Dear Lit Loves,
Greetings! Just wanted to write a blog post and ask of our dear traditional and small/independent publishers why we do not have more patient narratives written by real patients with unusual disorders and disabilities?? This is a genre of untapped potential market share for publishers. Why? Because 133 million people are living with some sort of disability or chronic disease today and that number will almost double in the next twenty years according to what I read on an internet site collecting data on chronic illness and disability. Sounds like a major untapped market share to me so when will the publishing world live up to its cries for #OwnVoices and #DiverseBooks?? Honestly, I have read and seen literary agents and editors spreading the word via Twitter, Manuscript Wish List, Literary Agency websites, etc. requesting these type of books, but very few who are daring, adventurous, or the type of trend-spotters that are willing to step up and take the reins on publishing books of this nature and giving authors that write these books an opportunity to not only be published, but make a difference in the world as well. Pressing play on Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T currently as I am in my home office writing this blog post.
Seriously now, I have read the narratives or memoirs chronicling ADD, ADHD, OCD, Anorexia, Alcoholism, Drug Addicition, Asperger's, Colon Cancer, etc. I am getting ready to read a newly released memoir about a patient who deals with Lyme Disease (finally, someone is getting onboard and publishing a book that I think is rightly needed). Here's the deal though: If you only publish books written by authors who are doctors, nurses, professors/academics and writers with high-faluting publishing backgrounds aka MFA from Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, etc. or who have extensive publishing credits, guess what?? You are missing out on tapping into the loads of ordinary citizens who wish to read a plain-spoken narrative and not a thesis paper, medical handbook, or heaven forbid, someone who writes in an operatic voice. Just pointing this out to those of you in the publishing world who appear to be flummoxed as to how to publish a writer who is not well-known, an academic marvel, an award-winning author, or a medical guru. Hello? If I recall correctly, writers did not always have access to social media (thank the Lord) and publishers were still able to publish books by unknown writers and they also were able to continue to produce successful books without a writer having four million Twitter followers or having won a National Book Award. Is anyone hearing me out there?
So here's the dealio, I am going to be writing on this blog about me, a female Generation Xer who juggles four unusual chronic illnesses. I have a completed book proposal and manuscript on life with those four unusual disorders beginning at the age of sixteen. Now I don't care if you are a Baby Boomer, Xer, or any of the generations that came after mine, at some point I believe most of us will face some sort of chronic disorder, illness, disability, etc. And are you even ready for the reality of that? Are you willing to stand up and advocate for yourself as a patient? Do you know how to filter the qualified doctors from the quacks?? What would you do if you were harassed by a medical specialist as I have been?? Do you know where to even find the right medical specialist or hospital that does not allow patients to "fall through the cracks"?? Now if you are twenty years old and think you are built like a character from Avengers,come talk to me in ten, twenty, or thirty years. Mark my words though, chronic and unusual illnesses are being diagnosed at a more rapid rate than ever and also being diagnosed in younger and younger folks. Hell, my specialists consider me a guru now that I am a veteran patient of chronic illness and have been for the last thirty years. It is truly entertaining when I, the patient, know before my medical specialists that one of my unusual disorders is flaring and requires medication or worse, possible surgery.
And through all this, we will see if a publisher, editor, etc. decides to open the often nailed shut publishing door to me. Don't worry, I'll keep you up to date. I've never been handed anything easily in my life and I'm known for my no-holds-barred manner of speaking and writing. Stay tuned for my first post on one of the four unusual chronic illnesses I battle depending on when any of the four decides to rear its ugly mug. Meanwhile, I am going to be reading some memoirs about women who have been through some serious crisis with somewhat similar disorders.
Till my next post,