Just a Girl
April 27, 2012
My Path to Publication
hosted by Heidi Ruby Miller
started as nothing more than wanting to record some of the experiences
that my father and I had in the fire service and which my son Michael
was starting to have. Writing of one incident often brought back
memories of others and the list of individual stories of calls grew.
After I had a hundred plus pages, it became clear that there was more
than a pile of vignettes—there was a book there trying to get out. The
writing was cathartic as well. It made me smile and laugh and took me
back to less pleasant experiences—some still painful to recall even with
the passage of time.
Eventually, a so-called first draft was complete and some friends
encouraged me to try to obtain an agent and the querying process began.
Lightning struck with surprising quickness and a young agent from a
large New York City firm agreed to work with me. I know now this was an
incredible stroke of luck as the manuscript wasn’t remotely ready. She
provided great feedback and suggestions as I worked my way through a
second draft. This revision much improved the book and she offered more
suggestions to help fine tune the work.
The manuscript was one final pass from the point at which she was
planning to send it to some editors she believed would be interested
when calamity, at least for me, struck hard. My agent accepted a
position as an editor at a big six house, which orphaned me. Yes, she
passed the manuscript to another agent at her firm, but he wasn’t
interested, and so two years after the start, the query roller coaster
began running again. This time I decided to widen my view and include
some of the fine small publishers in the business as well.
After a period of ups and downs with manuscript requests and rejections,
a yes came in the door from a wonderful publisher, Nicole Langan of Tribute Books (www.tribute-books.com).
Her assistance and guidance through the final edits was invaluable.
The cover and artwork she and her staff designed was beyond my wildest
expectations. At the release and continuing now, she has been a great
cheerleader; helping to push the book in conventional and unconventional
ways. With a huge social media presence, she has been a tremendous
teacher in how to use this medium.
Doing events and book signings has resulted in new friends and
opportunities to re-connect with old ones. As much fun as the whole
experience has been, I will never forget holding that first printed copy
in my hand.
Gary Ryman is the middle
of three generations of firefighters or the center of the Oreo. His
book Fire Men: Stories from Three Generations of a Firefighting Family
is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com in paperback as well
as in all eBook formats. Visit www.fire-men-book for more information.
Buy Fire Men online at these links: