You Can Do It!
by Mary Elizabeth Moloney, Heart Whisperings, author of Elizabeth: Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out, www.heartwhisperings.wordpress.com
I retired from Pathways Community Hospice in 2001 and began writing my memoir, Elizabeth: Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out. Years of courses and seminars followed, and nineteen drafts later, a clean manuscript emerged. During its composition, others critiqued chapters and urged publication -- in my perception, a bewildering world of literary editors, big and small houses, and political intrigue. Marketing and promoting workshops decried self-publishing as unprofessional and expensive. In no way could you call yourself an author. Besides, no bookstores would carry such books.
Questions assailed me. Who would handle my memoir, narrating my movement toward authentic womanhood, casting off crippling influences of family, church, and patriarchy in the health care world in which I had worked? Would literary editors and small presses, researched in the 2010 and 2011 Writers Market, understand the spiritual depths of my memoir, the intent of the critical dreams prodding me toward change? Given the splintering effects of the Women’s Movement since its 1960s inception, would my experiences find a niche among serious readers? And given my senior years and lack of computer expertise, who would guide me toward the publication of my memoir? Yet my inner writer insisted that I find a way to publish my memoir.
After one year of sending off query letters to possible venues, of playing around with a literary editor in Denver and a small press in O’Fallon, Missouri, I withdrew, wanting more input in the design of my book. Self-publishing seemed my only option.
Through SLPA meetings, I learned of sea-changes occurring in the book publishing industry: the waning influence of the big houses, the political jockeying of literary editors, the greed of small presses wanting a cut in the business, the phenomenon of e-books. Prompted by experiences of self-published authors, I contacted a local digital publishing company that offered guidance to new authors. After seven months of frustration, I canceled their contract.
Only then did I meet Bobbi Linkemer, SLPA member and book coach. She listened to my story and urged me to recoup my initial investment. Within the week, the check came. She also advised me to start over with graphic designer Peggy Nehmen. Our collaboration was more than fruitful. Six months later, CreateSpace delivered onto my front porch five boxes of my memoir, Elizabeth:Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out, and it is now available on Amazon.
At book signings, I urge others to write their one-of-a-kind story and make it available to others, a means of giving thanks for all that was and of moving toward an even more fascinating future. This has been my experience.