Why I am publishing an ebook, and the importance of Mind charity
Following what has gone down in history as the worst year of my life, I decided part of the way through it to write about it. I shall briefly recap on this, and the reasons for my decision to share my story will hopefully become clear. I developed Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from rape, which lead to suicide attempts, depression, flashbacks, supression, and cost me my career. This catapulted me down the road of requiring the support of the mental health services.When I first blogged about the rape in January 2011, I was stunned at the amount of people out there who had been through similar experiences. At the time I was right in the thick of it though, but I made a mental note to revisit this at a stage, where I felt well enough in body and mind to address it.
Not only were there hundreds of people who spoke openly to me about there own traumas, there were over 50 men and women who bravely told me their stories who had not told a single soul, not even there nearest and dearest, and they insisted they never would. Some had found a way to live with it, but it was clear that others were suppressing their trauma, and it was hurting them. Whether through fear of upsetting their family life, or through unwarranted embarrassment or even misplaced guilt, they felt it should remain deep inside. I did the exact same thing myself for quite some time and it caused a lot of damage to me, but I found that once I started talking about it, and found the right people to listen and help, I couldn’t stop. I know it isn’t the right thing for everybody, I can only speak from my own experiences. A handful of the people who did confide in me did eventually seek help with encouragement, which I gave in complete confidence, and they are now dealing with those dreadful horrors that they have kept locked away for so long. I am so happy that a) they felt they could talk to me; and b) they are finally facing their demons and getting help.
It was really a two way street, if you talk to anyone with a mental illness, one of the best releases and most fulfilling things you can do is to share, talk, find someone who feels the same as you. It is also the hardest thing in the world in “real life” to have the confidence to do this, and the internet has provided an often life-saving tool of communication for such sufferers. The stigma and ignorance towards mental health can be ignored/bypassed. We have a welcomed outlet that I value tremendously.
I completed my book in November and it tied in with my counselling coming to a close, it felt right. I had drawn a much needed line and I could look forward to the new year as a new, much needed chapter in my life, face new challanges and start enjoying life again. I didn’t know the first thing about publishing so I researched, asked questions, and read and read and read, until I knew I had the right material for a completed novel. I was happy with what I had so I sent it to some agents.
To cut a long story short, the agent who did show some interest is sadly no longer interested. The publishing market is in a stranglehold, agents aren’t willing to take risks on new, unknown authors, they want known names, sellable subject matters, perfect book lengths to enable smooth publishing. This is a shame, because if they are to compete with the e-market, they are going to have to start taking a few chances, but the climate just isn’t allowing them. To quote the agent, he said “I can’t justify selling this book for £7.99 to consumers”. Well, firstly, I too don’t think it is worth that, but that’s publishing costs for you. So I am going to self publish it as an ebook and promote it myself.
The reason I am promoting it, is for the people out there still suffering, who aren’t yet ready to share their stories. I hope by reading mine it will encourage them to do so. If one person downloads it and decides it has encouraged them, then I will be happy. It isn’t the sort of novel I would ever really be able to hold in my hands and be extremely proud of, because of the subject matter. It is more about the story, and getting it out there, highlighting the difficulties faced by someone suffering from a mental illness. I desperately tried to find literature when I was suffering and there was not a lot out there.
So, the ebook market is perfect, people can download it in confidence, read it, share it. I’m going to be uploading it after a couple of final edits and selling it for a fiver. Half of this I will be donating to the charity Mind, because without their help I may not be here today. I can’t believe in this modern day and age the majority of mental health treatment has to come from a charity. But it does, and it saves lives on a daily basis. We must protect this in our current rocky climate of the unknown, because without it I don’t know what we would have. You can read all about their work here: http://www.mind.org.uk/ and you can follow them on twitter here: @MindCharity
To anybody thinking of downloading it, please do, I put my heart and soul into giving the most honest and open account of this past year as I possibly could. And you could be helping others get the help that I am eternally thankful for. I will be posting a link in the next few days, on twitter and facebook, and I will be genuinly grateful to any one of you who see this as a good cause and can help.
UPDATE 15 DECEMBER 2011 a link to my book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006M3EWPS