Stumbling into two self-pub houses, I got nearly immediate response. Should have titled this Vultures and Doves. Strong admonishment to get a lawyer if I write anything about abuse, while telling me no publisher will touch a memoir including such material. Yeah. Right. So, would that individual please explain the large number of published memoirs in my personal library concerned with same? And then why push interest in shepherding me to publication under their banner? Am I swimming with sharks?
The second email arrival, not achieving contact with a phone call, led me to his website to fill out a form leading me to a contract. the simple grammatical errors, poor spelling and general sloppiness tell me they don't care enough to be professional in their own work, so what would they do with mine?
Not WINNING yet, but LEARNING, for sure. Chalking this up to valuable experience, and adding in several fab blogs, I have discovered DAveandbillscocktailhour.com full of helpful info delivered with high good humor and, at last, some irreverance, a much needed posture in this business so fraught with heavy handed overbearing seriousness, like going to bad lunch at a musty, passé and ancient men's club with cheap cigars and huffy self importance.
It's time, folks, to breathe fresh air. The day of secret handshakes and shut-out need to be over, and lest you wonder, no; I have submitted nothing to anyone yet. But I have been around the block of life more than once and know a thing or two when i see it.
In the meantime I am into second draft, building my show/ tell weakness, taking small comfort in the information that says most memoirists have this deficiency. Cold comfort. I want to be better than that. a suggestion from the aforementioned blog asks that I randomly select ten pages and search them for olfactory references. Did that and found three. According to Dave and Bill, that's pretty good, but to aim for five. This was actually a natural, since I lived in a farm town, redolent with the smell of the local cannery...peaches, tomatoes, beans filled the air. And the alfalfa field bordering our lawn and newly mown, fills my nose even today, along with recently cut hay when the car windows were down on a late spring day. And most childhood Sundays found gangs of family crowded around a table full of incredible food, hot and savory,followed by sugary sweet fruits and chocolates and hot bread. Our noses were as alive as our taste buds.
Addressing my story as a reader, not a writer, is my best instruction. Reading out loud is very good but having someone else read my story out loud to me is a stunning revelation. Give it a try. Pick your toughest critic. Let fly.