When I was nine Dad taught me to fly. No, I don’t mean he took me for a ride, I actually learned to fly the plane – taxi, take off, fly, and land.
One of the most important lessons he taught me was how to get out of a tailspin. Though I don’t remember anymore exactly the coordination of rudder and throttle, I remember that a tailspin is quite a hair-raising experience and had I not possessed complete unquestioning trust in the incredible aeronautical skill of this WWII fighter pilot, I might have been scared.
But now I feel like I’m in a tailspin of a different kind – a writer’s tailspin. The book has taken so many hits from so many different directions I think it is on a downward spiral. But it isn’t a spiral unto crash, because I do know how to get out of it, just it might not happen immediately.
Last post I was telling how the forums shredded the title. Now I’ve found another forum which seems to be more active and possibly more helpful. It’s standards are higher too (you’re supposed to rack up 50 posts to other people’s threads before starting one of your own). This forum is http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums.
Now the tailspin has gone beyond the title; GENRE is the big issue. Is this thing Memoir, or Fantasy, or something else in between? It isn’t fiction because it happened to me, but since over half the book reads like a fantasy, many are saying it needs to be fantasy. Write and market as Memoir and it’s likely not to go anywhere because the Memoir readers don’t expect a fantasy. Write and market it as a Fantasy and I lose impact because that is not real, and the main point of this work is that people should realize this HAPPENED and consider it as potentially impacting their lives also.
Then there’s a questionable category called “nonfiction novel” but that seems to be unrecognized by the majority of the writing community.
I have a counseling session with a pro on Monday, maybe that will give me some answers but it might make the tailspin worse too.
Today a trusted editor friend suggested maybe I need to shelve this one and go for the other book I plan to write, which is in fact the one that everybody was expecting me to write when I started this one – the account of all my incredible experiences in India and how I got there. Granted, it will be a fully “Christian” book whereas Dying to Conquer (or whatever it ends up getting named) is NOT intended to be a Christian book. But it is suggested that getting a successful publication out there will possibly build my credibility as an author, which will increase the potential of Dying to Conquer taking off and/or getting picked up.
And speaking of getting picked up, that’s another dimension of the tailspin – recent advice has revealed that really, truthfully, it’s not wise to jump straight into self-pub. You should at least give “trade” a try, ie do the query/agent thing and at least make an attempt to get “published” in the traditional sense of the term. The forums have revealed that self-publishing is still looked down upon by the mainstream and the larger writing community.
I happened upon a site which has invited me to send the first 15 pages of the manuscript for review, no obligation, so I did. I was quite impressed at this offer and their rates seem reasonable though I haven’t compared them to others yet. Check out Writer’s Relief.