Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Memoir Rejection

After editing my memoir manuscript one more time, I recently made a last ditch effort to send proposals to ten small presses, and I have so far received rejections from three.

Two of these rejections were from long-shots, and I pretty much expected them.  But one was from a press I really had my heart set on.  It seemed to be the perfect match for my work, and I daydreamed about how great it would be to be published by this press.  

So when I got their rejection on December 21 - just days before Christmas - it really hurt.  I was disappointed, disillusioned, and also annoyed that they couldn't have waited a week, or until after the new year to send their email rejection.

But what really irked me is that the person who sent the rejection took the time to write about how much she liked my work.

"...  you are a wonderful wordsmith.  I enjoyed the sample chapters you sent...  While I find the story interesting, I cannot express further interest.  Memoirs are indeed a hard genre for publishers;markets have been saturated and we have trouble getting the sales that we need.  I am sorry to write this disappointing news; it is more of a business decision than a critique of the work." 

When I complained about this rejection to my friends they all said how wonderful it was for me to get such a nice response.  What?!!??!   This response infuriated me.  I have been rejected in spite of being a "wordsmith," and in spite of writing an interesting story.  If this editor is sincerely being honest, than I can only conclude that the reason my work has been rejected is because my story is in the form of a memoir.

Can that be true??   Has the memoir genera sunk so low in respect that it is now being summarily rejected?   (Excepting those which are guaranteed to sell a million copies, of course.)

This rejection came from a university press.  Not a big publishing house.  And so you'd think they'd be interested in literary merit.  But apparently not.

I was also annoyed by the statement about the market being saturated with memoirs.  That's a lie.  I love reading literary memoir.  It's my number one choice in reading material.  And I can't find enough of it.  The problem is that the market is saturated with too much self-published crap. I'm afraid the memoir genera is now too often associated with poorly written, self-indulgent stories of woe. And what a shame that is.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Year

A year has gone by since I last posted to this blog,   A YEAR.  How is that possible?   It's true that I have had a lot of other distractions, but it is also true (as cliche's tend to be)  that time goes by much faster as you age.  Time flies.  As they say.

For the last few years I have been diligent about keeping track of the events in my life in a little notebook.  I have been jotting down the dates of trips, gatherings, visits, illnesses, celebrations, milestones, etc...   So that when a whole year goes by in a flash at least I can look back and see where it went.

It's pretty darn handy.  I have recorded the last five years in this inexpensive little notebook, which I started keeping  when I became lax in keeping a journal.

In truth I was never much of a journalist.  I am more of a diarist. And I have discovered, since meeting my paternal siblings for the first time last year, that I come by this naturally.  Genetically.

It amused me to learn that two of my new-found siblings are life-long diarists and archivists.

In my diary I have recorded quite a few significant and notable events for 2015 so far:  I got married.  Had two wedding receptions.  Finished my book.  Traveled to Chicago, Kansas, California, and northern Michigan.  Found my ex-husband's birth parents.  Spent a lot of quality time with my grandchildren.  Suffered from nosebleeds, Vertigo, dirt in my eye, and a bout of bronchitis.  And, most recently, battled a pooping possum in my backyard.