Self Publishing Woes

I’m writing a book. Who isn’t. I actually have five or six. Three in a series sort of YA bipolar disc jockey juggles illness, men, rapid cycling and alcohol on occasion. Father says to me the other day, “You need a Project. Find out how much it will cost, a-z to get your book published and I’ll write a check. I hadn’t expected such but XLibris was having a sale.

Based on what my friends have told me, 399.99 plus a plot/pace/content assessment is going to be too little and I’ll get hit up for more fees down the line and I told my consultant that I had been warned and asked her to really dig deep and tell me the price. She got argumentative and angry. It didn’t help matters at all that my foot got broken and hurt badly.

My last conversation with this person was that she felt insulted and when it came down to it, she though I’d need 25k to get a book out there, but she had politely refrained from throwing this in my face. Don’t you think that 399.00 plus 199.00 and the sum total of 25k are a little far off?  Where were all these fees coming from? Wasn’t she being unethical to ‘undersell me’ something for 600.00 that was going to end up costing our family 25k?  Then she got into this whole thing about how Authorhouse and Xlibris are very different (I had previously spoken to Authorhouse) and that’s why she chose Xlibris. I asked her about 12 questions about Print on Demand, and wondered why she had not brought up marketing guidance. You got me right, they provide no marketing or advertising for you for free, but for an additional fee, they can arrange to have your book reviewed and so forth.Big smile, shorthairclip

#SayItForward & Listen as well.

The SayItForward week has had me stymied. People in my recovery circle, be it bipolar or depression or AA people, are already aware of how important it is to reduce stigma and get help early on, when shame is stronger than the pain and prevents us from speaking. My ‘regular’ facebook page, comprised of people I used to work with in the music business are more sympathetic to artists who have mood disorders than people on the air and in programming. It’s true that some of the most famous people in charge of putting new music, promotions and disc jockeys on the radio have been eccentric, for sure. But when I post something about mental health on my page, there might be one ‘like’ and it’s from a sympathetic relative. For me to Tweet to #SayItForward seemed like preaching to the choir. So how can I get the message out there so that it makes a dent in the universe? Just a little one? I know I can do it, but how?

One of the things that hit me is how important it is for people to be willing to listen. That’s why the Peer Movement and Drop In Centers and AA have been so successful. Those people suffer too, and want to listen!

But what about those who think Bipolar Disorder is a spiritual weakness, a form of neurotic self centeredness or a moral flaw? I’m not sure we will ever change their minds. What about the people who are uncomfortable with the whole topic of mental health because of one factor or another? What about the people in my family who have ‘had it up to here,’ with my occasional issues? The topic is clearly not of interest to them, and among them are hard core religionists who don’t buy into the reality of mood disorders, period. Some of them truly think if I went to church regularly and turned my life over to…that I would not need medication or a psychiatrist. Even though they’ve seen me when I’ve been psychotically depressed and under the impression I have two children when I have none.

I think it’s important to #SayItForward, but what can we do to open the door for people to be listeners and help us take action when we need to but aren’t sure of our options? Why can’t all those who blame random violence and other extreme behavior on us believe in our stuggles when there aren’t any headlines on the front pages or home pages? I wish I knew the answer. I just got off the phone with a girlfriend who doesn’t think she’s on the right antidepressant and I tend to agree with her. The manufacturers of this old generic tricyclic bought up all the other makers so they could have a monopoly on supply and drive the price up to 10.00 a pill. It’s too much for her to afford.

That’s why she’s off of it. Like me, she’s on disability and her finances are stretched thin. She drinks when she gets depressed and I’m worried about her. She’s having a tough time speaking up and Even though she’s in DBT treatment and has a psychiatrist who sees her on staff there, I don’t think they are listening. It just seems like it’s Lori against the world and the world is winning. I’m trying to help her, trying to be there for her. Last time we spoke she was in tears from the depression.

As much as we need to speak, we need to listen. Because by and large, we seem to be the only ones. That I know of.

Book to help the other Bipolars

I want to write  a book that chronicles some of the more informational, colorful, and courageous aspects of my 25 year illness. I want people to hold it in their hands and feel less alone, less odd, less..well, hopeless. The book might take five years to write. And I’ve got to buckle down and get practical. It’s not about the money. It’s about being findable, accessible to those who need to hear a message of hope about Tardive Dyskinesia, mood swings, finding a good doctor and all that stuff that comes with this.

It’s about people being able to relate or even think…”wow, that bitch is nuttier than I ever was!  Maybe there is hope for me after all.” Of course it gets complicated with the Eating Disorder that has been a big player in the whole game. A lot of folks can’t relate to that.

But the eating disorder deserves its own book, really. We’ve all had different journeys. I read an article about a young woman in the New York Times Magazine who had been on lithium for 20 years. Her big quote besides the lithium lakes in Bolivia was “I don’t believe in God, But I believe in Lithium.” But lithium is causing her kidneys to underfunction by 50%, and if she doesn’t switch soon to Depakote, (and hope that the switch works for her) she will be on a transplant list for a kidney in a few years. I sort of dodged that bullet, since my psoriasis is totally inflamed by lithium to where I look like a Leper. So eventually I got antipsychotics, came down with tardive dyskinesia…so which bullet did I dodge after all? It all looks like tradeoffs to me, when you get down to it.