I have been writing since I was a teenager. I never kept journals, but I always thought I would write movie scripts. I ended up writing plays, I like dialogue and was very much into author and screenplay writer, Neil Simon. I loved The Goodbye Girl – 1977.
in 2002 and 2008 my mother developed Dementia and Parkinson’s. For some reason I started writing novels, writing simply popped out of me. I NEVER thought I was suited for novel writing, I am not a big reader AND I am dyslexic. But, when life gives you what it gives you, you must “go with the flow.”
In 2004, I collected my mother’s treasured photographs that she took in New York in the 1950s of movie stars. I turned them into a memoir slash coffee table book titled; TREASURES OF A BRONX WARRIOR; Photographs and Memories of a Devout New Yorker, Movie Star Hopeful and Loving Mother.
I have not had much experience with commercial publishing, but I was so sure someone would be interested in my mom’s pictures that I queried as many agents and publishers who accepted unsolicited submission. I was sure they would be interested especially since in 2010 a few of mom’s pictures were added to an exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (That EXHIBIT continues until April; 17, 2011)
Sadly, I learned a hard lesson about the commercial publishing world, they are not interested in a tiny little book by a tiny unknown author. That world is simply a hard nut to crack. At first I was angry to have publishers and lit agents reject me and I had to wait every few months for each rejection as most of them don’t like multiple submissions. I now find myself turning to self-publishing for my mother’s book, it is a hard task, but rewarding…I think. No, it is, it is rewarding to see your work that you put so much effort into. Self publishing is a world traditional publishers rarely acknowledge, but it is a far better and cheaper experience than maybe 20 years ago. And once you see the finished project, well it is am amazing accomplishment and feeling.
I am currently busting my a** putting the book together by myself using an online publishing company, one I had used before, Lulu.com. Once it is complete I will have to spend money getting it drafted, then more money publishing it then I will have to get involved in marketing which I am not good at, nor do I have money for. But, I am not complaining, well not much.
I am learning what I have known almost all my adult life, WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, DO IT YOURSELF! Nothing has ever come easy for me or for most people I suspect. I never had things fall into my lap, nor have I had things handed to me. I never knew just the right people or had friends in “high places.” Everything I have ever acquired came from my having to work hard for it. Nothing wrong with hard work, although, working hard without much support can be draining.
I may not be known, I am not well-educated in writing with an agent like J.K. Rowling was when she started her Harry Potter books; I am not as skilled a writer as Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou, no one even knows who I am as I have few Facebook friends and You Tube visitors. But, I am determined to see my mother’s book to fruition. I am not looking for stardom or riches, writing a novel is no lottery ticket, unless you are J.K, Rowling, I truly admire that woman! But, it can be rewarding if good fortune shines on you.
Again I stress, when all else fails, do it yourself! I will stick by that mantra as I know in my heart my mother’s book is important enough to be seen by people all over the world. It is a great accomplishment not just to my tiny family and to me, but it also shows the strength of a parent who was determined and ambitious enough to hold on to her hobby despite having raised children. She never let my brother and me get in the way of her cameras and photographs. She loved us and she loved her hobbies. I think that is the sign of a balanced parent.
Onward and upward I shall go. And in the end I will help get my mother’s work noticed and I will take the credit for being the woman who conquered the publishing world all by herself! Doing it by yourself is hard work, but hard work almost always pays off. At least that is what I will always believe.