• Drew Dotson

May I demand a favor?

My word of the day is “fearless.” I don’t normally have a word of the day, so take that for what it’s worth. Before I put out feelers for publishing connections last October, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to write the perfect message, post it at the perfect time, and have it come across the screen of the perfect person. I behaved as though I had ONE chance to make my author dream a reality. Otherwise, I’d be exiled to the place where writers waste away for having ever thought they had something interesting to say. I was afraid.


Of course, I was also afraid after I wrote that post and sent it out into the universe. I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t know, or even think it possible, that, in a matter of weeks, I’d be under contract with an amazing publisher that believed in me more than I believed in myself.

These fears touched on an integral theme in my life — focusing too much on the outcome. Life’s unpredictability was magnified by my diagnosis with cystic fibrosis. I yearned to know exactly what would happen to me and when. I wanted control over every possible aspect of my life, even the parts well beyond my reach. I often forgot that my power to actually control anything only went so far, and that what followed had little to do with me.


That mindset led to the initial decade-long delay in writing my book. I was so focused on controlling what the reader might get from it — the takeaways — that I struggled to sit down and write. Rather than being authentic and writing what I wanted, I got caught up in trying to control the outcome. What did I want the reader to FEEL? I can now say with confidence that creativity isn’t conducive to backwards planning.


So, here I am. As I mentioned in my last post, the publisher I signed with is closing shop. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. However, this means I’ve got another chance to fearlessly ask about connections. I’ve got a fully written, 66,000-ish word memoir manuscript ready to be read SO hard. It’s tragically humorous and devastatingly uplifting. And if that doesn’t sound like a good time, then I don’t know what does.


My top priority is to connect with literary agents and/or publishers. The last time I made this ask, I secured a deal very quickly (Thank you!). And now I have an opportunity to do it again. Who do you know in the industry? And, more importantly, who do you know that you don’t realize is in the industry? The best thing you can do is share this. You learned to share when you were 3 years old, so I imagine you’re getting the hang of it by now.


You can also encourage visits to my site (you're here now), www.drewdotson.com, which provides insight into my writing style and tone. Please feel free to pick out some favorite posts and tell people how awesome I am — or at least how weird my life has been. If you want to share a more formal book proposal with someone, email me at drewdotson at gmail dot com, and I’ll send it over. This is my express written permission for you to do whatever the hell you want to help out this terminally ill widow. (Yeah, I went there.)


Though I can’t control what the outcome may be, I can tell you what I do know.


I poured my heart and soul into writing this memoir and am delighted with where it landed. It’s so far from any of the messages I could have planned in advance because, well, I went where the writing took me. I landed on something that’s a rare trifecta of raw, funny, and profound. Born with CF and an active mind, I spent many years fixated on death. As I surpassed my expiration date, I realized I should try a different approach — living. Though my life didn’t quite go as planned, I found joy by accepting what is rather than what should have been.


P.S. A pretty important bill dropped the other day. To read the full proposal of HR 918, click the Current Version button here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/62622. If Ramón can have his own freakin’ bridge, I can certainly land a publisher, right?

Mother sitting on couch and toddler daughter standing beside
Getting photographed for the paper with my hair like that? Fearless.

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