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By Ray M. Wong

Okay, so it’s New Years, a time for resolutions. Since the independent press that was going to publish my memoir in 2013 has closed its doors due to the owner’s health, I need to find another publisher for my book. The state of the industry, large publishers merging in order to survive and the prohibitive cost of paper dictating major print publication decisions, makes this a challenging time for authors. The saving grace is we’re living in a digital age and there are multiple avenues available to writers through digital publication. Also, small to medium-size independent publishers are putting out excellent books.

Authors need to be diligent about researching for the best fit and following submission guidelines with exacting rigor. One bit of advice from a literary agent who spoke to the MFA in Creative Writing students at Antioch University Los Angeles in December: make sure your work is polished and revised numerous times before considering submission because you don’t want your work rejected for the wrong reason (my interpretation—that the manuscript isn’t crafted with the necessary care and attention to pass muster for publication). 

I’ve spent the past four months researching independent publishers and put together a list of the ones that handle books matching my memoir’s substance and tone. I’ve also crafted a strong query letter and I’m working with my mentor at Antioch to shape a book proposal. The next step is to submit again, and that’s my first resolution for the New Year—I’ll find the right publisher for my memoir in 2013.

The next resolution is an idea I’ve been mulling for a second book. It’s been germinating for the past few months in my mind, and the time is right to begin on it. I’m not going into details because the energy would be diffused in talking about the subject rather than writing the actual words on paper. I’ve got a good writing mentor at Antioch, and I know she’s going to help me with the creative process.

Apart from my own writing, I want to continue developing the counseling blog for San Diego City College. A City counselor named Kelli Turpin helped me start the blog last year as another way to reach students, and we want it to be the best tool possible for them. We’ll continue interviewing students and military veterans at City to bring you their stories. We also want to add different dimensions to the blog by including a mental health wellness component and interview instructors to provide their expertise on the programs at City. Take a look at what we’re doing at www.citycounseling.blogspot.com.

These are my writing resolutions for the New Year. Putting them in words makes them real and helps keep me accountable. I encourage you to do the same and share with others. May your New Years be filled with courage, opportunity, creativity, wonder, and blessings.