For a year, I’ve searched for an agent to represent for my memoir, Getting Lost to Find Home. For the past two months, the manuscript has been under review with a London office. A few days ago, I emailed the agent to ask if the submission was still under review. As yet, I’ve received no response, and I’m beginning to mull over my father’s advice. Sometimes, it’s wise to “cut bait.”
To publish my book without an agent leaves me two options. I can submit it to an academic press or self-publish under my imprint, Rutherford Classics. An academic press has all the disadvantages of working with a major publisher and none of the advantages. The author loses control over the work, including a choice of a book cover. Working with a major publisher offers the lure of a review in the New York Times, however. An academic press has no such lure.
Like gossip, which is a mainstay of a community, critical approbation is the lifeblood of the publishing world. Without reviews, an author must be content with positive comments from friends. One values these comments, but they don’t burnish a literary reputation.
Working with small-to-medium presses has the same disadvantage. I’ve published with 4 and in terms of effect, it felt like not publishing at all. Hybrids aren’t an option, either. One hybrid recently approached me with a request to revive Ballet Noir. I declined, seeing no advantage in bearing the expense of repackaging my book. Let those interested in a good, paranormal romance reap the benefit of Ballet Noir at it is and at its reduced price.
It must follow as the night the day, then, that my best recourse is to self-publish my memoir– no matter the attendant stain which suggests it wasn’t good enough to attract a publisher. Readers of my blog can judge my skills. A majority has have been with me for many years.
A person can linger too long on Rejection Road, though I am conscious I have been in the best of company. What I also hold in common with these predecessors is the confidence that I have a story to tell. And so I must move on.
A friend nudged me the other day. “When is your memoir coming out? I want to read it!”
Frankly, I do, too. But to lay down a dream is difficult until another takes its place. At last, I am ready and am happy to admit I’ve begun to imagine my book’s cover and its interior design. A year may pass before Getting Lost to Find Home appears in print, but it will appear.
I hope those who have followed my quest for an agent won’t be disappointed by the outcome. We’ve learned so much together and that’s made the journey our reward