After months of anxious, nail biting waiting, I heard back from The Publisher. While she didn’t exactly say “no”, she didn’t say “yes” either. Upon reviewing her words, she had a lot of really nice things to say. She liked my writing. She said I had an easy, entertaining style, and that I made it look effortless.
Of course, before I could process her compliments, I zeroed in on her final decision – Not As Is. Devastated, I locked myself in my bedroom and cried my eyes out. My art had been misunderstood. I was never going to change my manuscript because it was perfect just the way it was, publishing world be damned!
Fortunately, my pity party only lasted about 10 minutes.
I’m not one to sulk. I like to fix things. In order to get back on track I needed to re-read the e-mail, minus the emotional drama, and consider my options.
What The Publisher didn’t love, was that I pitched my manuscript as a story about my 20 year struggle with a severe Anxiety Disorder, and the anxiety wasn’t front and center. She rightfully felt as it stands, Could Have Been Holly Wood, is more of a general memoir. She welcomed me to email her again if I reorganized my story to match my pitch.
As most writers will tell you, the path to a published book is rarely a paved road. This is a slippery, muddy, uphill climb and it’s up to me what I do next. The way I see it today, I have a few of choices:
A. I can reorganize the manuscript. I could take out the first several chapters that focus on my early years and start where I had my first panic attack when I was thirteen. I could then move things around to sprinkle in my “backstory” about how I came to have that first panic attack in the first place.
B. Keep the manuscript as is, tailor my pitch for a more general memoir, and send it out to other publishers and agents. If they are not interested, there are many options these days for self-publishing.
C. Come up with a compromise. I don’t want my manuscript to be about “Anxiety Disorder Girl”. While the disorder made a major impact on my life, it’s not something I let define me. Given that I lived most of my life thinking my condition was something completely different, I feel like I have a story to tell that is outside of the typical anxiety sufferer. On the other hand, perhaps that is what readers want to know about most, all the other stuff is secondary.
I haven’t decided on a new direction yet. I still have to think about everything and talk it over with some trusted writers and friends. This blog, however, began as a way to share my story on how a book is born. It may be a messy road, but I promise to keep you posted.