Apologies for the rather dodgy pun in the title but what an exciting day! The book Dandelions and Bad Hair Days is awaiting the final touches and a foreword from the charity SANE (who have seen and read it and been so impressed that they are happy to endorse and support it) and today I am able to launch the official DABHD website. (DABHD is the acronym and #DABHD is the twitter hashtag – the full name is rather too character-hungry!) Apart from the fact that I obviously need to have a new photo taken – the one on the site it is everywhere as I am one of those people who generally look frightened or frightening in photographs – I am really pleased with it.
For those who are new to my site, Dandelions & Bad Hair Days is a collection of poetry and prose on the subject of mental health written by more than twenty people who have experienced mental illness – either personally or as a carer or friend. Many of the pieces were written for the mental health monthly guest post slot on this blog, with additional material by other talented and creative contributors. I wanted to publish the book to be something of a ‘support group on your bookshelf’, offering personal experiences that are inspirational, emotional and uplifting and which show how mental illness really can affect anyone – even those who feel themselves immune. And I hope it will help raise awareness and be a worthy addition to the public campaign working to ensure anyone affected is treated effectively, with respect and without discrimination.
All the profits (including any made by the publisher, Dotterel Press) are going to nominated mental health charities.
So I have been working to make sure the website is as clear and informative as possible to ensure potential readers have a chance to get to know those people good enough to contribute to it before the book even hits the shelves. It also offers some excerpts to highlight the variety and quality of the writing in the book and there are some stunning illustrations to whet the appetite for more of the work that will be included within the pages. There are links to useful websites and, as more details about publication dates, cover price and launch become available, the news and sales page will be updated.
So – can I ask you to go over to http://dandelionsandbadhairdays.wordpress.com/ and take a look? It will only take a minute or so of your time and any comments you might have on the look and feel would be gratefully received.
Marketing a book is something anyone who wants to share their work with others has to factor in now that the publishing scene has changed so much and so rapidly. It takes a lot of time and for many – including myself – it means becoming something never previously considered as a career; a sales person. No more reticence; no more sitting back and hoping someone else will make the noise for you. Before this I have been reluctant even to ask for £1 for a raffle ticket. Now I will have to ask for much more to ensure that as much money as possible is raised – for SANE and any charities nominated by contributors. It isn’t easy and I have torn a few hairs out over the website over the weekend to make sure it is as good as I can possibly make it.
But it is terrific experience and I am learning such a lot. I am getting to know some great people who are helping me raise awareness of mental illness and of the different ways it can affect different people. Over the coming weeks I am working with the wonderful Sarah Cruickshank and Rin Simpson to pull together a blog tour and a launch party. If any blogger out there would be happy to offer their site as a ‘venue’ for the tour I would love to hear from you.
So pardon me if you hear a lot more about DABHD over the coming months. I will do my best to find entertaining ways to keep it in the public eye! There may even be a competition or two to get people involved. Can’t promise huge prizes, but there may be a little something here and there…