Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two characters in search of a publisher

I began writing about Chris's and my experience in mental health care five years ago when it suddenly clicked with me that a diagnosis of schizophrenia was the beginning of a fabulous journey, although not one without peril. It occurred to me to write a book to sound the drum for an alternative way of thinking about an up-until-now dismal diagnosis. Five years later and I am still at it. Seventy-five thousand words but just about done.

What I've written is sort of a do-it-yourself look at alternative mental health but in the form of a memoir. It can also be seen as a coming of age story regarding waking up to the delusion of the pharmaceutical cure. My book has been professionally edited three times. I  realized early on that my writing skills were rusty from being on the mommy track for so long (grocery lists and notes to teacher). It was just about ready two years ago and then Chris had a relapse. Being a holistic convert, I took it in stride as a necessary step on the road to self-awareness on both our counts. The relapse also allowed me to add some interesting new chapters on yet more therapies and approaches.

Most of the therapies that I have written about in my book are not known to be applied to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. That's part of why what Chris and I are doing is so interesting. It's all new territory. I also personally underwent these novel therapies so that I could get a better grip on what I was writing about. I, too, have benefited from the healing effects of the therapies.

I am at the point where I could really use some advice about how to market this book. I am perfectly prepared to go the self-publishing route because it involves no rejection letters and not as much work as chasing agents. (I have already received a few rejection letters, so I feel I must be getting closer to a published book). I can also put it on Authonomy, the author's website where other writer's critique your work in exchange for your critiquing theirs. My book would be available to anyone who simply signs up for an account. What I want to do is to get our story to a larger public. I've gone the blog and Twitter route as a way of getting a strong "platform" as they say in the biz but also as a way of sharpening my writing skills. I don't know how strong my platform really is, but it looks good in a query letter.

If you have any ideas that I may not have considered, please feel free to contact me about them. No idea is too small, too big or too eccentric, trust me.

Title of this post is inspired by Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. For an interesting look at Pirandello's inspiration, google Pirandello schizophrenia. 


  1. Hi, I tried to post yesterday, but I don't think my comment went through. I have a friend who is working on a book and has a publisher, a big one. I think she got an agent. That would be my recommendation.

  2. First, from the marketing perspective: all things for sale must have a niche or a target audience, so know your audience.

    Second, depends on how worldwide you want the book to be read/available.

    It might be necessary to lend more transparency, IE, what market you intend the book for: where? in the US? in the chain book stores? in health food stores? in another country outside the US?

    Depends on how aggressive you want to get to sell/publish. If you want it to be seen all over, I'd go the Doug Bremner, Bob Fiddaman routes. Bremner used Authonomy (can't remember if Bob did) and Bob has his on Kindle awaiting final edit for paperback.

    The key to marketing anything is to ask this question:

    does it fit a need?

    If you think it does, then market it...same as pharma does! marketing tactics is how things are sold, it comes down to that.

  3. Thanks all around. It is harder to market than to write, that seems clear. The Authonomy route could be an interim step. I can see it crowding out my blog with the time commitment needed.

  4. Hello Rossa!

    Scribd is often a good place for marketing interesting books.

    Some of the authors I have "met" on the service include Ingrid Ricks (Hippie Boy), Al Rosenberg (Flight to Health), Adam Tod Leverton (the poet), Christopher Lee Jones (Waterboarded: a novel published by Chipmunka Press), Jed Diamond (a prolific author), Bill Allin (Turn it Around) and Hyla Molander (Drop Dead Life).

    Unless noted, these are writers of memoirs who have had an entrepreneurial platform. They are well accustomed to interact with readers and writers.

  5. Thanks, Adelaide. I'll take a look. What are you writing about?


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