Archive for April, 2012

After spending years slamming my head against the same brick wall, I got smart. Well, maybe I became discouraged — or aware.

Twenty years ago, long before Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail, I wrote a piece of historical fiction. After consulting with a few folks in “the industry” I was told that it was really quite good and was encouraged to submit the manuscript to publishers. I bought a copy of Writer’s Market and did my homework.

After months of careful planning I went to Office Depot and paid to have multiple copies of the manuscript produced. I typed out queries, letters of introduction, etc., all according to “the rules” of each publisher and/or literary agent. All told, I’d spent hundreds of dollars pitching my work. That was in 1990. Fast forward to 1995.

I was busy raising a family and staying ahead of the monsters under the bed. I barely had time to shave my legs, let alone to research the literary market. On a cold, sunny November day I received a call from a friend who had read my manuscript. She asked me how I decided on my pen name and asked why I didn’t tell any of my friends that my book was published. Huh?

Long story short, someone lifted my manuscript and claimed it as their own. Now, my family was subsisting on a shoestring budget in those days. I was also working my tail off in a home-based business as a medical transcriptionist. A lawyer told me that I would spend tens of thousands of dollars with no guarantee of victory. Hardly a good use of my money or, more importantly, my time. I dropped it.

Today I still submit work to publishers, albeit cautiously, in search of affirmation. I’ve jumped into self-publishing and the social media frenzy associated with it. Sadly, writers run in circles with other writers. Pitching my work to them is the equivalent of spitting into a strong headwind. Likewise, they pitch to me. I obligingly buy books from fellow authors at a rate of $20 a month. That’s my budget and I’m sticking to it.

So, long story short…I’m happy to buy a book, maybe two, to support my peers. I’d like to know that I can ask the same of you.