dreams bound and printed

Wednesday was a disappointing day on all fronts. Hump Day indeed. And since I don’t really feel like going into it, I’m going to step back in time to when things were simpler. Let me rephrase that. I’m going to step back a few years–to a time when I already know how things are going to turn out.

I was cleaning out e-mail folders a couple days ago when I discovered some fun ones from January 2005. I get asked all the time about my journey to publication. Here’s a little peek into how it all went down.

A little background first. After years of working on a “book,” I’d finally gathered the nerve to send a synopsis and three sample chapters here. They approved it and sent my synopsis (along with a million other people’s book ideas) to a list of Christian publishers. And I sat back and waited.

Then the ice storm hit. And we had no power. And two small kiddos. And my parents borrowed someone’s generator, so we went to hang out there. Meanwhile, I got e-mails from 2 different publishers. I was (cautiously) ecstatic.

From Publisher #1 (January 6, 2005):

Dear Marla:

After reading your proposal posted in The Writer’s Edge report, we would like to have a look at the synopsis or chapter outline, and two or three of your strongest chapters. If this work is still available, please send hardcopy to the following address: ___

IMPORTANT: Please write “Requested Material” on the outside of the package. This will flag me to separate it from the numerous unsolicited manuscripts that arrive daily.

Or, if you prefer, you may Email it to me @ ___

Although occasionally we ask to see manuscripts posted on a MS review service website, it’s rare that we actually acquire a project this way. Please understand that although your proposal has intrigued us, we may not be able to publish it. When this happens, we try to give a reason as to its rejection or to suggest another publisher who might be more appropriate.

Thank you for your patience.


Sunny * (name changed)
Manuscript Coordinator
Harvest House Publishers

From Publisher #2 (January 6, 2005):

After reading about your manuscript in The Writer’s Edge, Christian Publications would like to take a further look at your manuscript, From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife. Please see the attached guidelines on what we would like you to submit. You may send it via e-mail or regular mail.

Patty* (name changed)
The Editorial Department
Christian Publications, Inc.

Both publishers looked over the manuscript. We exchanged several e-mails. Then this one came from Publisher #2. Ouch.


Thank you for allowing us to consider From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife for publication. Unfortunately, the publishing committee has decided against publishing it at this time. While you have some good insights and good Scripture application, the committee felt the book was too “wordy” and focused on your own marital relationship too much.

We do trust, however, that God will continue to direct your path as you seek a publisher.


In the meantime, I had developed a fun little e-mail relationship with Sunny* at Harvest House.

Hello Marla,

I’ve made it through the first twenty pages of your sample chapters (laughing out loud), and I can tell that you have something very special here. I’ve already discussed it, briefly, with our Director of Acquisitions and Development and he is looking forward to reading it upon his return from Advance 2005 being held in Nashville, and NRB ’05 in Anaheim a week later.

If you can wait until the end of February for an answer, I’ll make sure that your book stays at the top of his ever-growing review stack. Also, can you send the rest of the manuscript? I’d like him to have everything that he needs in order to see all that this book has to offer.

You have a friend, Marla.



I did have a friend, and I owe that girl big-time. When it was all said and done, Sunny had agonized with me over my unsuccessful year of trying for a baby. She grieved with me when my grandpa died. She rejoiced with me when I got pregnant. She cried with me when I lost the baby.

Then one fine day Sunny called with news.

The happy ending tomorrow! (and a great reminder to me tonight on June 3, 2009 of God’s faithfulness in my past–and His promises for the future!)

12 thoughts on “dreams bound and printed

  1. Tanya

    A great start to a story we already know the end of. You know I always read the last page of a book first. Just like in “Alex and Emma” — if I like the end, I’m pretty sure I’ll like getting to it. 🙂

  2. Jennifer

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Though I know it has to be good since they keep publishing your books. 🙂 And “Blushing” is my favorite of all your books. Do you think they’ll reprint it if I write a letter telling them this? I’m almost certain that they would! 🙂

  3. Sarah

    That first person was way wrong about that book! I loved it!

    I cant wait to hear the ending of this story!! 🙂

    On some unrelated (zoo) news: Just in case you didnt know the Philadelphia zoo will be closing at 1pm on June 11. So make sure you dont plan to go there on that day!

  4. Marla Taviano

    Jess–no, it’s not being re-printed. Not yet anyway. That’s on the back burner. The happy ending is just that it got published. So anti-climactic, I know. Bummer. 🙁

  5. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    oh, i just love this! I love to go back and examine the way God has worked magnificently in my life. I know it must have been a healing balm to you yesterday.

    Wish I were in Ohio today, talking through all of this with you. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. jess

    oh. the reason i ask is b/c i came across my suggestions jusy yesterday. it must have been during year 4 of marriage (our worst!) cuz they were quite cynical! eek!

  7. jess

    hey! does it have to do with the new title suggestions you asked for ages ago?? is it being reprinted w/ a new cover/title???????? huh huh huh?? You’re killing me, Smalls.

  8. Sarah

    That is so neat that you kept those emails so you can go back a look at them periodically and see how God worked it all out! Hope you have a blessed Thursday Marla!

  9. Krista

    “Too wordy”–wow, that’s a pretty useless descriptor! While I’ve written enough to value conciseness, coming from someone in the business of many words (such as a publisher), that just sounds like an unoriginal cop-out. Glad to know there’s a happy ending coming!

  10. janelle taviano

    The twelve stones…at the alter…the previous people God had helped before….to show HE WILL HELP NOW and in the future… YOU are doing what was done Biblically….how cool is that ! Turn the light ON when it is dark ! amen ! When we praise GOD…our heaviness can not stay.

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