My father committed a crime and pleaded guilty

by Dec 9, 2016

Each of the newspaper clippings described the crime as well as, the legal process that kept him in jail for 8 weeks awaiting trial. The 100 letters aka, “Jailhouse Letters” exchanged between my parents during that time were important to the story. However, they could also have the tendency to bog down a reader.

I sat at my dining room table and began to re-read each letter in hopes of finding ways to trim or eliminate a few of the less important ones. The problem was I found only 3 or 4 letters that might not be missed. Frustrated, I felt I needed to clear my head and walked into the other room. I sat in my leather chair and picked up the Nashville Business Journal. When I was just a few pages in, I saw an announcement for Open Book Nashville and a familiar name, Richard Courtney. I immediately went to their website and read how they help authors in all aspects of getting their books published. I emailed Richard and his partner, Trish Luna, for an appointment giving them just a snippet of what I had discovered. They got back with me right away and an appointment was made.

A few days later I arrived for my appointment, met Trish, and felt an immediate connection. She encouraged me to start talking and I remember saying: “Don’t make me do this twice. Let’s wait for Richard.” The first thing Richard asked upon arrival was: “You haven’t started yet, have you?” Whatever I had said in my email had left them intrigued and ready to learn more. They let me talk for nearly two hours interrupting only to clarify something I had said. When I finished and was gasping for water, they looked at each other and said: “Movie.” Seeing my stunned reaction, they told me it needed to be pitched as a movie and if picked up, then a book could be rushed to print. Feeling immediately overwhelmed, I suggested maybe they read the book first and left them with my early draft.

When we met again, I learned Richard had already discussed my book with an agent in New York. Her feedback was disappointing at first but I realized she had a valid point. She had said it would be a difficult pitch to make to a major publishing house because of one aspect of the book. But she also felt it was a story needing to be told and that I should consider self-publishing. She used examples like Fifty Shades of Gray and The Martian as self-published books that went on to be pick up by publishing houses and ultimately achieving much success.

I was fine with that idea simply because I would have more control over the project and it could speed up the process. I wasn’t sure I had the patience for the slower pace of the more traditional publishing route. However, I would need a publishing name. My newfound knowledge let me see what my mother and grandmother had endured because of my father’s actions. For me, it had elevated them to sainthood in my eyes. Therefore, I decided to honor them by using the Broadway family name and chose St. Broadway Press as my publishing moniker.

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J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.

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