Notes from Alexis: Finally, she realizes that only she can get her books promoted. Thus the ‘Query and Synopsis’ to be sent to agents, will reluctantly go out.
Well, I guess you think the old folks sit around and do nothing, when in fact it is a beehive of activity down here. Of course to an outsider, it might well look like we sit around and do nothing, but hang on and I’ll give you a detailed tour.
First, I am going to tell you about a change of heart of mine, a complete turn around of attitude, the big 180’. Always trust my authors (the books I read). When I read a book by a favored writer and he or she mentions another writer, I dutifully go down and get that writer’s books.
This happened to me with Jesse Stuart. Someone mentioned him, so I wrote his name on my “Get List.” When I went to the library I was dismayed to find ten or more titles. Where to start? I finally settled on his non-fiction as my first book; and I wasn’t too thrilled to see that he considered himself first and foremost a poet. I then proceeded to read all my other books, but his. I just kept putting him off. Then I couldn’t delay any longer, and with an ‘Oy Vey,’ I settled in to the task. It bothers me that all of the good things that have come to me, have been met with suspicion and resistance (by me). I have to be practically dragged to them, and forced, so to speak, to taste. Does that sound like an educated woman with an “Open mind?” (No)
I still haven’t read his fiction (some poetry, and since I don’t like it, it must be poetry). The four books I have read have changed my attitude and I find it strange. I believe a close scrutiny of the writers who have deeply affected me and why, would make for an interesting study for those who enjoy puzzles.
Not to give the plot away too much, because I want you to read his books, Jesse was born in 1901 in Kentucky and lived a life that is better than a novel, maybe too fictitious for a novel. His life and his writing are so good, and he never gave up. And this turned me around. I thought, “If a writer like him can get rejection after rejection, then publishers are just assholes, and I can’t get upset about them.”
So I changed my attitude. Now I see that being a “WRITER!’’ (quotes, bold face type, exclamation point and underline – – is that a case of overkill do you think?) is like being a “POTTER.” Once you get over the thrill of it all, it is just a business like any other. Can you remember when you were ‘Scared’ to say you were a potter?
I could see I was going to have to learn the business end (Publishing) of being a big ‘W,’ so I had to get busy. After umpteen “How-To” books, I now know that:
(a) That I am just too ignorant and uneducated to conduct my own selling. It doesn’t scare me now, but I am no better at selling words than I was at selling weaving.
(b) I, therefore, need an agent, and in order to get an agent, I have to write the Query letter and the Synopsis. Both of these are things I have adamantly resisted.
(C) I no longer call them “rejections.” Now they are just “returns.” Nothing personal, just merchandise that didn’t sell. The timing was wrong or the market was soft, or the publisher is all tapped out, whatever.
I will use Dad as the guinea pig. He had no interest in reading EAB at all, so if my synopsis can sell him it might sell an agent. Agents have a lot of reluctance to take on new and unproven writers.
So how’s it going with you? I’ll bet you thought I would never get around to you. Dad went ice skating down on the river, so now you know how cold it has been. He has fallen in love with the Frugal Gourmet (me too) who has a cooking show on PBS, and Dad wants one of your steamers. We’ll buy if you have any left. If not, put in our order for when you get the steam up in the Outback Pottery again.
Well have to quit, and Q&S (Query & Synopsis), brother, is that a task I’m not looking forward to. About like making handles for pots.