When she was 20 years old, Catherine G Lucas ended up in a psychiatric hospital. She had the wisdom to work with a therapist and found that within her experiences lay an opportunity for healing. Gradually, with the help of her therapist, she learned how to take better care of herself. Catherine went on to found the Spiritual Crisis Network,… 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 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 →
So I’ve written a book. It was a hard slog showing up every day with a gaping chasm of a blank page staring at me. And spending ages hacking away at sentences to get them just right. Not to mention the years of getting the whole tone and voice right. So after nearly 19 years of putting it back on… Read more →
I’ve finished the book! Whoop whoop. High Five! It has a new ending after my EPIC Pilgrimage to Santiago, which wrote itself into my head on the way there. Now I need to find an agent/publisher. I also need a larger platform. I know there’s potentially thousands if not millions of people who would DEVOUR my book if they only knew… Read more →
Peer Supported Open Dialogue is revolutionising the way people are treated in the mental health services. It developed in Finland after their mental health system collapsed. Finland had had the worst statistics in Europe for schizophrenia. Now it has the best.
A group of family therapists got together and asked, how can we do it better? Open Dialogue is the answer. It is based on a totally different model to the current one which adopts the brain chemical imbalance theory. It brings together the social network of the person at the centre of concern (the patient) and encourages all those voices to be heard. It taps into the power of the social network, so that it takes an active part in the healing of the family member. It sees mental health problems as a symptom of the social network breaking down and so it aims to repair them. It is a social model that believes in the power of the individual within the collective to heal.
It is being introduced by Dr Russell Razzaque author of the radical book Breaking Down Is Waking Up. And Green Lane Films (my production company) has been asked to film it. My personal and professional life have finally joined and had children! And this video is the offspring.
Melinda Messenger features in this clip that I shot at the Open Dialogue Conference in London earlier this year. Melinda is doing a Transpersonal Psychotherapy training and is the Patron of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network.
If you want to know more about Peer Supported Open Dialogue sign up to the POD Bulletin.