After I had finished writing my book, I didn’t think it would be too hard to find an agent or a publisher. I mean, everyone was telling me how good it was and how important it was. Ok, at least that one person in my writing group said so. And she was really smart.
I worked really hard on my query letter and sent it out to about a dozen agents. I picked the ones who weren’t asking for a full-blown proposal. Because who has the time for that? Besides, I am an artist. I just couldn’t be bothered.
I waited and continued to send out queries one by one to agents and small, independent publishing houses.
When nothing happened, I wrote a new query letter.
Months passed and still nothing.
I started thinking about self-publishing.
So, this weekend is dedicated to making that big push. Writing the proposal, sending it out. Contacting anyone who might be able to help with my publishing goal.
If I come up empty, I’ll be able to say I gave it my best shot.
I’ll self-publish because there is a dearth of butch stories out there. I believe in the power of stories. I believe in the power of telling your story. I believe in the power of seeing yourself in someone else’s story.
It’s like that C.S. Lewis quote: “We read to know we are not alone.”
As I try to summarize my writing, I come up with this:
These are my stories. The ones that keep me up at night. The ones that appear on re-play in my head no matter how hard I try to shake them off. They are stories about what it’s like to grow up different. They are stories about what it’s like to live as a butch decades before you actually become one. They are stories about hurt, shame, loneliness and wanting something that you can’t quite put your finger on. In the end, they are stories about love and acceptance, because if you never learn to love yourself, who will? These are my stories. But I have a feeling they are many other people’s stories, too.
I think of Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle. The first time I read it, I wished I had read it 20 years earlier. I think it would have prompted me to come out much earlier in life.
I think of Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon’s Gender Failure. The first time I read it, I cry (shhh … don’t tell anyone), because I still didn’t believe people wrote books for people like me.
Books mean something beyond the mere words printed on their pages. Don’t ever doubt that.
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What about you? Which book has been most influential in your life?