My First Book Idea – Unveiling Vancouver

An important part of any successful writer’s life is her past book ideas – whether or not they were published (or even written!). I’ve decided to share my book ideas, query letters and progress here, on The Adventurous Writer. Lotsa failures, my friends! And lotsa learning about writing and publishing.

I created Unveiling Vancouver while living in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997. This book was supposed to help newcomers adjust to living in the Lower Mainland, and included everything from doggie daycares (which were new back then) to where to reclaim your car after it’s been towed. 

A BC-based publisher offered me a contract (yay!); I instructed him to send it to Edmonton – I was moving there to go back to the University of Alberta, to get my Education degree. The publisher hesitated…but agreed.

Six weeks later, I received The Letter. “We regret to inform you that the nature of this book requires the writer to live in Vancouver for research and marketing purposes blah blah blah blah blah BLAH.”

How I burned the bridge to that publisher: Instead of being a wise young writer, I sent him a letter criticizing his decision, his editors, the city in which he lived, and his dog. I may also have mentioned the fact that he was going bald. It wasn’t until the nanosecond after I popped that baby in the mailbox that I realized the immaturity, short-sightedness, and stupidity of my action…and by then it was too late.

That’s one writing disaster I’ll never forget.

Anyway, back to Unveiling Vancouver: I self-published a couple dozen copies, forced my friends and family to buy copies, and sold several in bookstores around Vancouver. My single remaining copy (and that whole experience) is the root of my writing career today – even though it was never published!

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That book was the foundation of another new book idea: Living Green in Vancouver. Also not published.

If you’re interested in a writing career, remember that when your book proposal or article pitch is rejected (and they will be), don’t take it personally – and don’t lash out in frustration, anger, or bitterness! Rejection in the publishing world is a business decision. It stings, but it’s a fundamental aspect of an active writing career. The reasons book manuscripts are rejected may have little to do with you as a writer, and more to do with the publisher’s mandate, book list, and future plans.

Don’t let writing rejection deaden your creativity or spirit! Keep creating new ideas to develop and pitch (or even pitch in the garbage). The more ideas you have, the more likely you’ll hit the Big One.

Be an adventurous writer – and don’t fear failure.

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One thought on “My First Book Idea – Unveiling Vancouver

  • Lori

    That’s funny tale. Well, NOW it’s funny… 😉 I agree with you that rejection letters are a “business decision.” It’s our job as writers to find the best possible outlet/publisher/magazine for our work. If we get the dreaded rejection letter, we know that we haven’t quite found the right audience yet. I would rather put in a little extra work to place my piece in an outlet that it’s right for (and the reader’s gain something from it instead of disregarding because it’s not really their thing) because it usually means the writing process will be more gruelling (lots of editing to make it fit with the publication, usually turning into something completely different than what you pitched). I much prefer it when my story idea and the publication are a perfect match and the writing process is a matter of uncovering new gems and having “Ah ha!” moments! Well, that’s what I strive for, anyways 😉