Not that I’m particularly initiated myself, but it did occur to me today as I told people about my awesome weekend, that a lot of people who aren’t writers and aren’t in the publishing business don’t really know how it works, just as there are plenty of lin es of business that I’m clueless about. People who knew I went to the conference this weekend asked me things like, “Do you have an agent?” and “Did you sell your book?”
Well, it doesn’t really work that way. So I thought I’d try to give a little idea of how I *think* it all works, from what I’ve read, learned in classes and workshops or otherwise gleamed from other writers. I am certainly not any sort of expert.
I am albino. Albinism is a recessive genetic condition that means my skin and hair are white, and I’m legally blind. After a sheltered and chaotic childhood, during which I worried that my parents would murder me in my sleep, I felt more different on the inside than I am on the outside. I lost (and found) myself in alternative rock music and counted down the days until I could escape to college. I felt eclipsed.
Moonchild: A Memoir of Albinism details my freshman year at college. As I dealt with finding my way around college, I had intense social anxiety. I didn’t know how to talk about albinism with people, so I didn’t. I was at school on a creative writing scholarship, and I had writer’s block as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza. I wasn’t even sure if I felt anymore. The eclipse deepened.
This past weekend I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference. It was incredible.
Let’s get the one tiny bit of bad news out of the way first. When I got home and checked my email, the first one I had was a rejection email from an agent. Months ago I went to a public reading and read the first chapter of my book, and someone I met there passed my name along to an agent, and so I sent in that same first chapter to that agent, who decided to pass on asking to see more. She wrote me a nice, personal note on my submission though. From what I’ve heard, it’s definitely a good sign to get personalized rejections.