"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Post Number: 11756
|Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 01:58 am: |
First thing I was told when I decided to write a book was to forget about submitting "over-the-transom" manuscripts, and that perusing the pages of Writers Digest, trying to find a fit with a publisher was an exercise in futility. So I never wasted my time repeatedly sending out the manuscripts that would generate rejection slips. Others also advised me to get an agent, and I did explore this route via the agent listings in Writers Digest, but I never received any replies.
Before this, back in the 70s, after having a couple of essays I submitted to the OpEd pages in one of Chicago's newspapers accepted, I inquired about writing a regular column on the black experience, and much to my surprise they agreed, giving me a bi-monthly by-line, probably because my having written so many provocative letters-to-the-editor, made my name a familiar one to readers of the paper. This was a tailor-made gig for me, because I had a word limit, and I am not a verbose writer.
During the 60s was when I produced my first book, pounding it out on a manual typewriter, struggling with messy carbon paper and ink erasers, totally discouraged by the tedious process. And naive person that I was, I sent the finished product off to a literary agency that charged money to evaluate manuscripts, promising to shape them up and get them published. The fee for this was 35 dollars. Well, in about 3-weeks time, I received a letter from one of the agents. He told me that my writing had great potential and that he liked the characters I had drawn, which was why he wanted to forego the usual pitch and tell me that books about black people stood very little chance of getting published. He said that this was a sad but true fact of life, but that maybe one day this would change and for me to hold on to my dream or - to try my hand at writing a book with white characters. Needess to say this wasn't an option since I knew that the cardinal rule for beginning writers was to write about what you knew. Plus, I had a full-time job and a bunch of kids so I just put my book-writing aspirations on hold.
Years later when I retired, I dug out this old manuscript and, encouraged by what a facilitator a word processor was, I re-vamped it and made self-publication a project. I subequently did 3 more books in this manner, because these self-indulgent little endeavors were great receptacles for my creative juices. I know from some reader feed-back that my novels could benefit from being lengthened and better-developed but - what the f u c k, re-writing them would be too much trouble. I'm done. At least until I make up my mind about resurrecting a novel I have lying-in-state on my word-processor.
So, we do all have different writing histories and experiences.