I think I'm ready. I have found the perfect agent, and I hope she notices me. She is looking for literary fiction and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, history and biography. She is particularly interested in multicultural topics and women's issues.
Unfortunately, she prefers writers with credentials. I have none.
1. write a query letter with a detailed description of my project.
2. create a detailed bio or resume
3.check several major bookstores for memoirs like mine, and make comparisons
4.take pictures of my old neighborhood
5. play with the pictures in Adobe PhotoShop
6. take all the stuff I've written so far and put it in chronological order, because I think the story is better that way
7.create a chapter outline... that's the toughie. I haven't decided if I'll have 10 chapters -one for each year, or chapters grouped by subject -i.e. violence, earning money, funny things, etc.
8. I may need to find a good editor, too. (sigh)
I never thought it would be so life-consuming to write a book. I understand now the allegory to birthing a baby. This book is definately my baby. I don't really care if nobody wants to look at it because it's ugly... it's still mine. Besides, some truly fabulous writers out there are checking my progress daily; that has to mean something, right? I used to check my counter stats and laugh over the searches that brought people to my site. Now 2/3rds of my hits are direct or referred from those excellent writers I mentioned above.
I have a lot of confidence in my book. I've seen the reactions of the people I've shared my work-in-progress with, and most of them are slavering for more. Chasmyn is the big exception. I value her opinion above all others, and what I'm writing about doesn't interest her. She lived through the same kind of stuff, why re-read it? She listens politely whenever I tell her my latest story, and is amazingly supportive. I've read a lot of books that suck so badly I wonder why the publishing house bothered with them. The writing is dis-jointed, the story flows roughly-if it flows at all, they're too wordy or too shallow, yet they get published! I'm at a point right now where I'm trembling just thinking about the work ahead of me that might result in a big financial zero.
I can always self-publish, and sometimes I think that would be easier. For once I don't want to take the easy road. I want to throw myself into this completely. I want to go for broke, and see if I succeed. I'l never know unless I put everything I have into it.
And everything I have is a considerable amount!