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  1. #11
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    Robert,

    Go to the bookstore and look for memoirs of people who have been through the same thing. Sue William Silverman's book, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You is a vivid account of incest. Mary Kerr's books also relate sexual abuse as a child. It's possible you may be able to find an agent rather than a publisher, but you will have to do a lot of research. And you may be asked to tone down some of the graphic descriptions.

    Jeanne



  2. #12
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    The sad but plain truth is, if you're writing from the viewpoint of the abused, it's been done to death. There's no market for it unless A - the abused is famous or B - the book is astonishingly well-written.

    Unfortunately, too many folks know they're not famous but are pretty sure their story could qualify under the B category. 99.4% of them are wrong.

    By all means write your stories. Write them honestly and to the very best of your abilities. When you're finished, you might just find that your soul has eased, you're sleeping better, you slayed the dragon. Maybe you won't feel compelled to seek publication.

    If you still do however, by all means go for it. If commercial publishers doors remain closed to you, there's always self-pubbing. (But for Perry White's sake, do your homework and learn how publishing really works before subbing anything, anywhere.)

    If you're writing from the abuser's standpoint, it might have a chance if it's a confessional, useful to the medical and law enforcement communities and made from behind bars.

  3. #13
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    Personally, I don't want to read any "graphic" descriptions of child sexual abuse and I'm not sure who the type of people are who WOULD like to read such a thing in vast detail. I'm not sure what purpose that serves, other than sensationalism--and that may very well backfire. If you're just trying to cleanse your soul, write it down if it helps, but I'd also suggest you seek professional help if you haven't already.

  4. #14
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    Ever heard of Sybil?

    Absolutely brilliant book describing in horrifying detail the sexual, psychological and emotional abuse of a child.

    Why did it work? Because the abuse wasn't the only thing happening in the book. And it was so well written, the reader couldn't put it down, even when they wanted to.

    A writer can write about anything. Nothing is off limits. But if you are going to write it, you've got to produce exceptional writing and a storyline in which more than just abuse takes place. If the writing is crappy or the story is endlessly bleak or repetitious, nobody will buy it.

    So you've really got to make it shine. As Ru Paul would say, "YOU'D BETTER WORK."

  5. #15
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    It's been years since I've read Sybil and I remember it being very disturbing, but not excessively graphic (meaning, yes, the author described what happened but didn't belabor every detail...my memory could be faulty. I found the movie much more upsetting). The story was mostly about mental illness (which, of course, was caused by the abuse) i.e. Sybil's multiple personalities and how they helped her "cope," how they affected her life, and the therapeutic relationship between Sybil and her psychiatrist. I still found it a difficult read. I'm not a sissy, I LOVE horror stories, but I simply can't stomach child abuse.

    As an aside, I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the actual interviews between Sybil and her psychiatrist were possibly faked? Can't remember the details...

    Also, Sybil was written in the early seventies, I think, and the subject has been done to death since then. So I hope yours is a unique, powerful, and exceptionally well-written story

  6. #16
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    Yes, there were lots of other elements to Sybil beside the descriptions of abuse, but the descriptions were specific. That's my point. If you write a book that is simply pages and pages of graphic abuse without anything else, who will read it? But if you can incorporate other aspects of your life, and write it brilliantly, you've got something.

    We don't know Robert B's story. Hopefully, the way he has written his book is not just a recitation of horrible experiences.

    Still, to me, it all comes down to the writing. If it isn't exceptional, that manuscript isn't going to sell.

  7. #17
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    That's very, very true.

  8. #18
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    Well, for the most part.

  9. #19
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    Re: Seeking publisher for my graphic story of childhood sexual abuse.

    I just had to jump in here because as part of my graduate degree and in working with child victims of sexual abuse over the past decade, I've actually had to read quite a bit about child sexual abuse (mostly research based though) and I do agree that it is extremely difficult to read and digest. I have read Syblil and A Child Called It - both extreme cases of horrific child abuse that were extremely well written. I agree that if you are going to write a memoir on your own sexual abuse, it MUST be not only well written, but have the innate ability to reach readers in a way that is meaningful. Reading about some abuse is expected in a memoir of this type, but unless readers can connect it with something or someone they know in their own lives, it simply won't work.

    There always has to be a wider angle to a child abuse memoir - a lense that allows the reader to see beyond the abuse scene to envision hope and accomplishment. Many readers will stay with a book like Sybil or A Child Called It if they know that "everything will turn out alright with the child" - there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Is that always true in cases of child sexual abuse? Heck no. But as readers, there is an inherent desire to feel like we get something motivating from a memoir, no matter how small.

    And yes Jena - there has been a plethora of debate about whether or not whether all or any of Sybil's "personalities" existed since her psychiatrist took "liberties" with her documentation. Personally I still believe she suffered from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder), but how much was exaggerated, we'll never probably know.

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