Tag Archives: memoir

New class from Nicole Hardy & Suzanne Morrison!

Some of you may be familiar with authors, writing instructors, and forces of nature Nicole Hardy and Suzanne Morrison. Some of you may have even taken their class, The Art of Getting Started. Well, they’re doing again, and this time bringing all new prompts to the table.

On July 16, this talented and insightful pair with host a one-day workshop designed to get the juices and words flowing. For anyone who’s stuck or just needs to jump-start their writing, this is the perfect way back into your work.

Here are the deets:

The Art of Getting Started Redux, with Nicole Hardy and Suzanne Morrison

In this one-day generative class, we’ll focus on how and where and why to begin. Both instructors will provide writing prompts, short readings, and discussion topics in a five-hour attempt to face down the blank white page. We’ll keep in mind what Hemingway said—“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of sh*t. I try to put the sh*t in the wastebasket”—and fill our notebooks to brimming. Who knows what surprises we’ll find as we create the starts (or middles, or ends) of several new pieces.

When: July 16, 11am–4pm
Where: Tulinda Yoga Studio, 618 West McGraw Street, Queen Anne
Who: Suitable for beginning and emerging writers of fiction and creative non-fiction
How much: $200
Lunch
: BYO, or buy nearby

To register: Send name, phone, and email to beingnicolehardy@gmail.com Payment arrangements will be made upon receipt, via Paypal, Venmo,  or personal check. Your payment in full confirms your registration and reserves your spot.

What to bring: Bring something on which to write, be it paper and pencil or laptop. (Please charge up before coming and bring your power cord, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your charging needs.) Please also bring your mobile coffee mug or water bottle and beverage of choice. And an extra layer always helps keep everyone in the room comfortable.

 Teachers: Nicole Hardy‘s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, was a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Her other books include the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling, a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Her work has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and has been adapted for radio and stage. Her essay, “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone,” was noted in 2012’s Best American Essays. She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and serves on the board at Mineral School Artist Residency. Learn more at authornicolehardy.com

Suzanne Morrison is the author of Yoga Bitch (Random House/Three Rivers Press), which was a Crosscut Best Northwest Book of 2011 and has been translated into six languages. A recipient of 4Culture and Artist Trust grants, Suzanne is at work on a new memoir and a collection of short fiction. Her fiction and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Litro, Salt HillWashington Square, Printers Row, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She teaches memoir and fiction at Hugo House and at Veteran Centers through the Red Badge Program. Learn more at suzanne-morrison.com.

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New Author Success Story: Geraldine DeRuiter

Geraldine DeRuiter is a Seattle-based writer and admittedly hapless traveler who founded the awesome travel blog, The EvGeraldine DeRuiter Picerywhereist. We were excited to learn she landed her first book deal—and to hear her tale of multiple rejections, confusing feedback, despair, perseverance, and finally, success! She’s a great reminder of the thick skin we all need to develop if we want to find the right home for our books. Read her story, pass it on, get inspired. You could be next!

What’s the title of the book and who’s publishing it?
The working title is ALL OVER THE PLACE—a humorous guide to life from a travel expert who finds out that if you are trying to find yourself, getting lost is a great place to start. It will be published by Public Affairs in summer 2017, because sometimes god gets drunk and dreams come true.

Tell us how this book came about. What inspired you?
I’ve been blogging for years on my site The Everywhereist, and the book felt like a natural counterpart to that. I realized I’d started withholding certain stories on the blog. At first, I was just stockpiling them for my therapist, but then I decided to compile them into a book, which I’m pretty sure is how the entire genre of memoirs originated.

Can you share some insights on the chain of events that lead to your book deal?
It has been a nonstop ride on an Emotional Roller Coaster followed by a spin on the Drama Ferris Wheel. And then a visit to the Funhouse of Rejection. (Metaphors, y’all.)

I started writing the book two years ago, and I sent a sample chapter out to various agents. The feedback on that one chapter was very positive (though there was one or two harsh rejections), and a few agents asked to read the entire manuscript. After that, the rejections just rolled in! It was like Christmas morning, and every gift was debilitating self-doubt! Most of them said that they felt my manuscript required too much work before they could pitch it to publishers.

The feedback was really inconsistent, which was pretty frustrating. I heard that it wasn’t unique enough, I heard that it was too esoteric. I heard that it tried to do too much (it was both a travel and a personal memoir) or that it did too little, and didn’t have a unique hook. No one could agree on what was wrong with the book and what needed to be fixed.

However, there were a few agents that were actually interested. The problem was, their visions for the book didn’t really match mine, or I didn’t really feel like they were someone I could work with. Weirdly, my eventual agent, Zoe Sandler, who is just wonderful, actually contacted me. She’d seen an article I’d written for Good Housekeeping, and from there she found my blog and saw that I was looking for representation. I really liked her. And she believed in my work.

I told Zoe I wanted to revise my draft before sending it to her, so I spent a few months polishing it up. She then read it and gave me some feedback and changes which I rolled into the manuscript, and she started pitching it to publishers early this year. The response, considering how many agents passed on the manuscript, was surprisingly good. And in the end, I had several interested parties, so the manuscript went to auction. So now there were different publishers bidding on a book that numerous agents had told me didn’t have a chance.

How did you handle the challenges along the way?
I cried and told my husband that I was never writing again and that I was a talentless hack who had wasted her life.

Seriously. (I take rejection really badly. I should have never become a writer.)

So I decided to throw myself back into blogging, which is what I had been doing for a while. One day, after getting a really brutal rejection, I decided to write a post and I told my husband it was going to go viral. And then it did. I got half a million visitors to my blog in less than a month. It was a good reminder that there were people out there—probably not normal people, but people nonetheless—who wanted to read what I had to say.

I also had an amazing support system and people to talk to. My husband, Rand, is my biggest fan, and he was so supportive to the point of being annoying (sometimes, you just want to wallow in self-doubt and misery, you know? And he did not let me.) And I swear I’m not saying this because it’s her website or because she bribed me with baked goods, but talking to Kerry Colburn (of Jen & Kerry fame) was super helpful and always picked me up. She reminded me that there were always ways to publish this book—I could even do it myself. Knowing that made the rejection easier to take.

What surprised you during the publishing process?
That in the end, the rejections are sort of irrelevant. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. It’s like falling in love. You just need to find the one right person—the one right agent and the one right publisher—who thinks that you are amazing. That there will be lots of people who don’t think that your book is that great, and there will be a few who will think that it’s wonderful and they’re the ones who can make amazing things happen.

What’s one thing you’d like to say to other burgeoning authors?
You suck way less than you think you do. Trust me.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently in the editing process for ALL OVER THE PLACE, which is fun and agonizing. My manuscript should be completely done by this summer, and after that I’d like to get back to blogging. I also have a few other ideas for my next book. I think it’s going to be a feminist memoir, and the concept I’m toying with has the potential to be really unique and fun. I’m excited about it. But I need to get this one done first.

Anything else you’d like to share?
My husband said something to me recently that I really, really liked. I was having trouble with a chapter of the book, and I told him I wasn’t a good writer. And his reply was, “Of course you are. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you are bad at it. Writing is hard even for good writers.”

That was sort of revelatory, because it reminded me that it’s the process itself that is difficult. So you just need to keep at it.

 

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New Author Success Story: Anne McTiernan

Anne McTiernan took our UW class last spring to work on her proposal, and we were thrilled to hear that she scored a book deal for her memoir, StarvedFH_AnneMcTiernan_2616Writers, remember: book deals DO happen, and they happen every day. We share these success stories to give you insights from real people going through the publishing process, and to inspire and motivate you to keep going! Here’s Anne’s story.

What is the title of your book, and who will be publishing it?
Starved: A Nutrition Doctor’s Journey from Empty to Full by Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD. It’s a poignant memoir of a girl who endured childhood emotional and physical deprivation, a binge-eating disorder, and abuse, to find love, strength, and happiness.It will be published by Central Recovery Press in November 2016.

Tell us how this book came about. What inspired you?
After reading Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, a memoir of his miserable Irish Catholic upbringing, I was inspired to write about my miserable Irish-American Catholic upbringing.

Can you share some insights on the chain of events that lead to your book deal?
I sent queries to many agents, received some positive responses, and went with an excellent agent who was ready to work with me without a delay of several months. I received many rejections—that seems to be unavoidable in this business.

How did you handle any challenges you faced? Did you seek out professional services or other help along the way?
There’s a saying among doctors in training: “See one, do one, teach one.” I naively thought that I’d be able to whip off my memoir, but soon found out that creative writing requires a lot of learning and practice. So I sought help. I took the University of Washington Certificate Program in Memoir with Theo Nestor, and also took her Advanced Memoir course. Then, when I had a completed manuscript, I worked with two excellent book advisors/editors: Claire Dederer and Jennifer D. Munro. Finally, when I was ready to find an agent and publisher, I took Jen & Kerry’s UW course, “Publishing Your Book in Today’s Marketplace.”

What surprised you during the publishing process?
I had previously published a health advice book (Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer, St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and was surprised at how much more challenging and competitive the business has become. Another surprising thing I learned with both books is that the author has to be actively marketing the book, and can’t expect that the publisher will do all of that.

What’s been the best aspect about getting a book deal?
It’s very rewarding to have a publisher get excited about my book, and to commit to share it with the world.

What’s next for you?
I’m learning a lot about marketing! I’m also working on a memoir about my medical school years.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I highly recommend the information provided by Business of Books—Jen and Kerry covered exactly the things I needed to know for developing a query letter and book proposal.
(Thanks, Anne!)

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What’s your publishing resolution for 2015? Talking books on New Day Northwest

New Day Northwest picWe had the pleasure of talking with Margaret Larson on New Day Northwest this morning about resolutions that matter, namely getting a book deal in 2015! To that end, we talked about our upcoming retreat, Women & Words at Willows Lodge. From January 31–February 1, women are invited to come to the Willows Lodge in Woodinville and refocus on their book project.

No matter your genre or where you are in the writing process, our publishing retreat will give you all the tools and intel to complete a slammin’ proposal and submit with confidence in short order. Nothing makes us sadder than thinking about unsubmitted manuscripts. We demystify the process and break everything down into doable, digestible tasks you can complete in just a few weeks. We promise. Check out our New Day Northwest segment here.

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Publishing tip o’ the week: What is a book proposal?

Your path to publication all starts with a solid book proposal. Here, we offer our manifesto on the importance of a book proposal, the roadmap for your publishing journey.

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