It has been about three months since my book came out and I’ve learned an enormous amount about the publishing world and about public relations during this period. I confess that I was remarkably naive and had no idea that I would receive such an voluminous (forgive the pun) and intense education.
Firstly, many people in “the business” tell me that I will likely lose money as an author. . . while I knew this to be true at an intellectual level, I hoped that it might not be true for me . . .(of course it is still very early in the game. . .I do not know how things will turn out). Although, a number of individuals who work in publishing presume that I will somehow convert this publication into a newly remunerative new position somewhere. . (this possibility had not occurred to me until it was actually mentioned to me . . the implication was, that even if the book “lost” me money, that I would ultimately benefit from it.) I remain unconvinced however. Frankly, I would simply prefer that the book found an appreciative (and remunerative) audience. . .which would then pay royalties and create demand for new printings . .but this is too simple . . . But, grasping my own naiveté doesn’t stop me from wishing for this facile dream to become ‘real.’
In some, I spent many, many years too ill to earn income, often too weak to do anything but fight to survive. The glorious reprieve of good health allowed me to finally embark on a career as an academic for which I am very grateful. But I cannot help wanting my memoir to turn an awful and deeply destructive experience into a beneficent and useful gift to others (and I hope ultimately for myself as well).
Moreover, what gives weight to my fantasy that My Imaginary Illness might be transformative, is the ongoing responses (in the form of emails and telephone calls) that I receive from readers. It is an unanticipated pleasure to be brought into such interesting conversations with people from a wide variety of regions, professions and manners of living. These dialogues create valuable synergies and opportunities for thought, conversation and collaboration — so perhaps those publishing types are right: I’m reaping incalculable riches from this journey already.