Tag: novelised memoir

My Beautiful Psychosis Book Cover

My Beautiful Psychosis Book CoverIt’s been decided. I’m self publishing! After a despairing 6 months of sending out proposals to agents, looking for someone else to believe in me, and receiving either rejections or worse still, no response at all, I’m setting off on the next phase of this challenging journey.

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’.

Letter To A Literary Agent

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 →

Losing My Ego

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 →

First Draft Is Finished

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 recently but… Read more →

Servants Of The Deep Sacred Dream

A person going through a process of profound inner change is often viewed by society as mentally ill, suffering a pathological condition that needs to be treated or cured. “A person going through a process of profound inner change is often viewed by society as mentally ill, suffering a pathological condition that needs to be treated or cured.  But such… Read more →

Morecambe & Wise Breakfast Sketch

“It’s so good to be home where I can potter around, make healthy meals and listen to the radio. I have it on as a soundtrack to my cooking. Like the classic Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch where they dance to the striptease tune, I move around to the music. Taking a side step and sliding my other foot, Tango like, to join my first, before opening the cupboard door. Reaching for a pan and twisting to the hob and placing it deliberately on the beat. My every move is a dance, connected through the fabric of space, to the rhythm of the Universe. Even when the radio is switched off, I still feel the pulsing of life taking me as its partner.”

 

 

3rd Of The Way Through

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 →

Audio: Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons

Here’s another extract with reference to a piece of music in.  This time a classical number.  Another one for the Booktrack soundtrack to my ebook.

 

“We’ve booked tickets to see a string quartet performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which isn’t the kind of thing either of us would normally go to.  But it’s so cultured in Venice that a classical concert feels compulsory so the poster stood out.  It’s one we both know.  Who doesn’t?

“It’s a fairly small space and the audience is sitting at the same level as the musicians.  As the music begins, I try to picture a spring landscape so that I can connect with what Vivaldi was trying to portray.  But it’s no use; I’m distracted, searching for the advert I’m only half remembering.  Maybe it’s an airline company.  Marco Polo Business Class with Cathay Pacific?  Definitely something trying to get across a sense of class.  I lure myself away from this thought by deliberately imagining a fawn frolicking in a woodland.  But that doesn’t work either.  It’s usurped by an image of a bunch of people dancing around a Baroque Ballroom in 18th Century grey wigs and too much white face powder.  Then faint memories of another commercial steal my attention away again.  How am I supposed to enjoy this?  The music has so many associations my ears are too biased to hear it properly.

“I decide to stop trying so hard and instead I focus on the musicians’ bows moving in unison: two violins, a viola and a cello.  I watch their fingers moving quickly across the strings and let out a sigh as I relax in my seat.

“Around each player is a purple glow, the same colour auras I saw in the hospital years ago.  When I tense up they disappear but when I relax they appear again.  I deliberately tighten up and let go a few more times to test this theory.   I can definitely only see them when I’m in a relaxed state.  They can’t possibly be hallucinations.”

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