In the first part of my adventure, I shared how I pitched my book to a panel of publishers, book dealers, and others. As exciting and promising as the entire process was, I was eventually informed that unfortunately, I was not one of the people chosen for publishing.
My hopes were raised when I received a call informing me that my last chance was for MF Publishing (an imprint of Jacana Media) to accept my manuscript for publishing. However, the founder, Melinda Ferguson, told me that my story was good, but she wanted exceptional.
Absorbing the critique, feeling hurt and inadequate, I decided to go ahead and self-publish anyway, after another round of rewriting and editing.
During this period of half-hearted rewriting, not really knowing what I was doing, I came across an ad on Facebook. Melinda Ferguson was starting an 8-week online course on writing memoirs. I immediately signed up.
The next eight weeks were amazing.
We participated in the course mainly through a private Facebook group and various other mediums. I learned so much and met amazing storytellers from all walks of life with diverse experiences to share. Initially, I found myself completely intimidated, but as I dared to open up and write more authentically, I found freedom.
The words seemed to fly out of me and I loved every moment of working through the exercises. As the group encouraged one another, we became braver and shared more. I’m told that my writing grew, as did my confidence and desire to write more. The schedule was relentless but doable, and the pressure was good for me.
Too quickly, it came to the final assignment, where we had to write or rewrite the first chapter of our intended memoir.
Oh my. Something went wrong. I kept working on it. Writing and rewriting. Editing and checking. In my heart, I knew that it wasn’t good, but I ran out of time and had to send it in.
In my one-on-one with Melinda, I nervously looked at her bemused expression on my computer screen. Trying to sound as sweet as possible, she spluttered out, “What the fuck happened?” My freedom was floored.
I fell back into fear and couldn’t find the same flow as during the course. Disappointment again. However, this time I knew that there was something within me to mine. It certainly was not time to give up. Then she threw me a lifebuoy.
“Karen, I’m not saying that this will be published, but I am prepared to mentor you over a period as you work on your memoir, and let’s see where it takes us.”
Fist pumps on the inside and a demure smile on my face, I instantly took up her offer. And this is where we currently stand. I am slowly starting again and rewriting and we will be going through a mentoring process.