BY AMANDA GREEN
Your name and age.
My name is Amanda Green I’m 38.
Book name, publication date, who book is published by.
‘My Alien Self – My Journey Back to Me‘, my self published e-book memoir available on Amazon Kindle since the end of May 2012. And this is my first book.
What is the book about?
This memoir is an account of my journey through travel, excitement, normality and mental illness to find myself again. I want to inspire others that it is possible to recover and have a life worth living.
It covers my whole life, my story; my journey back to me from Borderline Personality Disorder with co-occurring depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD– mental illness which manifested during my life and came out ‘to it’s peak’ in my thirties, when finally diagnosed.
I was able to use my lifetimes collection of mementos, photos, diaries, journals, letters, emails and text messages of my past to finally see who I had become, and more importantly with a combination of therapy, medication and my writing, how I became that alien self and how I found the real me.
It’s the journey of a normal working class girl, trapped in a roller coaster world of disorder and excitement, love and joy, depression and anger – and her fight against stigma.
I hope it highlights just how fine the line is between what is normal, and what is ‘mental illness’ And everyone who reads it will be able to relate to it.
The writing name ‘Amanda Green’ is a pseudonym to protect my family – for example much of my book chronicles living with a mentally ill mum.
When did you start writing/what gave you the idea to write a book?
I started in 2008 and it was a work in progress throughout the four years of its creation – not only as a life story to share with others, but that my life, in reality, was trundling along at the same time as writing about it. It was a journey of self therapy where the therapy was my writing. This cathartic approach offered me no guarantee I would recover from the mental health issues I suffered with, but as I uncovered wild and crazy escapades of my past, my views were mixed as to how I viewed myself. I had become an ‘Alien me’ and the journey was to find the real me again.
How did you get published? Did you approach a literary agent first or go directly to a publisher?
Due to obsessive tendencies I wrote up every memory, letter and diary until I had reams of writing, and a confused head. A literary agent advised the story was very interesting but the writing needed work so I emailed Jonathan at WM who introduced me to their new affordable critiquing service. I sent in few chapters, received an in depth critique a few weeks later and was upset with the contents – how could there be so many issues with my writing? I thought it was good! Having a low self esteem it was very difficult to have my writing, my story, pulled apart, but I put pride and fear to one side in order to learn and progress. I re-read the critique two weeks later, realised it was actually constructive criticism and began acting on the advice given.
I also attended a handful of four week writing courses at my local college and went on writing retreats. I then hired an editor who helped me work on scene writing and finally Debz Hobbs-Wyatt from Wales who, with dedication and expertise, taught me to cut and write until I had a final polished memoir in my own voice and words, which I then self published to kindle just six weeks ago.
Where your book is on sale?
My memoir is available on Amazon.
Any advice for other book writers?
I would thoroughly recommend any writer, amateur or professional, to seek help through editorial appraisal – its tailor made and I wouldn’t have a book without my editor! (Debz Hobbs-Wyatt). A separate proof reader will also iron out any minor mistakes and plot issues. Make sure that the finished product is the best it can possibly be and do not let impatience or time issues stop you from achieving the finest narrative you can achieve. And don’t give up! If you cannot find an agent or publisher to take on your book, then self publish – it’s easy, you receive all the royalties and if you can prove that the book sells well as an e-book, you never know, you may well find that the publishers come to you since e-book sales are approximately 10% of the book sales market and rising.
I also had ongoing support from my editor until final conversion. There can be many issues with file conversion to a kindle format so I engaged the help of a specialist in this field who emailed me a converted mobi file ready to upload directly onto Amazon kindle. The cover design was also converted by the designer, to kindle format ready for direct upload. It took a few weeks. I researched my directly competing book for price and took the stance that I would be somewhere down the middle of their range of prices. I also wanted to take advantage of the 70% royalty package offered by Amazon, rather than the lower 35% royalty, and to do this the price needed to be within a small range, so this was also a factor in my final choice of price.
Have you had publicity for your book? If so, what publicity?
I have had an article and photos published in Real Travel magazine and photographs across many magazines such as Essex Life and Yorkshire Life. Recently, to help my campaign to stop the stigma around mental illness I have been sharing my stories with Mental health charities who have published my articles on their websites.
My aspirations are to continue as a full time writer/photographer and hope to have my book published as a paperback.
I also felt the wrath of stigma when I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder. My mother was incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals for years with Schizophrenia. I was bullied about it at school. Many people do not understand mental illness, so judge people unfairly. So I created www.amandagreenauthor.co.uk where I publish articles on the topics covered in my story, including self help, depression, bankruptcy, Alcohol/drug abuse, family and relationships, sexual, physical and mental abuse, anxiety, anger, Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), self harm, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Anorexia Nervosa/Bulimia, mindfulness, panic, rape, Schizophrenia, psychosis, Suicidal thoughts, paranoia, dissociation, mood disorder, thyroid issues and psychology.
You can also follow me on Facebook (AmandaGreenAuthor) or on Twitter (@AmandaGreenUK)
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