This is the image that greets me when I walk into Hospital Rivadavia in Buenos Aires to see a psychologist called Delfina. Delfina means dolphin, which is my power animal. I’ve never been offered a talking therapy in the UK and when I asked if it was possible to see a psychotherapist, I was told, ‘No’ and put on a… Read more →
When Sascha Altman Du Brul was eighteen years old he was locked up in a psychiatric ward for two and a half months. He was told he had a biological brain disease that he would have for the rest of his life and there was little hope for him. But Sascha stepped outside of this view and looked into the… Read more →
Dr.Eleanor Longden started hearing voices when she was a student. At first they were harmless and narrated whatever she did. But they became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, and made her life a nightmare. She was hospitalised, drugged and labelled schizophrenic. Eleanor went on to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane… Read more →
It wasn’t until she read Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic that she began to seriously reconsider her options. Since September 2010, she has been free from psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, and now believes that the human experience should never be pathologised. Read more →
I wanted Dr. Russell Razzaque, author of ‘Breaking Down Is Waking Up‘ and Consultant Psychiatrist responsible for introducing Open Dialogue into the NHS to write a foreword to my book. I was thrilled to get this response from him: “I just couldn’t put it down. It took my breath away. Your prose is so captivating it just draws you in… Read more →
I sent a total of 34 proposals out: 18 of which received rejections and 16 I never heard back from. The standard response went something like this:
“Thank you for sending us this material, but I’m afraid it isn’t suitable for us. I’m sorry to disappoint, and wish you luck with your future writing.”
Only one agent gave me feedback as to why they didn’t go for it:
“Thanks so much for contacting us. I’ve read the sample material with interest. While I liked the chapters I wasn’t sufficiently swept along by the narrative to know that I’d be the best advocate for the book. Sorry! Best of luck elsewhere.”
The email I cherished the most, which I devoured like a drop of rain in the desert, came from Cara at the HHB Agency:
“Dear Emma, Thank you for your submission to HHB. I enjoyed reading your work, you write well, with intensity and style. However, as a small agency we are only ever able to take on a limited number of authors and I am afraid in this instance, we were not able to take you work further. I wish you all the best. All best, Cara”
One of the reasons I wanted to find a publisher was because I felt I wanted support to get the book out into the world. It is an entirely different process from writing the actual thing and requires very different skills. I’ve come to accept that I’m going to have to climb that particular mountain alone.
Thankfully there is help online at every step of the way.
The first thing I’ve done is to learn about cover design. I had a meeting with a graphic designer friend who very humbly said she wasn’t up for the job. I found a designer online, called Derek Murphy, who shared the secrets to designing a bestselling book cover. I’ve talked with bookshop assistants to find out what they think. I’ve played with different ideas and now, with a drum roll, I unveil the cover of my first book.
A huge thanks goes to artist Adriane Vinter from Norway for permission to use her image ‘Straight Jacket’.
There’s the writing of the book and then there’s the getting the book out into the world. And they’re two very different dragons to ride. It’s been six months of honing my message, crafting my pitch, researching the market, finding competing titles and succinctly summarising every chapter. With each submission, I’m effectively putting my heart and soul into words and offering it to a perfect stranger, asking… Read more →
I get this sudden terrifying thought that I’m going to die: a feeling of impending annihilation takes hold of me. It seems totally illogical because there is no actual physical threat. And it’s not a panicky fear either. It’s not like I’m so scared my head thinks it’s going to die. No. It’s as if, I unconsciously know my ego is… Read more →
I wrote the last sentence of my book this morning. Whoop whoop! High Five! Backflips all round… Over two years of discipline and commitment, not to mention the amount of wading through the quagmire of my sabotaging mind. My confidence in my writing has increased with the help of some critique from Elizabeth Diamond. I sent her another 20,000 words… Read more →
I’ve just sent off my next 10,000 words to Elizabeth Diamond to critique. This means I am now a third of the way into the book. It doesn’t feel nearly as daunting as it did in the beginning. I’m well into episode 3 of 7. I have bullet point notes that I made after each episode to jog my memory… Read more →