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Seeing My Family Story in Print (Part 4 of 4)

A writer’s arc has a beginning, the quest and/or challenge and the result or solution whether it ends happily or not! By trying to include so much information – because my parents have had many adventures – I had made a classic mistake of so much breadth and not enough depth i.e. some of my characters or description of events was only surface layered. So, I wasn’t really at my final draft stage, but I was so close, I could taste the end point.

Debut author recognition by the City of Ipswich (Queensland, Australia) along with Regio Esercito history group re-enactors in Italian army uniform of the times

So close and yet so far is how it seemed to have the final manuscript in my hand. My mother had given her approval. I was at a tipping point. Where to go from here? Had I done justice to a story of perseverance, Italian drama and romance? It was time to find some “beta readers” i.e. my target audience. Through some market research, I determined my target audience is women in their late twenties and older, who like a well written true story with adventure and some romance. Trusting my precious document to four women whom I did not know but whom were known to close friends ensured unbiased and honest feedback. This was a humbling as well as an exciting process and probably a story for another time. Taking on board similar criticism and deciding not to include some, I submitted to a few publishers.

Then the challenges really began. How to sell a book that’s not my immediate story but my mother and father’s story? It’s a biography. Or is it? It includes elements of romantic fiction and could certainly have a wider market. But to change from non-fiction to a contemporary romance would change the essence and the truthfulness of the story. Finally, I discovered the term Literary Biography; that is what I settled on. Despite a few attempts, traditional publishing was not to be for this book. Thankfully, I found a company that assists self (indie) publishers.

I chose to get the manuscript professionally edited despite having lived and breathed my book for four years and being certain it had been as fully reviewed as possible. Thank heavens for that process because still there were errors and certain sentences that flowed better when critiqued by a professional. As it’s my family story, I wanted it to be what I considered the best it could be.

Choosing a book cover, font, formatting and making the decision to include family photographs all came together in an exciting and rather scary snowballing effect. GOODBYE To Italia was published in October 2016. The end result has been a joyous achievement. [endif]

Marisa Parker - Author


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