School's almost over for this term, and then I get a nice "long" break. All my work's turned in and for the first time in weeks I have a full night before me and I'm not sure what I should do. I have a list of tasks that I want to get done, both for myself and for others, but I'm dwelling. I'm dwelling on something outside of my control, as is my tendancy.
So, here it is: I'm writing a book. In order to get published, though, I don't write the book, I write the book proposal. Okay, I can do that. I have to learn how, but that's not such a big thing. But first I have to get some publication credits, and a blog doesn't count. A blog doesn't count because nobody has to believe in my work, my writing, my voice in order for me to have a blog. Having a blog and having readers are two different things...but still, the blogosphere, as many of us are aware, is not the most respected medium, so it doesn't "count."
They call what I need "clips," which means I have to get published and I need evidence that I got published. Where do you start? The word from the wise is that you start at your local newspaper. Not only have I read this in numerous books, but I also got it straight from the fingers of Cammie McGovern, a mother of a child with autism who has also been published...including in the New York Times. Impressive stuff. I like her work. I contacted her. She actually responded! So...local newspaper. Easy enough, right?
The Janesville Gazette won't even consider publishing me. It's not that they don't like my ideas. It's not that they don't like my writing. It's not that they don't like my style. They won't even take a look. Why? They have a policy: if they bend it for me, omigosh!, more Janesville residents will want to write editorials and they just can't have that.
Okay, so I'm being snide. I know this. I'm even almost sorry about it, but for a paper that advertises "It's your paper," they sure don't seem very willing to give voice to members of the community. Okay, Letter to the Editor, yes, but when the paper gets to express its views in 500 - 700 words almost every single day (and that's just on the editorial page) and everybody else (excluding syndicated artists, of course) gets a maximum of 250 words, which they are free to whittle down however they choose... You start to see my point.
I think back on the days when our country was founded, and I think about what "freedom of the press" meant to our forefathers, and I just have to cringe. This isn't the New York Times we're talking about here, just a little ol' paper that's trying a little too hard to compete with the big boys...something its never going to be able to do. Besides, even the NYT would consider my work...right before they rejected it. The New York Times publishes people who've been published elsewhere, it's just the way the biz works. I know this. Still, they'd consider me. And my hometown paper wouldn't even do that.
It's not the end of the world. There are still other possibilities open to me. And, I will make use of them. But, right now, I'm just a bit irritated. Rejection, sure, as I writer I'm used to that. But this isn't even rejection in the typical sense. When you get a rejection letter, as a writer, artist, scholar, ect., you're supposed to remind yourself that the editor isn't rejecting you, s/he's rejecting one example of your work. Nope. This guy rejected me, not because of my work -- he didn't even see my work -- but simply because I didn't fit a holier-than-thou profile. I guess I'm just too "Janesville" for the Janesville Gazette, which is kind of sad.