Hybrid publishing is controversial. My memoir My Beautiful Psychosis; Making Sense of Madness has been offered three publishing deals. I not jumping up and down with glee because they are hybrid publishing deals. What is hybrid publishing? In traditional publishing the writer gets an advance and receives a small percentage of the book’s profit. A traditional publisher pays the author… 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 →
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 →
A professional editor bridges the gap between the writer and the reader, a gap that the writer, may not be aware of. Once you have finished editing your manuscript yourself, a professional editor is essential. But should you spend money on a professional editor? The short answer is, if you want to get it published, whether through a traditional publisher… 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’.
Nobody likes rejection letters. Rejection is not what sets apart the successful writer from the unsuccessful one. It’s what you do with the rejection letters that counts. Looking for a literary agent is a roller coaster ride of uphill struggle and downhill mood slumps. I spent six months honing my message, crafting my pitch, researching the market, finding competing titles… Read more →