The thing is unless you’re famous, or infamous, publishers don’t want to know. That’s ok too, because these days you can self publish really easily and lots of people are doing just that. Much of what people self publish is parochial at best, of interest to family and friends perhaps, and much f it is crap. But there are gems among them, and anyone who is interested in people will want to know who they are.
My mate Giorgio and I were discussing plans of starting a publishing company – focusing only on memoirs of interesting people no one has ever heard of before. Lots of people write their memoirs. We would start a company: Arnhem Publishing – Memoirs of Interesting People. Great idea, and my book, Turn Left at the Devil Tree, would be number one for the company, and Giorgio would finish his gritty memoir about his years in the music industry. We’d make hundreds of dollars a year and important personal histories would be saved for posterity.
People write memoirs for many reasons. Perhaps they have important things to say, opinions to deliver. They may have a message for their descendants. They may have a strong desire to record history as it was lived rather than in some academic treatise. They may want to make money and are deluded into thinking enough people are going to buy the book so they’d make a profit after paying off the copy editor and the designer and the ISBN number seller – poor dears – will someone tell them...?
I wrote mine because I felt I’d participated in a tiny sliver of history as a visiting teacher in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia that is sufficiently interesting other people way want to know about it. I founded several outstation schools and lived for a number of years in remote Aboriginal communities among traditional people. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity and the experiences I enjoyed I feel are unique. If I don’t write about them - well, no one else ever will.
This is the point of memoirs of unknown people. Their history is as valid as the famous but, with one great clincher –someone else will always write about the famous, no one will ever write about most of us.
Turn Left at the Devil Tree is nearly done. The text is edited professionally, the cover is designed and it won’t be long before I launch it. Then... what? It’s easier to launch into oblivion than to hit a target. I am a novice at this. I am going through a learning process and e-publishing a novel I wrote 20 years ago, which is out of print, but did all right as a paperback. It’s called Tammy Damulkurra.
But what a novice I am – especially an e-novice. Let’s get a conversation going. I want to hear from people who know, people who want to share experiences. I want to hear from people who are as unknown as me, but who also want to write, or have finished their memoirs and want to share. Perhaps together we can build up a world of Memoirs of Interesting People we can journey with, and stop them from falling through the cracks.