Site Links










Top Posters
Dotsie 23647
chatty lady 20267
jawjaw 12025
jabber 10032
Dianne 6123
Latest Photos
car
Useable gifts!
Winter wonderland/fantasy for real
The Soap lady meets the Senator
baby chicks
Angel
Quilted Christmas Stocking
Latest Quilt
Shelter from the storm
A new life
Who's Online
0 Registered (), 45 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3239 Members
63 Forums
16332 Topics
210702 Posts

Max Online: 409 @ 01/17/20 03:33 AM
Page 14 of 16 < 1 2 ... 12 13 14 15 16 >
Topic Options
#74487 - 02/23/06 09:09 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
First let me just differentiate between cover letters and query letters. A cover letter is one that’s included with an essay, short story, or poem to an individual journal. In other words, you don’t need to query a journal ahead of time to see if it’s okay to send your work.

So let’s review cover letters first--though they're quite similar to query letters. My advice is to keep them short and to the point. (A sample one is below.) When I read cover letters myself, as an editor, I mainly like to know the highpoints of someone's writing career. (In other words, don’t talk about hobbies, pets, anything extraneous.) But also not to worry if you don’t have many credits yet to your name. All writers start somewhere, with a first publication. And, ultimately, the work itself is what will inform the decision.

It’s always a good idea if you can find out the name of a specific editor to whom to send your work. Say you want to submit an essay to Fourth Genre; you could go online and learn that the co-editor is David Cooper. So you’d write, “Dear David Cooper.” If you absolutely can’t find the name of any of the editors, then I’d address it to the editor in the genre in which you’re submitting. For example, “Dear Poetry Editor.” Or, “Dear Fiction Editor.” Also, when submitting hard copies, always remember to include a SASE for the return of manuscript. Wherever possible, do read individual submission guidelines, most of which are now on the web.

Anyway, let me make up a query letter:

Dear David Cooper,

Please consider my essay, “Please Publish Me,” for Fourth Genre.

My essays have appeared in such journals as “_______,” “________,” and “________.” In addition, I studied writing at ___________University, where I received an MFA degree.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

In other words, as I say, keep it very simple! Editors and agents receive so much material.

All of the above pretty much applies to query letters. The main difference is that, in a query letter, you’d also be making a pitch for your work: You want them to invite you to submit the manuscript. Therefore, in addition to the above information, you’d include a short description of the manuscript. Keep it as succinct as possible. Usually no more than a paragraph.

Mainly, if it’s nonfiction, describe the subject matter.

For example, with my first memoir, I’d say something like: “My memoir, 'Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You,' is about growing up in my incestuous family. I explore how, on the surface, my family seemed perfect. However, this appearance of normalcy was a façade, a mask that hid what my father did to me at night, when we were alone.”

Or, in the second memoir, I’d say something like, “Love Sick is structured around the twenty-eight days I spent in a rehab facility recovering from a sexual addiction and an eating disorder. However, as an addict, I led a double life, so I also detail the acting-out behaviors that led me to rehab in the first place.”

If you’re submitting a novel, then you’d want to describe the plot and the protagonist, and maybe the overall theme, in as few sentences as possible. Short but engaging, is the goal.

So, okay, I know writing these letters is daunting. But write them anyway! It's so important to get your work out there, and circulating!

Top
#74488 - 02/23/06 09:31 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
Thank you. Luckily, I had an agent that wrote the query and in it, he inserted a 911 call that I had put on one of the first pages as an example of what happens to a battered woman when she's called the police.

Maybe writers build the query letter into something more than it is. Yours was to the point and explained very well.

Top
#74489 - 02/23/06 10:21 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Dianne, it's important to tell a little about yourself too. You need to give yourself credibility. Example for you: the fact that you've hosted a web site/forum for however many years, advocate for battered women, do speaking engagements, etc.

Think of your query as a advertisement for you.

Don't be modest. Pour it on.

You need to convince the agent/editor that your book must exist. Tell what sets it apart from others on the same topic.

Top
#74490 - 02/23/06 10:30 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Dianne, that's a great idea that your agent inserted that phone call. That would definitely get the attention of a publisher.

And I totally agree with Dotsie about letting agents/editors know about relevant life and professional experience, such as being a professional speaker on the topic, etc., particularly when you're pitching nonfiction.

Just remember, if you've written an essay or book or story, then you can certainly write a one-page query letter! So send out your work! Sue

Top
#74491 - 02/23/06 11:00 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
If I had any work to send out I would. I've taken a break from my writing for a while. I find myself sitting at the computer for way too many hours and don't get other things done.

I actually posted the question about a query letter for some of the other women on this site because I've had so many writers ask me about them and I couldn't think of anyone who could tell them better than Sue.

Top
#74492 - 02/23/06 11:35 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Oh, you know, sometimes I think we all need to take a break. I, too, take a break from writing at times. Though it always feels so good to get back to it, too.

One of the great things about these forums, is that we all get to share our ideas and information. It's so much better not to be doing these things and feeling all alone. Sue

Top
#74493 - 02/24/06 07:22 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Sue, I just finihsed reading Smashed. I bet you would enjoy her writing style.

Anyway, I am amazed at how much she revealed about her friends. I can't help but think of her friends reading her book and being shocked that she put them in such a bad light.

Were you worried about the people you mentioned in your book retaliating? I don't recall you revealing such ugliness about friends but what do memoir writers do to protect themselves from law suits?

Top
#74494 - 02/24/06 09:21 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Hi, Since I haven’t read Smashed, I can’t speak to her book. But, for myself, I mainly try not to show anyone in a bad light, especially in terms of friends, husband(s), etc. (In other words, people outside of my parents, I suppose.) The reason why is because my “goal” in writing is to understand people, events, situations, etc., so it’s more of an examination than a pointing of fingers. Even in my first memoir, about the incest, I tried not to write from a place of revenge. Mainly, I wanted to understand how the incest affected me, what it meant—understand all the things I didn’t know growing up. I've always felt that writing from a place of revenge (or ONLY anger) would limit my work, emotionally. And in "Love Sick," I actually feel that I’m probably harder on myself than I am on anyone else.

But, having said that, I did change my friends’ names in both of my books in order to protect their privacy. In “Terror, Father,” though, I use the real names of my husband and therapist, though in “Love Sick,” my publisher, Norton, “made” me change both their names—even though I’d used their real names in the first book. In short, Norton was nervous about lawsuits, though I actually never worried at all that anyone would sue me.

In these kinds of cases, a lawsuit, by the way, would usually be invasion of privacy rather than libel, which, I’ve heard, is much more difficult to prove.

To try to prevent lawsuits, though, many authors do change friends’ names and use composite characters in protect privacy. I wonder if the author of Smashed did this or not? Do you know?

But, we’re such a lawsuit happy country you can never entirely protect yourself. Novelists are sued, too. I usually suggest to students that they need to find their own comfort level in terms of what to reveal and what not. And, of course, hope for the best! But, having said this, I honestly don't think there are that many lawsuits around memoirists and invasion of privacy. I mean when you think of how many memoirs have been published in the last few years. Sue

Top
#74495 - 02/25/06 02:08 AM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
Sue, do you feel victims of incest ever completely, 100% heal?

I had a domestic abuse class every week for female inmates at a prison. Almost all of them had been victims of incest as young girls. They seemingly went and stayed in a self-destructive mode. They were repeat offenders...theft, drugs, etc.

I know women of domestic abuse can go on and lead productive lives and you're an example that a victims of incest can do the same but to my mind, it would be much more difficult to heal from incest. It just goes against nature so badly.

Top
#74496 - 02/25/06 02:50 AM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
That’s a very interesting question, and an important question, even as it’s a difficult question to answer. I mean, on some level, I’d have to say “no,” I don’t think it’s possible to heal 100% simply because it’s impossible to be the woman I would have grown up to be, if this had never happened to me. And of course I don’t know who that woman would be (or would have been). In other words, I’ll never know what I would be like right now if my father hadn’t molested me when I was a child.

Having said that, though, I don’t feel as if the past “rules” my life anymore, either. After years of therapy, I feel relatively content—oh, you know, good days, bad days—but not mired in the past. Also no longer am I mired in self-destructive behavior.

So, what’s sad about the women you mention, who are inmates, is that it sounds as if they didn’t have the resources (financial, emotional, etc.) to seek help. That is very sad that our culture, our society, doesn’t do more to help people in these emergency situations. Locking these women up in prison isn’t a recovery program by any stretch of the imagination. Our society is so confused as to how to handle these things.

So my feeling is that if a woman can undergo therapy, some kind of strong recovery program, then it’s definitely possible to reach a place where you have a life that’s more than mere existence—certainly more than self-destructive behavior. You know, I have some terrific women friends, I have a lovely partner, Marc, I have my writing, teaching. And, emotionally, I am usually able to be in touch with my feelings (whereas I used to numb them). So that’s a lot! And I'm very grateful. I hope this (more or less) answers your question! Sue

Top
Page 14 of 16 < 1 2 ... 12 13 14 15 16 >



NABBW.com | Forum Testimonials | Newsletter Sign Up | View Our Newsletter | Advertise With Us
About the Founder | Media Room | Contact BWS
Resources for Women | Boomer Books | Recent Reads | Boomer Links | Our Voices | Home

Boomer Women Speak
9672 W US Highway 20, Galena, IL 61036 • info@boomerwomenspeak.com • 1-877-BOOMERZ

Boomer Women Speak cannot be held accountable for any personal relationships or meetings face-to-face that develop because of interaction with the forums. In addition, we cannot be held accountable for any information posted in Boomer Women Speak forums.

Boomer Women Speak does not represent or endorse the reliability of any information or offers in connection with advertisements,
articles or other information displayed on our site. Please do your own due diligence when viewing our information.

Privacy PolicyTerms of UseDisclaimer

Copyright 2002-2019 • Boomer Women SpeakBoomerCo Inc. • All rights reserved