Author Pamela Saletri Parron speaking at Compass Writers

How One Author Overcame Reluctant Writer Syndrome

Over the years since her misfortunate loss, Pam had convinced herself she was a reluctant writer. Writing her memoir was a seed she planted and stored away in her memory for 30 years. Pam was a very reluctant writer because she knew in her heart that tackling this monumental project, writing her memoir, would cause painful memories from her past to emerge. Pam was afraid to write and relive times from her darkest days.

She vividly remembers taking her last steps and the day she lost both of her legs below the knee. She would need to relive in detail, the loss of her legs, and the long rehabilitation afterwards. When this happened she was a young woman, ready to take on the world with the gusto of a 19 year old. The accident changed the course of her path forever. Her plans shattered and her life changed forever.

The Book That Almost Wasn’t

She made excuses. She told herself she didn’t have time to write… after all she was a devoted wife and mother and she and her husband had successful careers, despite many challenges from her handicap. They were busy raising children and making a living.

Divine Intervention

After living in Spain for many years with her Spanish husband and starting a family, she returned to the States. Once home to her native Country, the Lord directed her to attend Bible study. She became involved and the women of the group became her lifeline. She would sneak in the meetings late and try to be invisible, but this would not work with this group of Spirited women! With time, she became more comfortable. The women in the group encouraged her to tell her story. At first she could only tell it in small bits, but as she began to overcome, she became less of a reluctant writer. She learned with practice she could sum up her story in about two minutes. People were interested. “Write a book Pam, it’s time to write your story down.” The women of faith encouraged her. Thirty years later, Pam realized the telling of her story was better late than never.

Better Late Than Never

She knew in her heart, her story could make a difference in the lives of others and she had to write it, regardless of the emotional turbulence she knew would ensue. Reluctantly, she dragged out her old journals from the days of her initial injury. All along, she knew the first line of her book, “I vividly recall my last steps…” She always knew those words would become the first sentence in her memoir. Instinctively she knew this would be the easiest sentence to write. What would come next? She had no idea! She realized at this moment why she had been such a reluctant writer. “It was a painful process she told the group, “I despaired of life and sometimes I just had to put it down, I learned”, she stated, “Great writing is like a superb wine; the process takes time. Let it set, let it breathe, let it ferment. Then try it again.” Her friends were a great help during this time. They became her eyes and gave her significant input into her writing.

The Reluctant Writer Conquered Her Fear

Finally, the day came when she was pleased with her manuscript. But what she didn’t realize was with the passage of time, the publishing industry had changed the way things were done. She remained a reluctant writer. They no longer accepted typed manuscripts. A lot had changed since her contact with publishing in the 1980’s! She realized five years into the actual project, she needed a “real editor.” She decided on WestBow Press, a vanity publisher. When asked how long the process took from the time writing began to publishing, Pam responded it took five years to write and six months from the start of the editing/publishing process, to a completed book. Yes, once the process began for the reluctant writer, Pam, she knew in her heart of hearts that her memoir, Broken In All The Right Places, was well worth the wait and a story that was better told late than never. The Lord broke her in all the right places so that she could be the person she is today.

What is a vanity publisher?

For the newbies in the group, like this writer, below is a description of a vanity publisher. A vanity publisher, usually, is a division of a major publishing house. WestBow Press is a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. When choosing a vanity publisher, the author pays most of the fees upfront. A vanity publisher profits from direct fees from authors, and is not concerned with marketing the finished product. This contributes to reluctant writer syndrome. Vanity publishers offer many services and fees are a la carte. Editing and cover designs in Pam’s case were about $3,000 besides up front costs for revision fees. They also offered Pam marketing services for a fee of $36,000, which she opted not to choose, preferring word-of-mouth marketing. Pam informs everyone that vanity publishing is a pay-to-play market. Interested in learning more about publishing services? For an in depth discussion on the various types of publishing services visit Tiffany Hawk’s blog.   Click here to see the video of Pam’s talk at Compass Writers.  

Sandra Bradley
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