervous than I expected now that I've signed with an agent and publication is becoming more and more real.

    By the way, I almost always order Bloody Mary mix on a flight (spicy tomato juice -- yum!)

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  8. Jody, thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds amazing!
    And yes, I've run thru O'hare a few times. It's a big place. They could host a marathon in there.

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  9. What a truly remarkable experience! My hands were sweating with nervous anticipation just reading about it. Oh, and I have to say that my husband is one of the weird ones who orders tomato juice on flights. LOL!

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  10. oh this was fun - vicariously travling the adventure with you!

    so how cold was it? did you like the cover ideas?

    sooo intriguing.. all of it.

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  11. SO COOL! SO COOL! SO COOL!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing this with us!!!

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  12. Jody, how exciting! A dream come true, really.

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  13. I bet you're still at least three feet off the ground and I don't mean in an airplane! LOL!

    Wow an awesome wonderful adventure to be living your dream!

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  14. WOW! Sounds like an amazing event. Can't wait to hear more about it.

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  15. How exciting! I am enjoying living vicariously through you ... for now ;)

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  16. How fun!!!! SO very excited for you! Sounds like you learned a ton!

    I went a few years where I traveled quite a bit with my job, so airports I got to know well, and I've had to run through several of them! Fun stuff!

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  17. How fun, Jody! But wait, you had to speak? In front of 40-50 people you didn't know well? I could throw up just imagining that.

    I'm glad you had an amazing trip, and I'm even more glad you're sharing it with us.

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  18. This has been quite a trip to crawl around inside your head and watch your journey to publication. Thanks for taking us along with you.

    I'm preparing to fly for the first time in years in April to head to Calvin College for the Festival of Faith and Writing. Three mini pretzels...oh no. I'll go on a full stomach.
    ~ Wendy

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  19. EXCITING! Oh Jody, I got goosebumps just thinking about what an experience that was!

    Speaking to 40-50 people- I can't imagine how much deodorant I would need!

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  20. EEEEK!!!! I'm so completely jealous, but in a 110% smiling-and-so-happy-for-you type of way! Jody, your trip sounds absolutely amazing! And I can' wait to hear more about it.

    About the flights. Airplane travel does make me a litle nervous. Before I left for Denver last Sept (like two hours before), I realized the name on my ticket (Katie) didn't match the name on my liscense (Kathleen). Total freak out moment. Lots of phone calls. Thankfully no extra money.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Jody! I hope I can follow close behind sometime soon!!!

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  21. Jody,
    Thanks for taking us along with you on your visit to Bethany House. I can only imagine what that felt like. You so deserve all the good things that are happening for you. I can't wait to purchase your book.
    Karen

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  22. I wouldn't know. I'm afraid of planes. I guess if I ever become a world-famous author (ha!) I'll need to overcome that fear.

    And congrats on your fun trip! You learned some cool stuff. I can't wait to see your book cover.

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  23. You got peanuts and mini pretzels??!!! I had to buy my own pretzels in the airport. I did get a lovely complementary beverage, though. I chose apple juice. Can't stand tomato. LOL

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  24. Uh, the tomato juice thing? I drink it on airplanes. It's the only place I do. Strange, I know. Congratulations Jody, on your visit. I am everything you write about all you are learning.

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  25. Karen, no not BOTH. We got to choose one! I had a tiny little bag of peanuts and boy was it flling! ;-) (All ten peanuts!)

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  26. What a thrill!

    I've done the O'Hare Hustle before. Exciting.

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  27. Sherrinda,

    Rachelle was right there at all of our meetings. She sat in on as many of mine as she could, and she also sat in with Karen Witemyer too. So, she was incredibly supportive! And she also had separate meetings of her own. She worked VERY hard!

    And all three of the authors had to get up after the potluck and share a little bit about ourselves and our writing journey. So, it wasn't a long talk, but it was intimidating! :-)

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  28. How exciting, Jody - what an incredible opportunity and an amazing experience. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :-)

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  29. Wow! Sounds like a terrific time. It's nice of you share these experiences with everyone. The best way to learn about these things (other than experiencing the first hand) to read someones account of their experience!!

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  30. Sounds like an amazing trip!!

    And hey, I simply adore tomato juice. It's the highlight of my time on airplanes. I love that stuff. Why don't I buy it? Hmm...

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  31. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  32. How exciting. Speaking in front of 40-50 people, were you nervous? I'd be petrified.

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  33. Jody; I am so happy for you, you would not believe! Your name on the marquee, too. Wow!

    This will be me some day at my future publisher's headquarters, only I will remember not to book a flight for 11:30 p.m.!

    I hate commercial flying nowadays. I used to love it. I refuse to pay for a meal they used to give us free, and I detest taking my shoes off, or my suitcases rifled. Don't get me started...

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  34. This is so wonderful and thrilling! Ok, I have to confess - I'm not close to where you are in matters of publishing - but I will have my first published eassy in a book this spring. I am so excited, I considered traveling to the publishing house and standing on the front steps, just to take a picture! Your journey is so fun to walk with you!

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  35. How fantastic!!! It sounds like it was one amazing experience! I would have been terrified to speak in front of everyone, let alone having the whole subject be about me! I am hoping to really work on public speaking so that when my time comes I am not so nervous!!!

    Flying... my oh my... it can't be easy anymore can it!!!

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  36. What a neat experience! Thanks for sharing, and look forward to hearing more! I haven't run through O'Hare, but I have run through the Indianapolis airport with my husband. They were literally paging us saying that the flight was about to leave, and we had to cut through the security line to get there in time. Thankfully the other passengers were understanding! :-)

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  37. Jody,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. An exciting step on your journey toward publication, the first of many I'm sure. I hope it never gets old for you :)

    Susan

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  38. Oooooo, I loved that insider look at a publishing house -- thanks for the "tour!"

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  39. Um, was there vodka to go in the tomato juice? Sorry, that is about the most intelligent comment I can come up with at the moment. Pretty drained over here. Glad you had a great trip. I am sure it will be the start of many more to come.

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  40. This was so fun to read! Tell us more!!

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  41. I'm shivering with excitement! What an amazing opportunity! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

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  42. Sounds like a great trip! One of my alltime worst places to be is an airport. I usually find a bookstore in my terminal and browse it. But fewer bookstores, and now with all the security measures, not so easy to do if you've already cleared security.

    Always have a book. But if you're not a reader, what else is there to do but talk or text? Hateful places.

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  43. Totally cool. What a great experience. When I'm at the airport, I read.

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  44. Jody, that sounds like an amazing experience--thanks for sharing it with us! Is this something Bethany House does with all their new authors?

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  45. Wow, what an exciting time and I love the sign:) I haven't flown in almost ten years and I must say I don't miss the airports one bit!

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  46. Jody! Wow is right! I'm so happy for you, and that welcome sign, you must have just had an instant shiver up your spine! It sounds incredible and I am so happy for you. Even though I met some of the people who produced my book at Boyds Mills Press, I never had the privilege of touring the facility. And I only worked by phone with Sleeping Bear Press. But my friend Lisa Moser had an experience similar to yours with her children's books and I am truly envious of this real-life meeting with the people producing your books! I aspire to experience that as well someday. It just has to make it all so much more REAL, and just as it made them real to you, you are now more real to them as well. Which will only improve the process from here on out, I'm convinced. Weeee!!!!!!!!!!! So happy for you!

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  47. Sounds like an amazing trip! Thanks for the behind the scenes tour. :)

    I actually do drink tomato juice on planes. I don't know why, but as soon as I get on a plane I crave it. I just had one last night on the flight back from NYC.

    And don't get me started on USAir. 4 hour fight delay and lost luggage. Ugh.

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  48. What a great experience, Jody!

    Yeah...I don't understand the tomato juice thing either.

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  49. Jody, thanks for answering my question! I am so glad Rachelle was with you! I don't think I could have done it without someone holding my hand..so to speak!

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  50. I'd say you've had the experience of a lifetime, but I hope this is just the first of many.

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  51. Super exciting! I think I would hate to be the center of attention that much. sounds like you handled it great. :O)

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  52. Hi Jody -

    What an exciting adventure! I can't wait to hear the details in future posts.

    I haven't flown since 2004. Years ago, my mother and I ran for a flight through O'Hare. It makes my heart pound just thinking about it.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  53. Oh my gosh! LOL I'm so happy you posted about it. What an amazing, exiting adventure for you!!!
    Wow.
    About airplanes, I didn't know they had tomato juice on them. Yuck. LOL

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  54. That's so neat! Had to be awesome!

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  55. You had to speak in front of 40-50 people?? I would have died then. This was so exciting to read! I am thrilled for you:)))

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  56. That sounds so awesome Jody. (and scary) I can't wait to hear more about it. And I totally agree about the airport thing. Everyone was talking on a cellphone. And I had to run for a connection this weekend too--only it was in Denver instead of Chicago. :)

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  57. Wow...*envious sigh* You are having the time of your life. Who said writing wasn't a little bit glamorous, huh?

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  58. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing the details; I'm looking forward to hearing more about it. Just meeting all the people who are a part of your book's journey must be making the process so much more personal for you (even if some of the aspects were a bit nerve wracking). I think it's wonderful that the publishing staff got a chance to know you a bit, too.

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  59. What an amazing experience. Looking forward to hearing more about this once in a lifetime adventure.

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  60. Oh Jody, what an exciting, whirlwind trip! I could feel your stinging armpits, and felt faint right along with you. A dream-come-true is nerve-wracking, isn't it? I'll bet you took no small comfort in Rachelle's presence.

    Thank you for letting us take a peek inside the fascinating life of a rich and famous celebrity author. *wink* I can't wait to hear more.

    P.S. I ALWAYS fly with chocolate (and almonds) in my purse. Who needs 10 peanuts, anyway?

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