Writing and Publishing

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Hi, this is a post that is from 2011 which was never published. I thought, since it shows where we were and talks about the publishing process it might be worth posting.

Writing and Publishing Crystal and I are continuing to work on finding an agent for our book and developing our platform. Crystal does a great job researching agents to find ones who express interest in our type of book (memoir, historical nonfiction). She not only sees what they are looking for, but looks at books which have been published through their agency. I love her passion and attention to detail. So far, with all of that work, our query letter has been rejected three times. Each time she has been disappointed. I am not concerned. I know there is a market and a publisher for this book. These are not our failures, but part of a process. I do, however, feel some pity for those agents who aren’t even taking time to read past our query letter. I get it. There are formulas for successful books. Our book fits none of these. It is somewhat unique in style and format. This would be bothersome to most agents and publishers. Of course I am sure that, the same complaint could be registered by the twenty publishers who rejected William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the two dozen who rejected Stephen King’s Carrie, or the thirty-eight who rejected Gone with the Wind. While I’m not saying our book is on a level with those classics, I know there is a place for it. I am certain there were a lot of publishers and agents looking for new lines of work after those works went public. I don’t wish that on anybody. However, we didn’t write the book for any publishers/agents. We wrote it first, for our family, as documentation of first hand experiences and accounts from our parents, and us. Second, it is written as a story of life, growing pains, and love’s endurance, during different times and conditions. The universal appeal is inescapable. The trouble isn’t who will pick up this book, but who will put it down. As I said, this is a process, and so far I am enjoying it. I am meeting new and interesting people, discussing writing issues, and even getting involved in internet blogging. One of my friends at church even asked for my feedback on his writing effort. I barely consider myself a writer, and now people are coming to me for advice. Like I said, this is a journey. The destination is only relatively important. I feel that God has been with us in the writing and will continue to lead us in the publication. Crystal’s Corner: The search for an agent is like searching for hidden treasure. You want to find the gold, but there seems to be many obstacles in the way. I have rewritten the query letter about six times now. I always try to identify with the agent I am sending it to so that he/she will relate to us. I don’t think that we are being rejected because of the book. I think that there can be many things going on with the agencies. But it is frustrating when you believe you have found the right match and then they are not interested. I also have been reading and researching memoirs, recent ones, and ones that have been out there for years. I am finding many that I really like. I might be mentioning and describing some of them on this blog. I do look for agents and publishing companies when I read any book, fiction or non-fiction that I like. Many times the authors will be recognizing their agent, editor and publisher in the introduction or somewhere in the book. This is a good way to find names. Also, the Internet is very helpful because most agencies are listed and you can find out what they have been doing recently, which books they have gotten published, and also writers that you can research. My research also gives me encouragement and ideas. One author I read about shared that she sent out query letters to many agencies from April to August. She got several replies – all negative and nothing from other agencies. While she was on vacation she received a positive reply from an agent. Instead of jumping up and down and just going with that agent, she made a very smart move. She re-contacted all the agencies that she had sent the query letter to and informed them that an agent was interested. Surprise, surprise, some of them responded that they were interested also. She chose her agent because he was the most enthusiastic about her book and she liked him and the agency he represented. It was a good match for her project which is now published. The gold is out there. We are going to keep searching for it.

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