I got a response from a publisher on my book, Beach Buggy Safari - my first positive response.
Previously, I got a lot of "no thanks," and, "we're not interested." It was the grounded before take off kind of responses and they came pretty quickly. Quickly enough to smarten me up anyhow.
I deserved those responses. In retrospect the book wasn't ready - or I wasn't ready. My writing wasn't good enough. It wasn't edited like it should have been. It hadn't been through the critique process like it should have been.
The Publisher's response was a long and thoughful letter, saying they liked the story but want me to change it before considering it for publication.
They want me to alter the story from, being about my frantic adventure to adventure - to a more historical and culturally immersed point of view to compliment the adventures I had.
There are chapters in the book that are more historically and culturally relevant. I think those chapters are some of the ones that I was most pleased with - enjoyed writing the most - and flowed most naturally.
Admittedly, with probing from a variety of readers, I got immersed in the good story conundrum - that there are three elements to a good story - conflict, conflict, and conflict. To that note, I played up each adventure and tried to make every significant incident an adrenaline rush.
I might have overdone the adventures at some point, at the expense of the fascinating people, history and scenery around me. I think this came to a head when I had different people reading the story every week. With some people yawning at the historical bits and pushing me to crank up the conflict to the max. Not to mention there were no people who read the story start to finish to give me overall objectivity.
I guess the trick now is to pare down some of the adventure, while playing up the people and history and tying them more strongly into the adventures that are left.
To do that, I'll need to read through the story, scratch this, add this, change this, flesh out this, leave this alone... You get the idea.
With two kids, full time work, sports that I'm just getting back into...
I'll need a couple writing vacations - A hard trick when your family is vying for your already tight attention.
There is one more publisher still mulling the book over. I'll wait and see what their POV is before taking too much action.
At the same time, reading books on Africa and familiarizing/refrshing my brain with all of the cultures and histories I may once again delve into will place me well for a rewrite.