Monday, April 9, 2012

Course Correction Called For



One of my sayings I’m always saying is this – Persist Till You Prevail.

I have been working on a memoir for what feels like longer than it took the story itself to happen. The duration of this project has nothing to do with inadequate work ethic or lack of belief in my subject matter.

The duration of this project is all about course corrections.

Originally I was writing the story of my cancer experience and the many generous people who carried me – sometimes literally – from the dark center of my illness to a bright place on the other side.

The first two course corrections had to do with the title. I barely remember the early options – mostly because they were hardly memorable. Until I finally hit the mark. Lifted to the Light: A Story of Struggle and Kindness. That not only sounded right. It felt right too.

Less comfortable was the correction that came after an editor in the know from a publisher in the mainstream offered her altered course suggestion. Too many cancer books out there, she said. She liked the voice and the storytelling and wanted to see more of those – but different.

Which shifted my course to writing a lifelong tale of being lifted by caring souls again and again. Unfortunately that was not really the story I had to tell. So – though I’ve had considerable experience with writing to spec – this particular correction led pretty much nowhere.

Back I went to the original story – what I hoped was an inspiring account of struggling through my toughest life challenge so far. With its own direction corrected this time toward the changes wrought upon the character named “I” at the center of the scenario.

BUT – it was still a cancer story and mainstream publishing was still not in the market for those. Even though my agent pronounced the writing “exquisite” and set my writer’s heart pitter-pattering all the way to the next course change.

Digital Publishing! It turns out that this had been my preferred course from the start – especially if mine is in fact a niche story. E-pub has a way of aiming at niche targets and finding them.

The point being that all of this flexibility and course correcting could have turned me into a pretzel – and occasionally did. But more important it twisted my work in a direction that just might work for my work and for me.

I am now told that my next course must be a crash course in internet marketing. So here I go into pretzel mode again – Persisting Till I Prevail.

4 comments:

Alfie T. said...

I'll be watching with interest, Alice, hoping to hear about your experiences along the way.

Alfie

Alfie T. said...

I'll be watching with interest, Alice, hoping to hear about your indy e-pup experiences on the way. Keep us posted.

Alfie

Alfie T. said...

I'll be watching with interest, Alice, hoping to hear about your experiences along the way.

Alfie

Alice Orr said...

Alfie... How wonderful to hear from you... I have to admit that I am not entirely "indy" here because the production end of the manuscript into e-book process will be handled via my agent and her team... If I had to do that myself -- the cover design and layout and fine tuning of the bells and whistles -- I'm not sure I would have the courage to continue... It is daunting enough that I am going to undertake online marketing.. Again however it looks like I will have the advantage of being mentored by a pro... Still I have no doubt that this will be an adventure and I will also no doubt report on what I learn along the way... Stay tuned... But most important be well and prosper.