Thursday, December 27, 2007

A day of writer's woes

Yesterday could be called a writer’s day of hell. I was so optimistic when it started – raring to get going on my to do list, and by the time it was over I felt like I never wanted to write another word again.
I started out by sending four emails to people I thought could help me find an agent for my memoir – three former teachers and a friend who’s published quite a bit. I heard from two of teachers almost immediately. One said she couldn’t recommend an agent because the five she’s sent her new memoir to have all turned it down. An ominous sign I must say. The second responder who has always been so helpful in the past has gone so far up the food chain in the business of books that he couldn’t recommend without a conflict of interest. The other two haven’t responded yet.
Then I decided to get some poems ready for a chapbook submission. I chose Pudding House recommended by my cousin, Larry. What was intriguing about this group is they accept submissions all the time and usually respond within one day. Their format requirements are strict – no page breaks or page numbers, no formatting of any kind, Time New Roman 11 point font, and everything in one down-loadable file. I took my poetry manuscript and first edited out several poems, added one, and chose a title – Aftermath – and cleared away all the page breaks. I had an updated manuscript ready to go in just about an hour, and I sent it off with the promise of calling in my $12 reading fee as soon as I clicked the send button. That took a couple of tries and finally I spoke directly to the editor – who sounded real friendly. She also assured me I’d hear from her very quickly. I guess she didn’t have much else to do yesterday.
Well, quickly was quite an understatement. It took her just about an hour – maybe less – to read through my document of over 20 poems and decide it wasn’t right for her press, and she noted she gave it “serious” consideration. Less than an hour to look at 20 poems doesn’t seem like serious consideration to me. I wonder if that’s just her way to rip off poor, anxious writers of their measly $12.00. When I got that response just before going to bed last night I wanted to cry.

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