I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous. Last week I sent three query letters to different publishers for my book that focuses on how the Battle of Sutherland’s Hill/Panther Creek was the downfall for the 10th Kentucky Partisan Rangers’ stellar summer and fall campaign of 1862. So far, I have received one response and they want me to send in a full proposal! That’s great news, except they would like the manuscript to be at least 75,000, and at the moment, mine is only nearing 50,000. So….if I choose to go that route, I have some work ahead of me and it will definitely prolong this whole process. I know how I could do it though. Currently, my books practically begins with the aftermath of Johnson’s raid on Newburgh, Indiana. I originally chose it to start this way because there is already a great book out there on this particular raid. I didn’t want Newburgh, since it is pretty famous for being the first Northern town to be captured, to overshadow the narrative I am trying to produce. But if push comes to shove, and this happens to be the only way to get my work published, then that’s what I will do and begin much earlier in the summer of 1862.
The publisher I am really wanting to hear from has yet to get back with me. I knew from the start that it would take over a week since they get so many queries and proposals daily. So fingers crossed on this one. They market their books really well and actively promote them on social media. That’s a plus.
A third publisher is one that mostly specializes in local and regional history. My work is definitely isolated to one region of the United States for where the action takes place, but so is Gettysburg. I have been talking with another author who has been giving me great advice during this whole process who has published with this company before. There are pros and cons to this particular publisher, but if they like what they read in my letter then I will go with them if the other company either doesn’t respond or gives me a letter of rejection. I could be on my own in terms of promotion, advertising, and getting speaking gigs at Round Tables and SUVCW meetings. Maybe I should just go on tour.
I feel like I will have that pit in my stomach until I hear something from the other two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super pumped that a publisher already wants to discuss things further, it’s just that I prefer the other two options. Here’s to hearing something this week!
In the meantime I’m reading two books on guerrilla warfare that are loaded with information. The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-1865 by Robert R. Mackey and A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War by Daniel Sutherland. The upside is that they give clear definitions and examples of irregular fighters from the Civil War and the differences between Bushwackers, Guerrillas, Partisan Rangers, and Raiders. That’s something I am definitely adding into mine because both sides called irregular warfare different words that have different meanings. Usually they used words that the other side would strongly disagree with. The downside to the books is that Adam Rankin Johnson is only mentioned at most three times, and that is mostly is association with Morgan’s Raid of 1863. Dang Morgan always gets all the attention. I might be biased, but I believe Johnson’s summer of 1862 is absolutely spectacular on what he was able to do. Going from three men with zero weapons to a full regiment of 800 well armed and mounted men with a cannon is a pretty amazing feat. Try doing that Morgan.