Dear Lit Loves,
Greetings book lovers! Those of you who are Southern women are going to loooovvveeee this post. I read somewhere recently where Reese Witherspoon selected a memoir for her April 2018 Hello Sunshine Book Club. So I, being a lowly, self-published Amazon memoir author/writer, started thinking during my most recent book club luncheon that I needed to fire up my laptop and see if Reese Witherspoon has ever selected a self-published book as one of her Hello Sunshine Book Club picks. This does have a point to it ya'll so just hang in there with me, okay?
Driving home from my book club meeting/luncheon that day I thought back to a presentation I made in Calabash, North Carolina when I self-published my first book titled Brave Soul Rising: Tales From The Trenches of An Uncharmed Life. When I closed my book presentation someone asked me about the self-publishing process and if I ever thought I might one day be a part of the traditionally published author tribe. And I answered by saying, "Well, I guess anything is possible. I mean, the movie Legally Blonde was originally a novel written by Amanda Brown that began as a self-published book. The novel was eventually published by the book imprint named Dutton which is or was most definitely part of the big five traditional publishers. And we all know how BIG that movie became for Reese Witherspoon - Hell, it put her on the map! So who knows?"
I arrive home from my own book club group meeting and luncheon and check to ascertain if Reese Witherspoon has ever selected a self-published book as a pick for her Hello Sunshine Book Club. Nope. Nada. Ain't Happened Yet. Wait A Freakin' Minute! I googled the Hello Sunshine Book Club and what I found which I think is sort of a mission statement is "To tell stories BIG and small and shine a light on female authorship." !!!!!!!! Hold the phone, shut the door, and sit thy posterior down for a moment. An idea popped into my head (this happens occasionally, sometimes for the good and sometimes for naught). If Hollywood or at least most of it, but particularly Oscar-winning actresses are going to support women in their efforts to "speak their truth" while also encouraging them to "raise our voices and tell our stories," should that not include those of us who've been trying to break through the forces of the literary gatekeepers? Seriously, I personally feel like I have queried literary agents till the cows have come home and right now, they all are grazing on my deck. I've been given every reason in the world for rejection including that I am not a grand partaker of social media (Hello, thank God I did not join Facebook as 87 million users have had their private information stolen and I think Zuckerberg or Zuckerburg and company also allowed advertising that negatively impacted our last election). How would you feel if after writing a memoir manuscript, a query, a book proposal, etc and then researching literary agents that sell books in your genre, you wrote to those literary agents and received email responses like the following, "Sorry. Pass., I have determined I am not the right person to rep this book, You have virtually no platform, and last but certainly not least, I don't have the time to devote to this manuscript and memoirs by unknowns just don't sell." I have received emails from literary agents that said all this and more. Not to mention, some literary agents never bothered to respond in any shape or form.
Would it not be great if Reese Witherspoon selected a self-published book as one of her Hello Sunshine Book Club selections???!!! So I am throwing down the gauntlet (in Southern-speak this means I am putting down my fork of Lexington-style barbecue and placing the glass of mint julep down on the table). I think it would be fantabulous if Reese Witherspoon selected and promoted a book completed by a self-published author. And yes, I am going to give the reasons why my self-published book should qualify as a selection. Henceforth, here is why Brave Soul Rising by Grace Sutherlin should qualify as a Reese Witherspoon book club selection:
1) It relays the story of a timid, Swouthern gal evolving to become one bad-ass, take-no-prisoners woman.
2) The book delivers a round-house drop kick to the cruelties of domestic violence and sexual harassment.
3) It is a book featuring a real world woman who learns the art of how to write about her actual encounters with the realities of inner city public education and overcome the negative stigmas associated with it.
4) It's a story about a woman rising above the fray when the odds are firmly stacked against her.
5) Above all, never underestimate a Southern woman with a brave heart and feisty soul.
That's my pitch to Ms. Witherspoon. And for my limited and select few regular blog readers I just finished reading They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson and will review it here shortly.
Till my next post,