My favorite books are always the ones that tell the story of how it came to pass that we became who we are now. Regardless of the ending, I love a path that unfolds in unexpected ways with unlikely heroes. I thought that meant that I loved fiction.
Which I do, but what I really love is Life. I’m endlessly fascinated with the varied ways we humans dance our ways through it. I love the view from behind someone else’s eyes. In the end, I always know we are more similar than different, which is almost the same thing as a happy ending.
So it strikes me as strange that I write non-fiction with such commitment to the genre. It’s the biggest surprise in this home-study typing course than I have been on the last few years. I’ve been reading nothing but memoir in solidarity with my weirdness, and it’s been amazing. Yes, a very fine line between fiction and truth, but there is a quality, maybe some sort of “personalosity” that makes all the difference to me.
These are the top five best-selling book genres: 1-Romance. 2-Crime and Mystery. 3-Religious. 4-Sci-Fi & Fantasy and 5-Horror.
Notice anything missing??
Memoirists (who have an agent) are being told to fictionalize their stories. Or add some recipes or a road trip. It’s just smart. Agents need to make a living and they know what sells. Publishers agree–it makes sense to follow the trends. Everyone is looking for a book on the best seller list. Just like movie studios, there is wisdom to Fast and Furious #28.
All I can say is bless the non-conformists. I love a blockbuster, but would hate it if there were no small indie films. There are some good chain restaurants out there, but I love a hole-in-the-wall with Grandma’s pie. And in my previous career I made one-of-a-kind jewelry in the traditional way–something that factories do infinitely faster and cheaper. What I’ve learned being out on the fringe is that there are some very cool people out here. Not fitting the popular mold is a pretty sweet spot. No whining, no apologies. Like owning horses, it isn’t for everyone, but it suits me just fine. Memoir it is.
It’s 12 weeks since submission; that’s the time most publishers say if you haven’t heard from them by now, you won’t. I could be all wailing and wet, worried that they didn’t like my manuscript. Except this one thing… they haven’t actually read it. They make the cut by synopsis and sometimes a chapter or two. It’s not personal, just the only way with the numbers of manuscripts they receive every day.
This week one indie publisher told me that my submission was in a pile with 800 others, to be considered in 2016. It sounds like that is a small pile, compared to other presses I’ve submitted to. Can you imagine how overwhelming that must be for a small press?
Still, I’m feeling a bit like the wall flower sitting in a straight back chair with my good dress on, waiting for someone to ask me to dance. If you know me at all, you know I’m won’t wait for an invitation forever.
The most common question people ask me is can I do an eBook. Yes, in about 20 minutes. But I might be too contrary for that advice, too. Of the beta readers who helped me out with my manuscript in the edit process, the majority of them didn’t use readers–good information. And pardon my confidence, but I’m wild about my book. I want to give it the very best launch I can–it’s just taking some time to figure what that might be.
The ocean of books is immense. Bowker reported that in 2012 there were 3,500 books published each day in the US; this number does not include eBooks. Ocean is probably an understatement.
So, while I am planning my sneak attack on the literary world, I’m staying busy. This week I got a couple of interesting requests–one from an editor and one from another author. I’ve been searching for a mentor of some sort, and am finally talking with a publicist.
And have I mentioned that I’m compiling my Relaxed and Forward blogs together for a different book?
My favorite part of this crazy process is that I get to meet some very interesting and encouraging people. I know I sound a bit like Blanche DuBois, but it’s true. I depend on the kindness of strangers–I’m inspired by it. Thank You all so much, for the private messages and the comments on this blog… Thank You doesn’t articulate loudly enough how much I appreciate you sitting here with me, waiting to dance. Right now, that is. I have a great idea how to thank you soon enough. Think line dance, only different…
Have a great week, read something real.