Tuesday, April 17, 2018

There Is A Serious Lack Of Diversity When It Comes To Whose Memoir Manuscript(s) Are Traditionally Published

Dear Lit Loves,

This may be one of my last posts on this blog as I am deeply disappointed to report that I believe, based on my on personal experiences querying both literary agents and editors, that I must report that I have come to the conclusion if you are not a female writer who is highly educated, privileged, and phenomenally connected in terms of social media then traditional publishers and literary agents do not appear to genuinely wish to hear much less publish your story.  And that's even if you have a valuable, timely, and unusual personal story to relate in book form. I have come to this conclusion after many weeks of querying literary agents and editors who should, based on their own specified genre interests, have reason to be excited and motivated to sign as me as a potential writer/author.  It most definitely has not been the experience of this memoir writer.

Recently, I have noticed that when it comes to books and in particular memoirs pertaining to health-related experiences, particularly those that target a female audience, if you are not a professor, a scientist, a theatrical director, celebrity, or a media powerhouse then literary agents and traditional publishing appear not to care about much less want to publish your potentially invaluable personal experiences.  It is particularly sad given that as writers and readers we hear from agents and publishers that they want "diverse voices", "own voices", and one powerhouse publisher actually tweeted that the editors wanted to hear and promote memoirs "of ordinary women who have survived extraordinary circumstances".  From my perspective, this is simply not the case and sure as hell is not happening when it comes to this writer and her manuscript.

My definition of an ordinary woman apparently does not match the definition utilized by those members belonging to the realms of traditional publishing.    And it deeply saddens and disappoints me because I think the average female who buys books these days reflects my conceptualization of an ordinary woman as opposed to the privileged woman from an upper socioeconomic class that most traditional publishers and literary agents appear to define as an "ordinary woman".  So that leaves writers like me with manuscripts that will never see a place on a shelf at Barnes and Noble or an independent bookstore.  It leaves writers like me utterly disillusioned with the entire traditional publishing industry.  A writer like me who has potentially not only written an informative, engrossing, and intriguing memoir is left feeling and being treated like a second class citizen in a third world country.   It leaves me wondering why did I even try to pursue or obtain the dream of being the author of a traditionally published book?  Why was I not given an opportunity to see if my book could succeed and potentially make a difference in someone or many people's lives?  It leaves me with the desire to put down the pen, close the laptop, shred my manuscript and book proposal because none of the gatekeepers in traditional publishing gave a damn about me as a writer/author, my experiences, or my manuscript and book proposal.    And for that, traditional publishing and its many inhabitants should be ashamed if that is what eventually transpires regarding my publishing dreams.


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