As I walked down a hall at the retirement center the other day, a man tapped me on the shoulder. Turning around, I saw his expression was friendly though it bore the look of surprise.
“Say, I finished your book, Gothic Spring last night. Ya know? It was pretty good.”
That said, he sprinted ahead, not waiting for a reply. I watched him go, feeling a little bemused by his remark. He didn’t strike me as someone who would enjoy a Victorian mystery. Perhaps that’s why I decided to take his “pretty good,” with its tincture of surprise, as a compliment.
Life’s full of surprises, especially for an artist. Producing my play, Woman on the Scarlet Beast with a local theater company provided many. Some readers may remember that I blogged about the experience: Anatomy Of A Play in numbers 1 through XII. They may also recall the experience began on a high note but ended in disappointment. My sole compensation for having recorded the event was that it might help some other playwright avoid my mistakes.
With the same hope, I’ve decided to document my efforts to publish my memoir. Unlike the play, I have no backers. This time I’ll be performing a solo, high wire act that begins with some important questions. Shall I seek out an agent? Approach a mid-size publisher, like a university press? Query a small publisher? Or, self-publish.
I have ruled out approaching a small publishing house. Experience tells me an unknown writer has no hope of achieving either literary or monetary success with one of them. Their runways don’t extend far enough for lift-off. That being the case, I’ve decided to start at the top, looking for an agent– the riskiest of the endeavors. Literary agents are attracted to people with a “tribe”– a large following on social media. I don’t belong to a tribe, don’t want to, and have already announced I’ll be pruning my Facebook list this year to better follow those that remain.
I have no doubt that pursuing an agent may be a fool’s game, like hoping for a parking spot in front of L. A. airport. Never mind. I am old. Fear of appearing foolish hasn’t obliged me to cover the mirrors in my apartment. Only one reality sets my nerves aquiver: the encroaching footsteps of the grim reaper and the overwhelming question, “If not now, then when?”
Anyone who wishes to follow my quest should pause at blogs entitled, “Perchance To Dream.” Find me there and together, we’ll blaze a trail through the Tulgey Wood. I cannot guarantee a happy ending, but I can promise an adventure.