My manuscript is in a holding pattern as I brave the query trenches—a situation akin to dating in which, rather than looking for a romantic partner, I’m seeking a literary agent to represent and sell my work. So far, I’ve pitched 20 agents and received several kind, even helpful rejections. I’ve been told the process can take upwards of a year and involve 100 or more rejections.

My writing coach warned me not to get stuck in the waiting. “Find what’s next and start,” she said, as if creating a whole new focus for my creative life would be no big deal. So, between obsessive email checking, summer travels, and another family bout with COVID, I resolved to pay attention. What piques my interest? What gives me joy? What makes me feel as purpose-driven as when I was burying myself in my manuscript every day? 

The answer turned out to be memoirs. Over the past few years, I’ve read 58. As of now, there are 42 more on my to-read list. Each time I finish one, I say I’ll write a review to support the author. But other priorities end up taking precedence. In August, that changed. My new Substack publication, Memoirs with Melissa, is where I’m sharing bimonthly memoir reviews intended to expose readers to diverse authors and life experiences they may not have discovered on their own. I have a lot more to say about why I’m doing this, which you can read about here.

Today, I sent out the last issue of the Blue Venus Rising newsletter, a monthly-turned-quarterly publication connected to my old website. It would mean so much if you’d support me by subscribing to Memoirs with Melissa and share it with the readers in your life. This new publication both boosts other memoir writers and builds my author platform, which will ultimately help sell my book to a publisher and get it in the hands of readers. I’m beyond excited to see where this goes. In the meantime, I’m having so much fun building what’s next.

What’s New

Read My Work in The Banyan Review

My personal essay, We Can’t Eat Grass, found its home in my first literary journal acceptance. The editors at The Banyan Review were enthusiastic about the piece’s core message and fabulous to work with. I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out.

Congrats to the JaxNext100 Writing Contest Winners

A story built from excerpts of my memoir won an honorable mention and cash prize at the JaxNext100 writing contest. Thank you JaxbyJax, 904WARD, and The Jessie for promoting diversity and infusing thousands of dollars into the local literary community.

Femme Fire Books: A New Place to Browse Books!

Available both online and in-person behind Cultivate Jax, Femme Fire Books is a store packed with diverse stories. Find new and used, and make your dollars count by buying independent. Founder Vanessa Nicolle’s goal is to celebrate diversity in literature and encourage reading for all.

If my writing speaks to you, please ease my path to publication by subscribing to my bimonthly memoir reviews. It helps me show proof of readership to literary agents and publishers and, best of all, exposes you to diverse life stories you may not have known exist.