New, Publishing Autobiography

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2007
New, Publishing Autobiography
6
Tue, 08-26-2008 - 12:16am

Hi all,
CL-Terreinarkansas from The This & That Board sent me here.
I've never posted, so please forgive me if I write to much! (smile) I'm just confused & need help sorting out strategies for my book.

I have a tentative title:
"The Messenger Unveiled"
I say tentative because some like it & some don't so far.
I'm pretty set on having a literary agent because I'm a new author & have no idea what on earth I'm doing! Lol.

The book is about my life up to this point.
I was born with a Tessier Cleft which included a Bilateral Cleft Lip/Palate. The Cleft went from my Hard Palate up into my nose & eyes, so I am completely blind & have prostheses. I use a computer with a program called "JAW's" that talks to me & allows me to visit different websites, send/receive mail, etc. Yes, I've already heard all the shark jokes in reference to JAW's! Lol. I still laugh though.
I've had 63 reconstructive surgeries so far & am arguing with Medicaid for #64! (smile)
Feel free to check out my article if you like:
http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/index.ssf/2008/04/montrosearea_womans_health_car.html

I'm 22, graduated high school in December 2003 6 months ahead of the rest of my class, mostly all "regular-ed" classes all the way through. The only supplements were education in Braille, & Mobility (learning how to get around using a cane/seeing eye dog). No, I don't own a seeing eye, because I had some major struggles in school & in the public at large that have made it difficult for me to want to go to far from home.
That's pretty much what my book is about, my life as I see it, through my eyes. My parents raised me to be "normal", so you'll notice that I use the word see alot.
I'm only 1 of 8 people in the entire world with a Tessier Cleft (based on the last statistics I had).

The book also includes my obsession with music which I love...Ray Charles anyone? Lol. It talks about my parents divorce, being bullied at school, the physical abuse I suffered at the hands of some of the students, & other life experiences that I think most people can relate to, so hopefully that would broaden my audience.
In the end, I hope my book isn't just about that, but is seen as something positive. I want it to be something that you can't put down, & when it's finished, you feel like you got something from it. Like you learned something about yourself, or were, at the very least, able to follow me on my journey to this point & feel satisfied about the trip.
So now that I've given a huge long-winded talk...
I have a number of questions.
1. What exactly goes into a Promotional Plan? What should it include? Are there samples that I can look at online?
2. I don't know if it's acceptable here or not, but if it is, can anyone tell me if they've worked with the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency? If not, can you tell me who to contact so I can find out about their reputation? For example: Doctors have their own medical boards in each state that you need to talk to. Do Literary Agents have something similar, or can I just contact the Better Business Bureau & find out about them?
3. Same question for publishers. Can you check them out through the BBB?
4. If I already have most of my book written, which I do, do I still have to write up a Book Proposal to present to the Literary Agent/Publisher? Again, what should it entail? Is a Book Proposal similar to the synopsis of the book or is it something completely different?
5. About Subsidiary Rights: How much control can I have over them? I guess I'm kind of trying to look into the future & I'm saying that I want some control over these rights.
For example: Say hypothetically, I do really well with presenting my book, my book sells really well & people love it. Some film company approaches my Agent/Publisher about having a movie made. I'm fine with the idea, but I want some control over who's cast in the movie. In other words, whoever is playing me should actually be blind, whoever is playing my mom, my Dad, etc should have the right personality for it & be able to really affect people in their role. Can I voice an opinion about that? Could I have any participation in that, or can they just take it away from me?
6. I live in Michigan. If I go with Larsen-Pomada, who are located in California, my contract with them is under California law, not Michigan law. Do you have any idea where I might find an attorney here to go over said contract & tell me about the legality of it? I'd rather have an outside source informing me, as well as whoever works with their literary agency.
It isn't just them, if I chose a different agency, I would want to do the same.
I'm a smart person, but I admitedly don't know alot about contracts, writing or otherwise, & don't know where to find books that I could read up on myself to get the ins & outs of it.
I understand that an agency basically helps take the burden off of you so you can focus on your writing, but I want to be a part of it. I'm usually a laid back person, but not when it comes to any type of business dealings. I have to have my hands dirty in it & know exactly what's going on.
7. Finally, do you know of any agency that will take me on with the understanding that I don't plan on writing any more books. Except for possibly a second instalment of my autobiography if this one does well, & when I'm in my later years.
I have other careers I want to pursue, being a Child Life Advocate (which involves working with children & their families before, during & after surgery). I have also considered being a Daycare provider for Disabled/as well as non-disabled children. I want to be able to volunteer during my freetime & have a nice comfortable living for myself. One where I can afford to give back to my community/the world at large. I also want to be a public speaker, as it wouldn't be much different from being an author & I've already been doing that since I was a little girl explaining to my classmates why I couldn't see. So I have other things I wish to pursue besides this. It took an incredible emotional strain on me that I didn't realize it would take.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I did it. It's my "baby" & I want to see it get the best treatment due it. But I just don't see myself doing it all again.

If anyone has any advice, please share!
Thank you for reading, I apologize for the length!
I'm a born talker/writer, what can I say?
Thank you again,
Michelle

---
For Clefts & other Craniofacial Anomalies:
http://www.acpa-cpf.org
http://www.ameriface.org
http://www.micleft.org
http://www.cleft.org
http://www.cleftadvocate.org
http://www.clefthelp.org
http://www.cleftline.org
http://www.craniology.org
http://www.widesmiles.org

For more about me and my interests:
http://www.myspace.com/nonpointchica
http://www.youtube.com/ILoveES33

"Well the tongue inside my mouth is not for sale. . .
Any spirit left in me is fading fast. . .
Could you throw another stone to ease my pain?
Could you throw another stone to seal my fate?"--Shaun Morgan of Seether - "Tongue"

I'm not like them,
Black & blue tan...
The sun is gone,
& I have a light...
The day is done,
& I'm having fun...
I think I'm dumb,
Maybe just happy..."'
Kurt Cobain - "Dumb"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 08-26-2008 - 2:59pm

Welcome to The Writing Life, Michelle!


Wow! I'm impressed! You are one person I'd never discourage from writing an autobiography.


Let's talk agents first. OK? Literary agents do have an organization. It's the Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. You can learn more about them at http://www.aar-online.org/mc/page.do

JudyB






iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
Tue, 08-26-2008 - 8:41pm

Answering your questions (they have been edited, since I've seen how JAWS works, and you don't need to go through what you wrote):


1. What exactly goes into a Promotional Plan?


No clue on this one.

------


Writing Blog |

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2007
Wed, 08-27-2008 - 1:47am
Hi Judy,
Thank you! That was help already! (smile) I truly appreciate it.
It's always nice to get encouragement from a source that isn't family. You know, sometimes you sort of think:
"Well, their family. Their just being nice."
But to find out that others are interested in my story/my book makes me feel good & gives me a bit more hope every time I hear someone say it.
I'll have to ask my family about the movie, if they've ever seen it. We'll have to rent it for movie night if we can find it somewhere!
Michelle
I'm not like them,
Black & blue tan...
The sun is gone,
& I have a light...
The day is done,
& I'm having fun...
I think I'm dumb,
Maybe just happy..."'
Kurt Cobain - "Dumb"
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2007
Wed, 08-27-2008 - 1:51am
Hi Linda,
Thank you for replying! I'll have to bookmark all these links I'm getting!
I really appreciate it!
Michelle
I'm not like them,
Black & blue tan...
The sun is gone,
& I have a light...
The day is done,
& I'm having fun...
I think I'm dumb,
Maybe just happy..."'
Kurt Cobain - "Dumb"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 08-27-2008 - 12:57pm

I'm back, Michelle.


Found something on promotion plans. Guess it's pretty much what it sounds like - a plan to promote your book. From Writers Write:

JudyB






iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2007
Wed, 08-27-2008 - 1:16pm
Hi Judy,
I do need reenforcement on occasion. (smile) My major concern is subsidiary rights honestly. I guess because I feel like I can handle everything else, but I want just enough control over that to ensure that things are "done right". Again, it's the perfectionist in me. I need to be in control to feel like things are being handled properly.
For instance, I saw one agent who's website states that they can respond to mail on my behalf, unless it's "personal". I thought:
"So what exactly does that mean?"
I don't want someone who doesn't know me (know what type of response I would give), replying for me to a reader of mine. If my Dad were in charge of replying, or my friend, that'd be fine. They know me, they know what I'd say. But to have a perfect stranger speaking for me (in that sense, if that's what the statement on their website meant), I'm not comfortable with that.
Ahhh...so many decisions to make, so much to sort through!!! I'm tired already & I've only been awake for 4 hours! Lol.
Ok, so mental note to self:
Look for entertainment law lawyer!
Thank you again for all your help.
Michelle
I'm not like them,
Black & blue tan...
The sun is gone,
& I have a light...
The day is done,
& I'm having fun...
I think I'm dumb,
Maybe just happy..."'
Kurt Cobain - "Dumb"
I'm not like them,
Black & blue tan...
The sun is gone,
& I have a light...
The day is done,
& I'm having fun...
I think I'm dumb,
Maybe just happy..."'
Kurt Cobain - "Dumb"