Monday, February 6, 2012

Writer (That's Me) Needs Help!

Some of you have been following my blogs for a long while, some for less ~ and I think that more than a few of you know something about writing for publication.

I'm ready to start seeking some broader outlets for my written work, and wonder whether any of you have some ideas:  agents, editors, publications?  Can you introduce me to anyone?

Here's what I have going on:

My major project involves transforming what was my Desert Year blog ~ and related posts in my other blogs ~ into a book.  As I blogged away during the first couple of years after Josh's death, my topics were varied and I wrote indiscriminately:  the suicide of a child, the grief of parental loss, the absence of God, pastoral care for bereaved parents, attempts to re-group, seminary and ordination in the wake of unfathomable loss.  

I think that I've finally got some focus and direction, a framework for revision of those many pieces of writing ~ but I would be really happy to find someone interested in publishing it!  Perhaps Lauren Winner has just done it better (!), but we all have our stories to tell.  My current version contains so much of  (1) Ignatian spirituality and (2) persistence in ministry despite catastrophe that I think a small religious publisher, Jesuit or Presbyterian (yes, my life is always one in which unusual combinations materialize), would be a likely destination for my work.  Any ideas?

I'm also starting to formulate some articles/essays/small books/whatever in my head on the interface between various Catholic and Protestant spiritualities.  That interface is where I live ~ an Ignatian-trained spiritual director/Presbyterian minister, a pastor of a federated Methodist-Presbyterian church, a Protestant who makes retreats with Jesuits. I know a little about Benedictine, Carmelite, and Ursuline spirituality and nothing much about the Domincans or Franciscans; I know something about Wesleyan and Reformed spiritualities but a lot more about that of Ignatius.  I'm working on broadening my exposure and knowledge, and I would love opportunities to make it all more accessible to others.

So, you published writers out there: Can you help?



22 comments:

  1. Wow! That's awesome! All of it! I will send a note to my friend Fr. James Behrens at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit - his books were published by a small religious press and he has told me great things about working with them.

    I think you should also make a pitch to Shambhala Publishing ... because I think you have a much wider spiritual appeal than strictly religious.

    Go Robin!

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  2. Just have to say that I doubt Lauren Winner did it better than you will (and yes I have read her other books and you know I read your postings).

    I agree with Cindy--you will have a much wider audience than a strictly religious author. Your work will have much the same appeal as that of Kathleen Norris' Dakota which was published by a small house, Ticknor & Fields. Wish I had a contact to share.

    Looking forward to the finished works....

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    1. I'm not published YET - I hope this week or next! - but I went through www.createspace.com and have been very happy, for the most part. Feel free to ask me anything that you can't find on their website. May God lead you to the place where it will be best for you and your audience!

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  3. Cindy, thanks! I really appreciate the help.

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  4. QG, great idea -- a writer friend of mine told me to look at the acknowledgments of books I admire for possible agents and editors. I should have thought of Dakota, which I need to re-read anyway (due to my current call anyway). Not that I've even started that little assignment.

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  5. Karen, I admit, I'm getting extremely impatient!

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    1. I really think it's coming this week or next!

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  6. Also, you all are already a help to me in thinking about audience. I suppose I am thinking: anyone who has lost a child, anyone who has lost someone to suicide, pastoral care types, people on rocky spiritual journeys regardless of what sort of faith or not, people making life changes, people contemplating suicide, people wondering about prayer, people wondering whether they will survive the next minute.

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  7. You might ask Carol Howard Merritt, who writes for Alban, too. she is great at navigating these waters. I tweeted her your blog link, so hopefully she'll stop by.

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  8. Thanks, Teri! I may get to hear in May (?) as she is doing a conference in Dayton.

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  9. you might ask one of your seminary professors about his/her relationship with a publishing house. One of my seminary friends pitched my idea to one of my professors who said if I wrote it she would help me. (I have yet to write it.)

    Another idea is to self publish through Kindle and other ebooks. That's where a lot of writers are going. But, I would suggest having someone edit the book if you went that route. A second (or third) set of honest eyes would be helpful.

    I have friends who publish through Westminster/John Knox. I could certainly ask them.

    You have a unique and honest perspective. I hope you will share. And I'd love to see a what not to say section.

    I'm not published, but I can give a lot of advice on virtually anything and as they say in our (abandoned) professions, "you get what you pay for."

    Love you

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  10. Robin -not to belabor this point. But. While you do speak out of your experience of loss of a child, your words and your writing and your journey speak far beyond that. To losses of all kinds. To difficulties that seem insurmountable. To hopelessness and despair. When reading your blogs and your sharing on your own heart space, I have always felt like you knew exactly what I was feeling and needing to hear .... and I have not experienced what you have.

    So, yes, speak out about suicide and a child, and mother-loss while young. But know, really know, that you are heard far and wide by many many others as well.

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    1. Cindy, thank you. Most of the time I feel as if I am completely self-absorbed in a story that resonates with no one.

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    2. Ah yes. Feelings. They so often masquerade as "Truth" ...but I prefer to think of them as weather systems that simply come and go through my life! :)

      Trust me. Trust so many of your faithful readers, friends and family. Your voice - quiet, sure, thoughtful and clear - resonates far and wide. Far and wide.

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  11. Maggie, could you ask your WJK friends?

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  12. Rachelle Gardner's blog (http://www.rachellegardner.com/) has a wealth of valuable information if you want to break into conventional (royalty-based) book publishing.

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    1. Thanks so much - that site looks incredibly helpful!

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  13. I'm with Cindy - your writing is so honest, so real, that it touches us all.

    Also an Ignatian Protestant, my first thought when I read your blog post was - you write it, I'll read it!

    Blessings on this journey.

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  14. I did not read the comments, but am hoping you got some wisdom. As for me, all I have at this point is the hope that you have success with this desire for your writing. If I come across anything, I will keep you in mind.

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  15. I have published articles locally, nationally, and internationally -- but no books. However, I suggest you find a recent volume of Writer's Market and look for a publisher (and an agent) in tune with what you've written.

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  16. Only just found this, Robin, but this is a marvellous, and inspiring (you've no idea quite how inspiring) project. Cindy's suggestion of Shambhala Publishing is right on, surely. They've been publishing some fine things lately - Irma Zaleski's Who Is God?: The Soul's Road Home is an example of the kind of deeply Christian but deeply open and non-'churchy' things I mean.

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