No one tells you this in “author school,” but writing a manuscript is the easy part of the book business. That part you can control; it’s getting a publisher to think enough of your project to invest time and money in bringing it to reality that’s the challenge.

Jerry Parins and I had invested more than three years of on-and-off work on “Bodyguard to the Packers” with no guarantee our efforts would ever see the light of day. We would meet for interviews weekly for a while, and then maybe not at all for a few months. There was no deadline looming, which for a chronic procrastinator like me meant no reason to put the wraps on the project.

Finally, in the fall of 2007, I got it in my head that it would make a great Christmas present for Jerry if I could finish a draft of the manuscript. I had done some chapters along the way, but I still had a pile of interview notes to get through.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and that’s how I approached this project. I made an effort to get at it first thing in the morning almost every day, punching out 500 to 1,000 words at a crack. Pretty soon, I noticed the pile of interview notes was shrinking and a light at the end of the tunnel began to shine through.

One problem, though. I had sent out some letters to a few regional publishing houses without so much as a rejection letter coming back at me. Nothing. Not a peep.

Then one day in early December 2007, while waiting though a fog delay at the Green Bay airport, fate smiled upon us.

Next: The little publishing company that could.