Cathartic Pruning

I find that I love pruning.  It can be anything outside really that takes forever but displays a completely different look once done.  For example, we have a neighbor with a magnolia tree.  The giant, shiny leaves drop constantly so I get to go out and methodically pick each one up.  I do this about every other day.  I hate them because they’re so unsightly but I really don’t mind picking them up.  And once I’m done, it looks so much nicer in the yard.
I never really realized that I liked this sort of thing until I got an AeroGarden kit and started growing herbs and veggies in my basement.  Once they’d start to get so overgrown that they were growing out of the vessel, I’d go down and snip, snip, snip to my hearts content.  I found that I really liked it.  In the blink of an eye, an hour would pass with just tiny scissors and a small plant.  Makes me think of the bonsai pruners.  But I’m not like that at all because I really don’t know what I’m doing.  I go out and snip off the dead parts.  If the tomato plant has gotten too big or too overgrown, I just start cutting it back.  It comes back so I suppose I’m doing the right thing.  I just spent two hours trimming my tomato plants, lime tree and roses.  And picking up the magnolia leaves.  I’m able to lose myself for awhile.  I just can’t start it if I’m supposed to be somewhere at a specific time.
I got my third rejection today.  It’s ok though.  We’re making good progress on the last edit so we can possibly move forward with self publishing soon.  Maybe it’s just the cathartic pruning talking.


In coming up with market analysis, some sort of a bio, edits, researching self publishing and publishers, I wonder if writing a memoir is narcissistic.  I’ve been questioning why anyone would really care about what I have to say or what has happened to me throughout my life.  I try to focus on all of the books I’ve read of people I’ve never heard of and of those that are famous.  I’ve enjoyed them all.  I’ve related and empathized.  Maybe mine won’t be any different.  Other people will read it and understand.

Empathy is a major part of my life.  I feel others pain and happiness.  I carry it around like a backpack. Sometimes my own issues are too much so I drop them on the floor for a bit just to pick them all back up and carry them around some more.  I found a place to put it all, in the book.  It doesn’t take it away.  I still carry it all around but it packages a lot of it in a neat place to house it all.

I started thinking that I hope people that read my blog or pick up my book don’t think that it’s all about me because it’s really not.  It’s far from it.  It’s more about sharing with others.  Bringing people into my life.  But, I thought it might be a good idea to get the focus off of me.  I get so obsessed day after day of reading reviews, reading how to’s, researching, writing here and there that I just needed away from the computer.  I went and volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank.  It got me off my butt and out of my head for a bit.

I guess a memoir is narcissistic to an extent.  A narcissistic, empathetic attempt to share oneself with others.

Rejection 2

I wonder how high that number is going to go?  I sent out a couple more queries to publishers that I found.  I have a huge list to keep going through so I do as much as I can each day.  It has become my job which I’m really starting to enjoy.  This was a much more encouraging rejection however.  The publisher said they were definitely interested but they’d met their quota for publishing memoirs for the year.  She encouraged me to take excerpts of my story and enter into contests.  It’s an idea but I’ve found on other publisher’s websites that if any part of the story has been published, it needs to be disclosed.  So, I don’t want to get into that.

Speaking of contests, I did enter a contest on GlimmerTrain for a very short fiction entry and haven’t been declined yet.  As I’d said earlier, I’m trying to write, write, write in order to become a “writer”.  Sounds funny but if you think about it, it makes sense.  I figure I have enough of an imagination (or if I don’t, it’s time to build it up a bit) to come up with other stories.  Plus, it’s fun to get into some fiction after all the nonfiction writing.

I’m still struggling with traditional publishing vs self publishing.  I know, I know, I’ll probably continue to bellyache about it until I go with one or the other.  It just takes so long for traditional publishing and I won’t necessarily make that much money from it.  But they do all the editing, marketing, etc.  With that comes signing over rights to the story as well, which is probably the worst part.  I mean, I had dreams of my book making us millions but it’s more like it’ll make us thousands.  If I go self publishing, I get 100% of royalties, keep my rights but I have to edit (which we’re still doing, by the way), market, distribute, everything really.  I did some research last night to try and figure out what the price point would be for the book.  That was pretty cool.  Some publishers also want to see that research and want to know what I’m expecting to get from the book.  Did I mention that when going with a traditional publisher, the royalties gained by the author is around 25%.  That is, I’d get 25% of the sale of each book.  Think about that.  Between signing over rights to allow the editor/publisher to make whatever changes they want to the book and then only getting 25% out of it bugs me.  But, it would get my book on bookshelves whereas if I self publish, I have to get it on the bookshelves myself and bookstores don’t put self published books on bookshelves.  I’m trying to hook up my Facebook page, Twitter account and blog all together to try and get some marketing going.  If I’m only going to be able to sell the book to my couple of friends and family, then I certainly can’t do self publishing.

I’m just thinking this all out by writing about it.  🙂  And maybe complain a little bit.

Love Easy

Hmm, that’s a great title for a story.  I might use that sometime.  Need to write myself a note.  Anyway, I was thinking while driving the other day about my childhood friends and those that have come into my life and left an imprint.  There’s been so many people that it made me realize that I love easy.  I trust people and usually end up sharing a piece of me with them and them with me.  That sharing always causes a connection.  It’s hard not to love when there’s that connection.  I have childhood friends that I still consider so close that I’d do anything for them.  I don’t know if the feeling is always reciprocated but it doesn’t matter.  When we were little, I loved them.  We’d play, talk, take care of one another, be there through just about anything we got ourselves into.  That love doesn’t just disappear because we don’t see each other every day.  Time does not erase memories or take away the events that shape our lives.  I carry this love around with me every day.  Sometimes it’s too much.  I want to offload it but I can’t.  I can’t forget someone or cross them off of the friends list.  I think about the times we spent together.  The laughs, the tears.  I miss people which makes me sad.  It’s so much easier to keep in touch through social media these days but it’s not the same.  It’s not like sitting across from one another at a table and catching up.  It is a nice container.  I have everyone in one place that I can go to get to them.  And it’s not just childhood friends.  It’s adult friends too.  Some that I consider family members now, I met while I was an adult.  I don’t know what I’d do without these people.  It’s hard for me to make friends but when I do, I hold them close.  I think about them often, I worry about them, I sympathize and empathize with them across the miles.  I probably think about them too much but that’s just me.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing to love easy, but it does cause heartache over time.  I hope those that I do love know that I love them.

Rejection 1

I got my first rejection yesterday.  I found another publisher that required just a query.  I emailed them my query and within minutes, I got a rejection.  The reason stated was “our memoir program is dedicated to celebrities“.  It reminded me of a book I saw in the airport the other day.  It was a “non-memoir” as noted by the author because why would anyone give a shit about someone that wasn’t famous.  It stuck a pin in my balloon but as I read further, wondering what the book was really about, it was about this person’s life but in a cynical, non-interesting, barrage of bullshit.  It still seemed like a memoir of sorts to me.  Maybe a collection of thoughts which I thought would be better as a blog.  The writer had a technique however, that I didn’t care for.  I put the book back on the shelf.

I want to self publish but I’m afraid my 5 friends and family will buy it and that will be it.  I think I need the expertise of a true publisher in order to get it on shelves and advertised properly.  What’s strange, well, maybe not so strange, maybe more disturbing, is that I have a very small list of publishers but several pages of agents listed.  Many publishers will only consider queries from agents.  Going through an agent means that there’s another person in the mix that has to be paid, taking a cut of the profits.  Considering I’ve quit my high-tech job for this, not so much do I want to bring in another party that’s going to take at least 15% off the top.

And then there’s the waiting.

As luck would have it, I got an email from a short story publisher that I’m subscribed to for the next contest.  I decided to sit and burn out something to submit.  While I was there this morning, saw a link for writing conferences.  When I did a search, I found a website that had a list of publishers.  I’ve found a giant list of them and have been going through them this morning.  I’ve sent another four queries and have only gotten through half of the B publishers.

While doing all the research of the publishers, figuring out which ones are good for memoirs, what the requirements are for a submission, etc. I found one that offered 20% royalties.  20%?  Oh my god.  I’m still submitting but I think this is futile.  I’m reconsidering once again going traditional publishing.  I feel so wishy washy.

Two More

Well, I’ve queried two more publishers.  I’m going about it methodically.  I sent out two queries to publishers that required queries only.  I’ve not heard back from them and today marks the required 3 month timeframe.  I guess that’s my answer from them.  Last week, I sent to two publishers that required a small portion (50 pages) of my book.  I just hate sending my entire book to a publisher.  Sure, I understand it.  They want to know the whole book.  I think I would want to see the whole thing but I figure I’ll go to them last.  But that will be my next step.  In another 3 months.

I did copyright my work before sending any of it out.  Not that I think they’ll take my story and sell if for their own but you never really know these days.  I was happy about copyrighting it and more happy about sending out samples to two more publishers but I can’t help but sit here now and wonder what I’m doing with my life.  Maybe I’ll start on Part II.