Publishing Trials

It has been fourteen months since I have written anything on this blog, because I have been consumed with trying to find a literary agent interested enough in my story to consider representing me. As I anticipated, it has been quite a daunting task.

Along the way, I have stopped to rewrite and rearrange portions of the book, so that now, what was written last year has been completely reordered thanks to the suggestion of my new friend, Bumblebee, from Bumblebee Trails.  Dad’s story now begins on the train leaving Moscow in 1942 as he reflects upon the events leading up to that day. I still have weaved letters to him into the story, explaining my journey in learning what happened to him and his family.

Composing each query letter has been an evolutionary process also, as I continue to research how to compose the various queries as well as analyze what may pique the interest of an individual agent. I am prepared that no one will take the bait and when that happens, I will self-publish my book and go from there.

I have only sent out forty-one queries during this time. Part of the difficulty is that this genre–narrative nonfiction– is not of interest to as many agents as a good mystery or romance. Each agent has a different requirement for submission, and many want only a one-page query. If I am lucky, I am able to include a few chapters to show my writing style.

So far, I have received no requests for more chapters. I wonder if the problem is my query, the subject, or the fact that what I reveal in just a few pages is not meaty enough to solicit a request for more. As I receive each rejection or no response at all, I remember Dad and his family, who never gave up. I gleam hope by authors such as Kathryn Stockett, writer of The Help, who apparently received sixty rejections before an agent accepted her book or children’s writer, and Judy Blume, who received two years of rejections.

My plan is to keep on plugging along this route until the end of 2015, and at that time, I will make a decision about whether to continue, or self-publish.

If anyone out there has any personal experience to guide me, I welcome the assistance.

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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