Just Me Trying to Get Published

I just sent an e-mail to the director of the University of Washington Press. I’m more nervous about it than I thought I would be, so I decided to blog about it, because all of you in Drawbridge Nation have always been a source of support and encouragement for me.

Whatever happens, I firmly believe that you can’t have great experiences without taking great risks. So wish me luck.

This is the body of the e-mail that I sent:

You don’t know me, but I’ve probably made you late to work on more than one occasion. I am a bridgetender for the City of Seattle. I operate the University Bridge on Roosevelt, but have operated 4 others in town as well. In fact, in my 17 ½ years as a bridgetender, I’ve worked on 9 different bridges in 3 different states, which is better statistics than any other bridge operator that I know of in this country. I’m rather proud of that, especially as a female in a male-dominated profession.

On my commute to work the other day, I was listening to NPR and I heard them do a book review of Life Between the Levees: America’s Riverboat Pilots. It occurred to me that there needs to be a book about drawbridges. People are fascinated by my job. I was even once asked for an autograph, to my shock and mortification.

After that book review, I rushed home to see who the publisher of the levee book was, and it turns out to be the University Press of Mississippi. Needless to say, my book probably wouldn’t be an ideal fit for them, but I think it would be for the University of Washington Press.

The good news is, the bulk of the material is already written. I’ve written a daily blog for more than 6 years. It’s called The View from a Drawbridge, which is “the random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.” I have more than 600 followers and I average 105 views a day.

Is this blog all about drawbridges? No. It really is as random as I claim. However, there is a drawbridge subcategory in there, and if you look at that, you’ll see that I have more than enough fascinating bridge stories to fill a book.

In addition, I’ve already self-published one anthology from the blog. A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude. It did not treat the subject of drawbridges, but it was number one on the Amazon best seller list for its subcategory for, oh, about three days.

One of my stories has also been featured in a StoryCorps anthology entitled Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, which caused me to be on NPR’s Morning Edition, and in O Magazine and Parade Magazine.

I realize that this is probably a rather unorthodox way to submit a book proposal, but I’ve lived a rather unorthodox life. I hope you’ll consider my idea. I certainly look forward to hearing from you.

Risk

4 thoughts on “Just Me Trying to Get Published

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver

    Go for it!!
    Be sure to include all the technical info for us geeks. All right, just enough to satisfy the average pontist, I guess.
    Abt 30 years back this teacher in Portland put together this nice book on that city’s collection of bridges. It has gone thru several editions and I keep wondering why there isn’t a Seattle Bridge Book. That would of course include the do-nothing bridges, so I guess there should be 2 books–and I think your idea of one specializing in movable spans is great, one that could fill in the gap tween the simple kid-level explanation and the engineer-or-geek-level stuff. E.g., different types and subtypes like Scherzers, and rare breeds like that one at Steilacoom.
    History, and anecdotes–there will be plenty of the latter to pick from–but don’t forget to throw in the basic safety stuff right at the start. Your readership wants to live to keep finding out about neat stuff like this.
    Before rising sea levels swamp them all…

    1. I’ve had a dream for quite some time to do a coffee table book of drawbridges around the world. Photos. Geeky statistics, interviews with the bridgetenders. It would time time, money, and would probably be a bureaucratic nightmare obtaining permission from various entities, so currently it remains only a dream. Maybe a project if I ever get to retire.

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