Catherine G Lucas’ book In Case Of Spiritual Emergency is an essential read for anyone who has been through a transformational crisis. Transpersonal experiences often get pathologised by the mental health system, but this book validates them. In this webinar I talk about some of my experiences: including seeing ancestral spirits, seeing auras, having past life experiences, losing my ego… Read more →
My Beautiful Psychosis has now been offered three publishing deals. But why am I not jumping up and down with glee? Because they are, what is known in the industry as, hybrid deals. But what does this mean? You’ve heard of traditional publishing, where the writer gets an advance and receives royalties if the book makes a profit. A traditional… Read more →
Robert Whitaker is a medical journalist who used to write articles about the brain chemical imbalance theory, believing it to be true. When the World Health Organisation claimed that living in a developed country was a strong predictor of a poor outcome for those diagnosed with schizophrenia he wanted to know why. Why, if you’re diagnosed with schizophrenia, are you… Read more →
In 2009 Katie Mottram took an overdose. She hated herself and felt like she had ruined her life and she had no choice but to die. Her mother had been through the psychiatric system and had also tried to kill herself. The effect on Katie, as a child, was profound. This is where her depression stemmed from. Despairing and suicidal,… 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 →
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 →
About a year ago I got feedback from a professional editor about My Beautiful Psychosis. I discovered that there was still a long way to go but she encouraged me to keep going because she thought it had potential. I had missed out important back stories to flesh out characters as well as vivid scene descriptions to evoke a sense… Read more →
Editing is an important part of the writing process. That’s why I sent my manuscript off to someone in the publishing industry. I don’t have an agent or publisher and I didn’t want to put something out there that wasn’t credible. My editor was to be my gate keeper and a window into how my book is seen by the… 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 →