Miracles don’t appear on demand, to deliver happy plot twists. They storm stories too weak to resist.
I am writing this entry to clarify my thoughts on the latest swerve in my journey towards publication, and light this stretch of path for other writers. If you have written a book you always assumed would at least be published by a small press, if not one of the Big Five, and you are half-welcoming, half-dreading the prospect of releasing that assumption – this post is for you. Continue reading
Four months after sending my memoir manuscript to a small press (at their request), I mustered the gumption to write them and ask for a rough sense of when they might make a decision. Four days have passed; I haven’t heard back. This lack of response does not give me any definite information about the press, or the status of my manuscript; how I feel, in relation to it, does give me information about how I might like to proceed. Continue reading
The perennial pitfall of being human is getting stuck in shitty stories. These stories are like dark tunnels: Once we’ve entered, we see no choice except to keep going, hoping that maybe, if we’re lucky, the chute we’re in will intersect with one that’s a touch taller or wider. We forget that the tunnel roofs are mere sod-clumps, through which we could easily bust, to the fresh air and full sun of the prairie.
I am wondering, this morning, about the tunnel I’m in with respect to book publication, and what the view might be from the prairie. Continue reading
Since beginning work on my Zendik book, more than ten years ago, I’ve read dozens of cult memoirs. (In 2008, on a train from New York to Seattle, I binge-read maybe seven or eight.) Many are terrible; some are decent; a few kick butt. The terribles fall into two categories: self-published exposés with a side of catharsis (“You wouldn’t believe what happened to me; listen while I spew it all!”) and corporately published exposés of groups in the news (“Ignore my incoherent narrative and jerry-built sentences; I’m the only source of the inside scoop!”). The decents tend to recount experiences with groups notorious enough to attract investment from a major publisher, either in the form of payment to a ghostwriter, or ample support and editorial help for the ex-cultist. The ones that kick butt? They’re written by writers. Meaning, these authors were going to write anyway, and their cult episodes begged to be stories. Continue reading