For much of the past decade I have been writing Becoming Italian: How to Butcher a Beautiful Language, Fall in Love, and Stay Young, which asks and answers the question, can a middle-aged person with a tin ear learn a second language, and will the quest keep him or her young?
For over two decades I have struggled to speak the language of Dante and Puccini. From a place of almost total ignorance through too many embarrassments to a place of confidence composes the heart of Becoming Italian.
I began writing as a way to record my visits to Lucca, but in time, and with the encouragements of friends and colleagues, I ever so slowly put these stories into a book, one that I hoped would inspire the 50 million predominantly English-speaking foreigners who annually flock to Italy to learn enough Italian so that they too can can butcher the beautiful language, enjoy a far richer Italian travel adventure, and as emerging research proclaims, keep their spirits and brains young.
Becoming Italian is my seventh book. These include Instructor Excellence: Mastering the Delivery of Training (Pfeiffer); A Family & Friends Guide to Sexual Orientation (Routledge); A Manger’s Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace (Routledge). As Becoming Italian represents, for me, a new genre, travel writing, I developed this website, www.welovelucca.com. I now send over 17,000 emails monthly to subscribers and, I have, at nearly 75%, a subscriber retention rate 60 points above the norm. I have numerous Italian and American organizations, from hotels to restaurants and stores, as well as language schools, currently promoting my work. Additionally, I have dozens of endorsements for the book, including two from New York Times Best Selling Authors, Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge; The Little Book of Lykke) and Roland Merullo (Italian Summer; Breakfast with Buddha and others). I have recently completed wildly successful speaking engagements in California, Oregon and Colorado. And, perhaps most importantly I have a strong desire to make this project a grand success. I do believe it is possible!
All that said, I have, as yet, been unable to attract a good literary agent or publisher. I’ve gotten some great feedback that usually ends with something like “I’m fully booked and cannot take on another client.”
I know that getting books published these days is next to impossible, but if I have learned anything from my efforts to learn Italian it is that it requires perseverance, not to mention pazienza or patience, a trait I have slowly begun to develop.
I’ll give you an example. In March I wrote to a New York agent who immediately replied that she “loved my voice” and asked for additional chapters, which I sent within the day. Four months passed and I assumed that either my email ended up in cyberspace or that she wasn’t interested. I decided to ask her. She replied, “No, I loved what you’ve sent. This is just a very slow process.” She added that she’d get back to me in early July. So, I wait and hope and tell myself, if nothing else I am learning how to persevere and be patience 😁.
With that said, I could use your help, thus the title of this blog, Aiutami! or Help Me! If you have any introduction to an agent or publishing house I would be ever so grateful for your help. If you do have a source, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grazie mille. And, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you continue to enjoy my blogs and daily words.