My dear friends,
The length of time it has taken me to post here with my promised memoir update was unintended. And now here we are, bruised, battered and staggering to the end of another year with yet more uncertainty.
In September, knife-like stabbing pain in my jaw and sinuses from a tooth abscess rendered me useless. My dentist isn’t local, I have never had a root canal before. The mere mention of it filled me with dread because I have a phobia of dentists. But mercifully, the treatment and antibiotics did the trick.
I enjoyed a lovely birthday with my family a week away with hubby and my mother to Norfolk.
Then began long-delayed but urgent repairs to our home in October.
First the chimney, then the kitchen, stripped down to rafters and brick. This revealed more extensive damp than we realised on the single, non-insulated outer wall. And no insulation in the ceiling made from plywood. Hence it was freezing in the winter and salt turned rock hard in the cupboard.
But six weeks without a kitchen is no joke.
And it is true: as with any major renovation, it takes twice as long and costs twice as much as budgeted. But we are grateful to at last have it finished. It is warm and beautiful and damp-free. The cleanup, however, is major and ongoing.
And now here we are.
During this time behind the scenes, I must tell you I have worked on submitting my memoir to literary agents. This meant months of preparation on my query letter with pitch, hook, comparative book titles and bio. A synopsis too, and because it is a memoir and required by some agents, a full proposal with a chapter outline and market overview.
I took agent feedback on the first 5,000 words of my manuscript. Same on my query letter. I spent months going over my agent list, researching each and everyone who might want a story like mine.
I was ready.
My plan, my hopes, my determination? To submit in November.
It didn’t happen.
Due to unforeseen problems, the kitchen took twice as long and cost twice as much. The disruption grew more intense in the last grand sweep and it was impossible to focus on anything. Christmas got closer and closer and by then, a few of my chosen agents had closed to submissions until January.
Put it down, I told myself. Wait until then.
But here comes my panic.
Every story is unique, but the key is to pitch that unique selling point if you are taking the traditional publishing route. Have I missed the boat? I ask my husband. Is my memoir right for the industry right now? He tells me as he always does there is no right time. I need to submit and get it out there and that is all there is to it.
I read once that what we really need to snag an agent is a big sprinkling of fairy dust.
Maybe Santa will bring some. We could all use it, submitting or not.
More than anything, I want Christmas with my children. But Covid has struck my family, despite being fully vaccinated, boostered and staying vigilant. Omicron is rife in the UK. We don’t yet know enough about it and we are extra careful. We must stay clear with negative lateral flow tests in the coming days, or that will be it for our Christmas.
The threat of last-minute restrictions remains. Will they steal Christmas away like last year? I cannot bear to think of it. In Table Talk, my end of year Memoir Across The Pond post at Carrot Ranch, I did not dare mention it.
And so here we are.
Thank you for reading and sending smiles to the Summerhouse for nine years and counting. May your Christmas be merry and bright and to better days ahead for 2022 for us all.
Love, Sherri x