Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Special Guest Post: Revival: How A Tenor Lost His Voice But Found His Calling, with Mark Koopmans! guys! It looks like I goofed. I had the blog booked for a special guest to take over and tell us about the process of getting this beauty published. I'd rather not step on a special guest's toes, so the Undead Road cover reveal and contest is postponed until next Wednesday.

Mark is a one of a kind star in the Blogosphere, and a terrific friend. So it is a great pleasure to share his debut publication about America's Got Talent's Donald Braswell!

Watch this amazing audition clip from the show. Now take it away, Mark!

* * *

Today, I dip my sword, throw my gauntlet and offer thanks to you, Sir David, for having me a-round the table today.

(You can’t make these jokes up, folks.)

Dave asked about the timeline of my new book, REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story. I only hope the answer won’t scare new writers: From idea to publishing took about six years.

But wait, there’s more!!

I first saw Donald during the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent. I reached out, and we eventually met in 2009.

Within several months, we nearly sold the unfinished book to one of the larger publishing houses, but as faith (or as Roland the Gunslinger calls it, “ka”) would have it, that deal and the only agent we ever had, fell through.

For about a year the whole project stalled, but I couldn’t let the book die. I truly believe that Donald’s journey is one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever heard.

So in 2011, we jumped back on the wagon and I finished the first draft.

The editing began.

Then, the queries.

The rejections, too.

In 2013, the project took a huge turn for the better, when friend and blogger, Michael Di Gesu agreed to read what was probably the fourth-eenth version.

Michael, God bless him, spent weeks on the draft and showed me how better REVIVAL could be, if only I went to first person, present tense (from third person, past tense.)

I ran this by Donald, who agreed, and off we went to the races to basically rewrite the entire manuscript.

In early 2014, the ms was “too long,” according to multiple agents and publishers who rejected the manuscript, sometimes on spec.

But then, in late 2014, came the wonderful email from our publisher, Duke Pennell, of Pen-L Publishing, who was intrigued by the proposal, liked the sample chapters and then loved the whole manuscript.

And here we are in late 2015, one week after REVIVAL published. It was a crazy ride.

(Let’s hope I can write and publish my next few books just a wee bit quicker.)

Any interesting bumps on your writing journey so far?

Next up on the Blog Tour is Elise Fallson, who asked about the process of picking pictures for the memoir, and MJ Fifield, who’s curious about the challenges involved in memoir writing.

Amazon      Barnes and Nobel      Pen-L Publishing       Blog

About the Author:

Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night.


  1. It's crazy how long this whole process can take!

  2. it seems to take forever, doesn't it? But you kept the faith and it happened the way it was supposed to.

  3. @Tiana: This book truly became a labor of love, and I'm so happy it's all worked out:)

    @Alex: Oh yes. If the book had of published in 2010-11, it would have been completely different...

  4. Hi David and Mark - it does seem the process of writing a book is a long drawn out one .. with lots of help involved, lots of pesky rejections too - but congratulations to you and to Michael for guiding you through ... good luck - cheers Hilary

  5. @Dave: Thanks for having me over, and wishing you all the very best with the Undead Road cover reveal :)

  6. Hooray for persistence. And the kindness of blogging friends. And for an amazing story.
    And thank you for an amazing book, and an inspirational story I would never have come across...

  7. It is certainly an excellent book now Mark. Still wishing you every success. And the same for you Sir David.

  8. Sometimes all it takes is a shift in POV to make all the difference in a story.

    I'm looking forward to reading Revival, Mark!

  9. You're a great example of how important never giving up is to this business of writing.

  10. @Hilary: Yes, this memoir took such a long time, but I really believe that is was all God's timing!

    @EC: Thanks and I think I said this elsewhere, I really couldn't quit on the book... it became somewhat of a mission, and I'm glad I can say mission accomplished. Now, the readers will decide what happens next :)

    @Jo: Thanks for all your support and for being there to listen, too :)

    @L. Diane: Absolutely... I'm so grateful to Michael for taking the time to show me a new perspective.

    @Susan. Stop! You'll make this middle-aged bald Irish guy blush :) (And thank you so much :)

  11. Man that process...It sure helps put it into perspective for the rest of us. Here I am trying to set a personal goal of writing one book a year...And finding myself sufficiently burning out (while juggling a second career, of course). Way to go Mark!

    All the best!

    1. Hey Anna:) I'm pretty sure my writing journey was a little different than many. If your goal is one book a year, don't let me put you off... we all work at our own pace, right :)

      Happy writing :)

  12. It's the little changes sometimes. I say little, but I know it wasn't. lol

    1. At the end of the day, it was alllllll worth it :)

      Phewwww !

  13. Good for you, having such staying power! You had a great idea at the heart of it, i believe that's why you were able to succeed, no matter how long it took others to realize it.

    1. Thanks! I really was like a dog with a very juicy bone in its mouth... I couldn't put Donald's story down no matter all the coaxing from my "worried writer's mind." :)

  14. Idea to publishing only took 6 years? I'm so jealous. It's been more like 15 for me, and I'm still working towards the publishing bit.

    1. Hi Lisa:) Thanks, and you'd better not stop now!! Keep pushing.. it only takes one other person to believe in your story (if you go traditional) and none if you self-pub ;)

      "Break a leg" !!

  15. Gosh, I love hearing stories like this. From crickets to shooting stars! Thank you for sharing.

  16. Gaaad, imagine the process authors have to go through first before being published. Trying but rewarding.. :)

  17. I love that Michael Gesu could spot a change that constructively, might improve a work. That kind of synergy is difficult to come by and wonderful when it happens unexpectedly.