My new memoir has bounced back from yet another publisher. I’ve been writing this manuscript  for more years than I care to think about. Perhaps I sent it out too early? Probably, but I am impatient.

Back story of my new memoir

As some of the readers of this blog already know, my new memoir is the story of how John and I eloped when we were seventy and the early years of our marriage. I hope one day it will sit on my bookshelf alongside my first book, Other People’s Country.

My first memoir
My first memoir

The ‘friendly readers’ of my work were kind. They said they liked my new memoir. They made many sensible suggestions about how it could be improved. I took their comments to heart. I rewrote sentences, paragraphs, chapters.

Dr Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow a friendly reader of my new memoir
Dr Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow a friendly reader of my new memoir

My granddaughter, Dr Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow, is the perhaps bravest of my friendly readers. She read my memoir closely. Her notes were painstaking. She pointed out a  lack of cohesiveness between the woman she knows and the narrator of my memoir. Of course she was right. But I didn’t know how to fix the problems to which she’d alerted me.

At that point I turned my back on the whole venture. John and I went on a holiday. Perhaps there were two holidays? I read a lot. My house was very clean and tidy, even the laundry cupboards.

When I returned to my new memoir, I knew Jane-Heloise was right. So I rewrote the manuscript.

Christina Houen from Perfect Words Editing has edited it. I have a deep respect for Christina’s judgement. She suggested structural and other changes.

Another rewrite. Was that number one-hundred and twenty-nine?  By that time, I’d lost count.

Publishers’ comments about my new memoir

I’m pleased that my memoir has had favourable comments from publishers.  Here are a selection:

  • This is a brave book.
  • It is ultimately one of those sweet and life-affirming reads.
  • The writing is well paced.
  • With minor changes it could be a rather beautiful, ultimately rewarding, love-and-life-story.
  • This is not just an unusual love story, but also has great insights into ageing, aged care, families, religion and relationships in later life.

In the end, it boils down to the fact that they also say, ‘It does not fit our list’. Old age is not sexy enough!

Marriage at 70 plus
Marriage at 70 plus (Photo by Elizabeth Worts)

I’ve spent years on this book. I can’t bear the thought that it will take up space with the two novels that I have not published.

To self-publish has become an obvious solution. This sounds like a new adventure. It will be a new learning curve, one I’m looking forward to.

I’d love to hear what you think about self-publishing.

14 replies on “My new memoir – decision”

  1. Hi Maureen,
    It’s a shame you’re not closer…I’m booked to teach a course in self publishing at Croydon U3A next term, after an enthusiastic small class at Manningham U3A last term.
    You should seriously consider self-publishing.
    Remember, a publishers do three things; they ensure the quality (via editing and design), arrange production, and – most importantly – manage the marketing and distribution.
    Their business model is based on the technology that was established a long long time ago. These days the most relevant thing left in the traditional publishing business model is the management of quality – via editing and design. If a writer can arrange their own, the rest (production, marketing and distribution) is not very difficult. it is entirely feasible to arrange production on demand….
    Best regards to you and John

    1. Lovely to hear from you Mark, and very reassuring. Thanks for taking time to comment. I do wish I was closer to you and Nena, not just for the course you are facilitating. That sounds wonderful. I’m confident about Christina’s editing; I have asked a designer to do the cover, and very much like the way we’ve discussed the project. Peter Stone (my brother) is keen to produce the book (print copies and then Print On Demand) and to arrange ebook production. He is also able and willing to manage the marketing and distribution. What else do I need to think about? Thanks for your confidence in the process. Love to you and Nena and to your beautiful daughters.

  2. Maureen, I think you’ve made the right decision, and I’m sure that you have all the resources you need, with your own past experience and Peter’s expertise. Especially as he’s offered to do marketing and distribution. Are you going to do e-book too? You’ve had some lovely responses; you’re lucky: I just get the ‘it doesn’t fit our list’. But I think they also take more notice if you’ve already published a book. There’s no doubt in my mind that mainstream publishing now is entirely commercially driven, whatever the agendas of individual publishers. It makes me sick when I see so many books being published that I don’t think are at all well written or engaging. Not to deny that many are published that are.

    I have had a similar experience to you, except that, apart from my academic publishing, I haven’t had a book published yet. So I will be making the same decision, once I have enough cash. As I don’t have a relative able to do the production, it will have to wait until after my trip to Scotland next April — the trip of a lifetime for me!

    I”m sure your book will find a warm audience. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Christina. Yes, I’m sure it is the right decision! It took me ages to come to it, but now I feel relieved.

      I didn’t know you were going to Scotland! That’s wonderful.

      Your comments about mainstream publishing resonate with me. And I’m interested that you are waiting until you come back from your trip to think about publishing in an alternative way. Perhaps we should talk about it further. And yes, to the question of e-publishing, as well. Peter has the capacity to do that, as well. My only real problem now is design, but I think I’ve sorted that.

  3. Maybe try America first. America might want to publish it.

    1. Thanks, Lauren, but I’ve set the wheels in motion for self-publishing this one. I didn’t even consider overseas publication, I must confess.

  4. Don’t feel disheartened, Maureen. Writing your story is important and I have no doubt it will get into the hands of readers who will love it, no matter HOW it gets there. Congratulations on the wonderful positive feedback you have received, and I commend your courage to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite, even when it hurt. Sending good writing vibes your way.

    1. You are very kind, Emily. Thanks for such positive feedback, and the good writing vibes. I really appreciate the support and hope you are right about readers who will love my new book.

  5. I’m not sure the world really understands digital printing. I have been involved in the printing industry since parents took me to work in a basinet and I have still not fully embraced the concept.
    Gone are the huge costs involved in setting up a printing job. Now we see it on the screen, choose a printer and print. Main decision is how many to print. There is a lot of matching machinery that allows us to finish the print jobs almost as easily.
    Print on demand basically means that you pay for what you get. and it’s pay as you go.
    Once you have done the clever part of the writing and design process. production is not really rocket science and is certainly not as complicated as people would have you believe.
    Don’t be scared of the process of production. the scary bit is the writing

    1. That’s reassuring, Peter. I’m still very nervous about self-publishing, even though you make it sound easy! And I still can’t quite grasp the concept of costing for print on demand, even though you’ve told me it is not expensive and the author makes a profit that is not eaten into by other costs. Much better than getting meagre royalties that the writer ‘earns’ from traditionally published books. I really am looking forward to working with you on this venture.

  6. HI Maureen – and thanks for you kind words…
    It seems to me that Peter has all the skill, knowledge and technology to support your self publishing effort! It’s likely he can also guide you on international marketing.
    I’d be interested to hear directly from Peter to see if he’s interested in looking at an international marketing project for “Manini” which is already being printed on demand here in Melbourne but our marketing effort has stalled.

    1. Yes, he seems to know what is possible on many fronts, Mark. I feel very confident with him. I’ll ask him to get in touch with you about international marketing.

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