When Cathy and I started throwing around ideas for blog posts for the Devilfish Review, she suggested that I write a series about my efforts to publish my memoir.
I thought it would be better to wait until AFTER it’s actually published. After all a blog about how I published my memoir has got to be more helpful than a blog about how I tried to publish my memoir. But Cathy thinks some of you would be interested in watching the ongoing process.
I asked her what happens if I fail.
She said ya’ll could learn from my mistakes.
That was very comforting. (I am nothing if not a nurturer. -C)
So I’m going to bare my soul and insecurities and take ya’ll along with me as I try to publish my memoir. Scary.
I’ll give you a bit of back story and then I’ll post what I’m doing as I do it. I’ll also post links to the research I’ve done and continue to do. Hopefully watching me stumble around will help the rest of you walk a straighter path.
1.) Thanks to my dad I have a Lifetime movie premise for my memoir. The only reason this thing won’t be published is if I fail as a writer and self-promoter. If the writing is bad, I think the worst case scenario will be a publisher asking a ghost writer to write my story. Which would be devastating. The other possibility is I don’t approach people properly and no one ever even looks at the manuscript.
2.) I have already published my memoir as my master’s thesis and could possibly approach a university or local press and be in publication now. But I don’t want my memoir to vanish with a small local release, possibly to be rediscovered in two hundred years and uploaded to the galactic main frame to be enjoyed by the masses. Somewhere members of the Alliance will wonder how this amazing work wasn’t properly appreciated by my temporal contemporaries. A multi-species enterprise will create time travel just to come back and ask me why there wasn’t a larger printing of my book. And I’ll tell them I was too chicken to appeal to a large publishing house. They will return to the future saddened that the author of the most beloved story of all time was a wuss. Or you know, never read by anyone ever…
3.) So far most of what I’ve done is research and procrastination and wrestling with demons. I bought books on how to be published. I took a class and published two flash pieces. I read countless webites about getting published.
The research was great. I loved hunting up creditable websites and reading what the agents had to say about their part of the process. I am looking forward to reading more author websites. Cathy has recommended some to me and I’m sure she’ll be recommending them to you.
The procrastination comes naturally. I don’t really have to work at it. But I think it is inspired by two qualities my inability to say no and my insecurities.
My cover is high school teacher. Between lesson plans, teaching, grading, sponsoring clubs, and coaching a UIL Journalism team my days are pretty full, and some of that bleeds into the weekends. Add in familial responsibilities, maintaining healthy friendships, deciding to start a literary magazine and playing (reading, video games, horses, cats, movies, etc) and you are looking at a woman with a normal life, i.e. busy. I find it really hard to take all those responsibilities, duties, and pleasures and set them aside to do something that is not on a real deadline.
Its a me deadline. An “I want this” deadline.
I think it would be harder to procrastinate if I wasn’t also terrified of the whole thing. What if I succeed? What if someone reads my query letter and wants to see my manuscript? What if they want to publish my manuscript? What if they love it so much they want another book?
I know it makes no sense, but the idea of success scares me a little more than the idea of failure. Being scared of both outcomes leaves me a little… hesitant.
I feel absolutely certain that my memoir is not ready to be published. I’m sure I need to work on it. It was ok for a master’s thesis, but it just isn’t ready to be on shelves anywhere. I think.
But I’m equally certain that if I wait until I feel like it is finished enough, good enough to DESERVE publication, my time traveling space aliens flight of fancy will be a more plausible scenario than anyone in my family living to see my work in print.
So. I’m going to get my butt in gear and get this thing out there. And you guys get to watch and see if I crash and burn.