Monday, September 12, 2011

putting things out there

potential title sighted in copenhagen
i have something that i want to say out loud. both because writing is the new praying and because sometimes it makes things more real to put them out there and share them (there's probably a whole 'nother blog post in why that is).

i'm writing a book. it's non-fiction and it's about the famous and much-lauded danish welfare state. it's in the style of barbara ehrenreich's kind of under-cover journalism, best exemplified in her nickel and dimed: under-cover in low wage usa.  in this vein, i'm trying on the danish welfare state first hand, experiencing what they put people through myself, as well as interviewing a wide variety of people and gathering their stories. it's shaping up to be a rather fascinating story - one of humiliation and hopelessness and busywork and earnest people who want to do the right thing, but whose hands are tied by bureaucracy and it's also a story of wasted, misplaced funds and consultancies becoming very wealthy on the backs of the poor sods who are out of work. but it's a story of good people too - people sincerely interested in helping and motivating.

i don't have a publisher or an agent and i honestly don't know the first thing about getting either one of those, but i know that it's a very interesting story and i feel compelled to write it. and i think that in light of a lot of political conversations going on around the world, there's a place and a market for it. and while initially, i thought it was a rather dry subject, it turns out that it's full of humanity and shaping up to be just a really good story.

if there's one thing i'm learning from this process, it's that your network is everything, so any and all advice is appreciated.


Pia K said...

i still think it's a brilliant idea, wish i wasn't so jaded and spent too much time crying (yes to be honest, that's what i do these days) instead of feeling motivated and focused. how wonderful it must be to feel this motivation! good luck!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

Good luck with the book!

Have a great evening.

Tracy :)

will said...

Something that's always been a question to me ... What's the best approach for getting something published?

Do you first write the book then shop it around? Or do you first get a publisher, sign a contract and then write the book.

For me, I called a publisher, they like my book concept and asked for an outline. They then approved it, sent me a contract and I began writing.

As a woodworker and writer I avoided spec work. While it's enjoyable to write, doing it for pay is even better.

poet said...

Wow, good luck! I don't really have any contribution since I've never lived in Denmark, but I'm curious about your findings!

Stacey said...

This sounds very interesting! I'm aiming to write a book too (though my will be more Mills and Poon, a human story in another way ;) and have looked into the different modes of publishing. I know here in NZ you have to hire an agent who will approach publishers on your behalf, but to tell you the truth, I was just going to head to Kindle, selling through eBay (or is it Amazon). If it is popular enough I am sure that from there it would get published. Not sure if this is helpful?

celkalee said...

An ambitious project for sure. Investigative journalists are driven people, admirable. I am painfully cynical of any government program these days (I am also in the midst of a root canal, so I hate everything today) and any exposure that personalizes the struggle and helps to negotiate the system would be important, no matter what the country. Best of luck to you.

The Queens Table said...

I wish the best for your project. I am sure the reality is different from what people assume. It is nice to get the real world view put out there about these government systems.

I know in the states there are people who think they know what the poor, the unemployed, the chronically ill, or the suddenly single moms who temporarily go on welfare are doing...stealing their tax money. They view anyone needing help as a drug addict or a pimp.

Truth be known... the system sucks, it is difficult to get in or live on, afterward the people are still poor, as well as treated like the lowest of the low. Then these same people who complain about helping the poor have no complaints about the trillions of the peoples tax money going to war and murder.

Go figure.

Elizabeth said...

That's an interesting project you started. Like you said: Your network is everything. So why not making it an e-book. You can publish it through your own network and if your pebble is well placed it will create movement in the water toward a printed version.

Unknown said...

How exciting! No idea how you find a publisher, sorry, but I hope you find a wonderful one. You have a lovely writing voice, so I'm sure it won't take long :-)

Lynne said...

My best advice is to get yourself a really good editor. We work with a publisher who also prints and promotes self published books, and I've seen too many books with great concepts and that are well written, fall flat because of the lack of a good editor. No matter how well you write (and you know you do), everyone needs an editor!

Molly said...

Fantastic Julie!!

Lisa-Marie said...

Good luck with this Julie. I wish to read it when and however you publish it please.

We studied welfare states at Uni as part of sociology, and I have always found the way a government sets things up to help or hinder it's people interesting.

Miss Footloose said...

You have a very interesting subject for your book, and if you enjoy writing it, go for it. In the US it is very difficult to get in the door of a publisher without an agent unless you are famous.

For non-fiction books by new authors, agents usually want you to have the whole book written before they'll take you on.

Getting a freelance editor is a good suggestion, but good ones are expensive.

There are exceptions to everything.

Other than that, just write it!

(PS I can't sign in with my own name and url. The link at the top of the comment is a redirect from my old blog.)

Anonymous said...

way cool (is that outdated?)


Härnösands Konstförening said...

Wow! Sounds like it's going to be a very important book - good luck with it!