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sacha_kimber
04-29-2005, 01:35 AM
--excerpt--
The sun is shining. Flowers bloom in gardens up and down the street. The children laugh and play, running and dancing with energetic appeal. Its payday, our home equity loan checks arrived and all the bills have been paid. Tomorrow is Saturday, and I have the next few days to relax. Everything is wonderful on the outside, but inside nothing has changed. My anxiety and depression are still the same.

I ask myself what would make me happy. A nice new big house, a second child, to work from home, flowers blooming in my garden, a long break from life. It all sounds good, but I know that chasing my daydreams will only create good feelings for a short time, and in the near to distant future the bad feelings will return.

Nothing I have ever done has made a lasting difference. Two counselors, and over seven years of therapy, two marriages, a new house, too many jobs to count, alcoholic insanity, and nine years of sobriety, a beautiful little girl (my daughter Kyla), plenty of self-help books, and positive thinking. I have severed lasting relationships and later repaired these broken intimacies.

I have experience periods of time where I felt relief. It just never seemed to last. Each time my depression ceased to affect me I assumed that it had permanently relinquished, all to my dismay. It returned like a bad craving, attacking my soul and taking me captive.
---excerpt--

This is just a glimpse of my life. I want to write a non-fiction book about depression; tell a first-hand experience about what it is like to suffer from ongoing depression. I know that everyone feels blue every now and then so maybe this book has no appeal. I guess I am curious what you all think. I would like to include several chapters about my counseling/therapy and how I cope with my depression as a mother.

If you were going to read a book about depression, what would you want to know?

Thank you for your help.

TashaGoddard
04-29-2005, 01:16 PM
Argh! I just wrote a really long reply and it got lost. I'm going to try to summarise what I said.

1. There is a market for this kind of book, as there are a number of them out there already. This might mean that the market is already saturated. However, if you can bring something new (e.g. a new angle), you may be successful. (When my mother first started suffering from bipolar disorder, I bought a number of books about the disorder, inlcuding some personal accounts. I found the personal accounts the most useful, although the self-help books did provide interesting facts, because they were personal.

2. Make sure you know at the outset what you want to get out of it. Do you want to provide insight and advice to others, or is you main aim to verbalise your experiences for your own benefit? If it's the latter, then just write the book - it may turn out to be publishable, which would be a bonus, but not the main point. If it's the former, you might want to consider taking a particular aspect and concentrating on that. For example, you mention that you would like to put in a chapter or two about coping with depression as a mother. What about gearing the book toward that particular issue?

3. Explore the market as it already exists. Buy or borrow (inter-library loan is your friend) other personal accounts of depression that have been written. Make sure that you have something new to offer. (Unfortunately, the fact that it is about your experiences and no-one else's might not be enough there. Might not.)

4. From your extract, your writing style seems quite good and flows easily (to me, anyway), which will definitely help.

5. Personally (as the daughter of a bipolar sufferer), I would like to get an insight into what depression feels like to the suffer. I would also want to know how it affects others around the sufferer. (That's just me, though. Others would no doubt look for other things.)

6. Hopefully there will be other people here who will be able to offer you more (and better) advice.

7. Good luck with your writing!

Julie Anne
04-29-2005, 02:48 PM
Hi there,
I second what Tasha said, especially the part about nice writing style. I would add one thing, though...
Be sure to supply some *solutions*. In other words, don't just go on and on about what it's like, how bad you feel, etc. without leaving the reader with some hope!

I read somewhere that publishers almost always want a happy ending, but if they can't get that, there should at least be hope. So add in the ways you dealt with the depression and especially ways that your family copes and helps you when you're down. Give the reader something they can *do* ...not just a sad story.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Julie Anne

chippewapublishing
04-29-2005, 05:51 PM
Something like this might be interesting even in a story. The emotions and true feelings brought out in the story would make it moving. A non-fiction book is good, too, but they're usually so dry. An autobiography?

It would be helpful for those who are suffering or with family members who are suffering from depression as well. They will know they're not alone. :-)

aka eraser
04-29-2005, 07:57 PM
Although it may not be totally clear in your own mind until you get further into the work, prospective publishers will want to know if it goes into the self-help or memoir category. I think the former is an easier sell but as Tasha cautioned, there are a lot of books dealing with subject. You'll need to bring something new to the table or offer a very strong literary voice.

I wish you well with it.

sacha_kimber
05-02-2005, 11:12 PM
I agree that most people want to read something positive out by the time they finish the book. I thought about adding a chapter on "my survival guide" that would include techniques I use to survive my depress. These techniques would not include medication or therapy approaches.

sacha_kimber
05-02-2005, 11:14 PM
Tasha, any suggestions on how to search the market? Where do you search? What websites do you find useful?
I tried a search on Amazon.com and I could not find any personal accounts on depression, so maybe I am not looking in the right place. I will try to search through my local library today.
Thank you so much for all your suggestions. They are very helpful.

TashaGoddard
05-02-2005, 11:39 PM
Tasha, any suggestions on how to search the market? Where do you search?

I'm in the UK and tend to use Amazon.co.uk (rather than Amazon.com), which for some reason seems to have a better search facility than Amazon.com! I did a Power Search over at Amazon.com for:

keywords: "clinical depression" and "personal account"

which threw up 500 results. A quick scan showed that some of these are actual personal accounts of coping and living with depression (some of them are not relevant). 500 might seem a lot to look through, but you can scan the titles and fairly quickly discount the ones that aren't relevant. Look further at the ones that are. A lot of the books on Amazon.com let you view the table of contents and some of the even have extracts that you can read. Check out who the publisher is and use Google to find their website - see if they have submission guidelines there (which could be useful while writing, as well as when you have finished). Also, look at the other books they publish; there may be more in the same area.

That's what I do, anyway.

I would also pick one or two of the books that sound most relevant/interesting and buy them (or borrow them from the library). A lot of these books will have a list of further reading at the back (or at the end of each chapter). That could give you further titles to investigate.

Hope that helps!

sacha_kimber
05-04-2005, 10:57 PM
Thank you Tasha. I searched my local library and google.com "depression autobiography" and came up with alot of personal accounts. I haven't seen any exactly like mine. I guess everybody's story is different and even though there are alot of books out there, I might have something new to contribute. I plan to search some more, and I certainly hope to find some valuable input by other readers as well as others who suffer from depression. I would like to send a message out to the publich from those who suffer from depression. Once again, thank you.

MOON GODDESS
05-21-2005, 09:51 PM
There are many first-person accounts on depression I'm sure. I read one several years ago, but can't remember the name of it. The woman just wrote brief chapters on things she felt and experienced because of her depression, along with some facts, too.
I would use more than just the internet to research this topic. Visit your local library and tell the Reference Librarian what you're looking for.
There is the Literary Market Place, Writer's Market, and other sources for publishers.
For research, Books in Print is still around, I think, to complement online searching.

AncientEagle
05-21-2005, 10:55 PM
One of my family members suffers from severe depression. It is a debilitating illness not only for the victim, but for those who care about him or her. My sufferer grabs any book that offers insight into the problem, its causes, or any techniques for dealing with it. Such a book can be extremely valuable, especially if it offers hope. I applaud your perseverance and your writing on the subject.

Jaws
05-22-2005, 12:01 AM
Before you go too far, make sure you've read Kay Redfield Jamison (http://tinyurl.com/bzjss)'s books; if you don't, you're running the risk of being labelled a "me too," even if that's not your intent. Jamison is a good writer, but she makes some narrative errors in two of the books from which you can learn.

Chesher Cat
05-22-2005, 09:53 AM
-
This is just a glimpse of my life. I want to write a non-fiction book about depression; tell a first-hand experience about what it is like to suffer from ongoing depression. I know that everyone feels blue every now and then so maybe this book has no appeal. I guess I am curious what you all think. I would like to include several chapters about my counseling/therapy and how I cope with my depression as a mother.

If you were going to read a book about depression, what would you want to know?

Thank you for your help.

I agree with whoever suggested you find what makes your book different. There are hundreds of books out there on the subject and I think the idea of the mother angle might be the way to go. If you have a list of helpful coping skills - "How to mother in the state of depression" - combined with your personal stories you'll probably do really well. You might want to consider partnering up with an "expert" for leverage.

As far as researching other books hit the memoir, psychology and self-help sections of your neighborhood bookstores and you'l find plenty of samples.

My daughter and I are writing a memoir in a similar vein. We're getting interest from agents because we wrote a really good query letter and have a unique hook on the subject:

52 psychiatric medications, 19 hospitalizations and 10 suicide attempts in 6 years.
And Angela wasn’t even crazy.

We're madly working on the book proposal. If you choose to go that direction I highly recommend that you read Jenna's non-fiction book proposal:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/book_proposal1.htm

It's awsome! I found it more helpful than any others I've read - thanks for sharing, Jenna.

No matter what you decide to do, you should definitely write - it's hard to go back and relive your experiences but can be cathartic. Best of luck with everything.

sacha_kimber
05-24-2005, 11:03 PM
I have done some more thinking and more research. All of the comments have been very helpful. I don't know how the book will be classified, but it will probably be a mix of self-help and autobiographical information. I have decided to narrow my focus to writing for teen girls with depression and their friends. Someone in another thread I posted in another room suggested this angle and it rang true for me.

Any further suggestions about writing for this population (teens) would be greatly appreciated. It takes a whole new way of writing and thinking to write for young people.

sacha_kimber
05-25-2005, 12:06 AM
Before you go too far, make sure you've read Kay Redfield Jamison (http://tinyurl.com/bzjss)'s books; if you don't, you're running the risk of being labelled a "me too," even if that's not your intent. Jamison is a good writer, but she makes some narrative errors in two of the books from which you can learn.

I'm not sure what errors you are writing about since the reviews written were positive and I have not read the books cover to cover. I can say that after looking at her books online, I would be hard pressed to write anything remotely close to what she has done. This makes me feel even stronger about changing my pov to teen girls.
Thank you,

sacha_kimber
05-25-2005, 12:12 AM
My daughter and I are writing a memoir in a similar vein. We're getting interest from agents because we wrote a really good query letter and have a unique hook on the subject:

52 psychiatric medications, 19 hospitalizations and 10 suicide attempts in 6 years.
And Angela wasn’t even crazy.

Just curious... do you have anything I could read about your book, possibly an outline or website.

Chesher Cat
05-25-2005, 01:12 AM
Just curious... do you have anything I could read about your book, possibly an outline or website.

The book is about half done but I'm currently finishing up the book proposal to send to a couple of agents and preparing for the Book Expo next week in NY - my daughter and I are pitching that book and I am also pitching two others, completely unrelated.

Working on the website as well, but it's not up yet.

I will update you when I get back from NY and at that time I can hopefully send you a synopsis.

In the meantime, based on all your posts, I think the most saleable angle for you to write about is how you cope with your depression while raising your own child. I'd bet there are a lot of mothers out there that could relate to and take comfort in a book like that. The teen market is flooded with depression books so I think if you don't have a new angle it will be a tough market to crack.

I look forward to hearing about your progress.