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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
If you need something to validate your experiences and help you understand them in a better light you would do well to read Servants Of The Sacred Dream by Linda Hartley. Here’s an extract: “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… Read more →