Well, it happened. This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness has been accepted for publication by Chipmunka Publishing.
At first, I was skeptical. Why would a publisher want to publish my book? Editors are peculiar in their tastes. I just wasn’t sure how my manuscript would be received. Chipmunka was recommended to me by a friend who told me that my book would fit in well with what they are looking for.
Well, I looked over their website. At first, I was skeptical, but I read on, and then I said to myself, “Wow!” Chipmunka is a nonprofit based in England, partially funded by the British government. Their mission is to give people with mental illnesses a voice. The CEO got out of the hospital, saw a need, and then created Chipmunka, just like that. The company is basically run by two guys, with other part-timers and a large group of volunteers. I looked over the books that they were selling–they produce about 100 e-books a year, 70 paperbacks–and was impressed with the quality of the excerpts. Mostly, I believed in the cause, and wanted to be part of it.
So I lived at the library for a month revising. It felt like final semester all over again! Poor Puzzle! My head was somewhere deep in the manuscript all day long. The manuscript! The manuscript! Finally, it was done. Believe me, it took a long time before I dared press that SEND button.
I received word today at 6am Eastern time, 11am London time. The waiting, the obsessive e-mail checking, was over. I looked at Puzzle. She looked at me. We were happy.
Later, I told people. Not everyone I knew, and not all at once. I posted to Facebook, e-mailed some people, and called some people.
The only reaction that truly disappointed and hurt me was my brother’s. He said, “Chipmunka, eh? How do you spell that? Like chipmunk? I’ve never heard of that. Are you sure this isn’t some crackpot organization? Some vanity publisher? How do you know they even read your book? Huh?”
The reason I was hurt by this was because I don’t believe he was saying it to be protective. I don’t think he was concerned that I was being ripped off. I think he thought I was doing it the easy way, choosing a softer publisher that might be more likely to publish my book just for the sake of getting published sooner. And this truly insulted me. Chipmunka is not a softer publisher. They are a specialty publisher looking for certain types of manuscripts. And if you don’t fall into their specifications, they don’t publish you. That is true of any publisher.
But if you buy my book–forgive me here for self-promoting for a minute–you are not only reading my work and allowing me to share with you my experience of mental illness (and a lot more), but you are supporting my publisher, folks dedicated to giving people with mental illnesses a voice. What could be a better cause?
Thanks everyone. The e-book, in .pdf form, will come out in one to three months. The paperback will come out in nine months to a year at most. Yes, I’ll be giving readings. Hope to see you then.