January 24, 2016
In 2015 I had eight pieces and three book reviews accepted into journals and anthologies. An essay received Pushcart Prize and “Best of the Net” nominations. I was a finalist in a short fiction contest. The Studios of Key West awarded me a month long residency. This was my best year ever as far as the numbers of acceptances. Of course, it was in the context of thirty-three rejections. Which isn’t bad. There have been years that I’ve had that many rejections in response to a single story or essay.
I also gave eight presentations and/or book signings this past year—a decent number but much less than the year before—my novel launch year. And I went to about fifteen talks and signings by other authors. And I read thirty-seven books (It used to be around seventy a year, but using my iPhone and computer in bed at night has had a devastating effect on my reading time.) And I posted many ratings and short reviews of these books on Amazon and Goodreads, but not enough.
Then there was the memoir manuscript that a publisher showed excitement about. But after a six-month discussion of whether a Spring or Fall release would be best, the deadlines for various stages, the selection of a cover image, and two rounds of revision the publisher decided not to pursue the project. By this point, I agreed with the publisher. We had different perspectives on the memoir and what it should be about at its core. It was the best decision, but still, it took mental and emotional regrouping on my part. And a keeping of trust in the writing and the story.
Here are my 2016 plans for navigating this twisty path of writing and publishing. Write more reviews. Be a good literary citizen. Keep putting the memoir on agents’ and publishers’ desks. Read more books. Finish the first draft of this next novel. (I’m close. I think.) Write more essays. Rack up a respectable number of rejections that are, hopefully, sprinkled with an occasional “we wish to publish your . . .”