Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My essay collection on deaf parenting, Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent, has been published!

This month, something happened that I had been waiting for and hoping would happen for years: My deaf parenting book, Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent, was finally published! At long last, the book I spent years working on and more years trying to get published has NOW been published! Sometimes I can only look at the cover and think, Wow, it’s really a book!

It’s definitely been a long journey with this one. I tend to say that with so many of my books. Some took years to perfect and some took years to find a home. But I hung in there and it finally happened.

I started writing this book while still a writer for the newspaper SIGNews. This book actually started off as a blog on my web site and I got some emails from readers who enjoyed reading my posts. The feedback made me think that I could take those blog posts to the next level and transform them into a book. At this time, I’d already had essays on being a deaf parent published elsewhere – in Mothering Magazine, in the DPPi Journal and even in an issue of SIGNews. But I really didn’t have a steady stream of essays on deaf parenting going out. I was focused on freelance writing and SIGNews at the time. So I decided to do a book of essays on deaf parenting. After all, I am a deaf parent! That pretty much made it easier for me to write about it.

I often say “I have so many stories to tell.” This is true of my experiences as a deaf parent. You’ll get to read them in this book.

There are two reasons why this book took so long to get published. As an author, I must admit I am a perfectionist when it comes to the books I write. The book HAS to be perfect. I’ll rewrite chapters or even a whole book several times before I think it’s ready to go. I get feedback through several readers, revise more where needed, and try to get even MORE feedback. A manuscript can go through several drafts, several readers and several rounds of edits before it can be ready to submit. And even then, it goes through more edits and revisions after acceptance.

Another thing that delayed publication was finding a home for this book. That was not easy. A lot of publishers, even those specializing in deaf products, only wanted books by famous people – even when it came to a book on deaf parenting. I’m not Marlee Matlin or Dr. I. King Jordan, so that made it a little difficult for me to get this book to certain publishers who wanted any and all books on a deaf topic. With no luck there, I considered self-publishing the book. My friend in London suggested I send it to her publisher, but they were closed to submissions. I kept them in mind, but months passed and nothing happened. Then I “met” John Lee Clark through HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and I interviewed him for one of my WIPs. Just so happened to turn out that John was deaf, too (well, deaf and blind), and he told me about this company he was reading manuscripts for called Clerc Scar. I sent him my book and he liked it and I was told they wanted to publish it. Several months later, I got an email saying Clerc Scar was shutting down, so it was back to finding a publisher again.

At this point, I’d had books published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. This independent publisher has been AMAZING to work with and I get along real well with Denise Bartlett and Charlotte Holley. They’re great!  (Denise also edits the poetry books that I self-publish and Charlotte designs the covers.) I have been very happy with GSP so, when this book was once again up for grabs, I asked Denise if she wanted to see it. She said yes and, shortly after I sent it to her, GSP offered me a contract for the book. I was overjoyed!

And now this book is at long last published. It is REALLY published! I am just so thrilled. And I am grateful to everyone who has helped make this happen, especially to Denise and Charlotte for taking this book and working with me to make it an essay collection I can be proud of.

Of course, my experiences as a deaf parent don’t end there. As it happens, I originally planned to only write about my experiences with one child, and even then up until she was 5 years old. Then I had a second child and there were more stories to tell. (And some things have changed, too. For example, in the book, I talk about how hard it was to get my son Jesse to use sign language. Most of the time, we had to lipread him. These days, however, he fingerspells practically everything he says to his deaf parents.) In the event I have more stories to tell, they’ll go up on my Palms to Pines blog. For now, there is this book, and I am so grateful I have these memories to share with my children from their younger years for a very long time. Here’s to many more!

You can purchase an electronic copy of Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent through online retailers as well as from Gypsy Shadow Publishing here and you can get the print here.

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