Getting Ready for My Book Launch

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Things have just gone crazy. On Saturday, I headed into Manhattan with my California friend Paul for the Celebration Recovery conference. I love Manhattan. It’s hypomanic heaven. The jack hammers, the horns, the aroma of hot dogs and pizza and diesel fumes. I thrill to muscling my way onto densely crowded sidewalks to become one with the frenzy.

    We set up inside and I hand Kitty Dukakis a copy of my book. Did I say a copy of my book? My first five copies arrived four days before. After all this time, all this waiting, I have finally given birth to a real live book. It’s a boy!

    My book, Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder, will be available in all major bookstores on Oct 17. From my table vantage point, I spot Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, president of NAMI. I swoop down with a copy of my book and present it to her with a flourish. Timing is everything. I’ve got maybe five seconds, but this is New York, where hypomanic is normal and major deals get done in way less time than that.
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    I have now used up my quota of three books to hand out. (It was my honor to present the first one to Fred Frese, who is a legend in mental health advocacy circles.) A little later I light upon Paul Applebaum, president of the American Psychiatric Association. I’m going to have to settle for giving him a post card (with an image of the book’s cover on one side and a promotional blurb on the other).

    Dr Applebaum is in a huddle with a bunch of psychiatric bigwigs. This has to be a strict drive-by hand-out. I break into the scrum and deal my deck with the skill and flourish of the best blackjack dealer in Vegas. I’m out of there without disturbing the flow of their conversation. From a distance, I notice Dr Applebaum and his huddle-mates are glancing down at the cards. Mission accomplished.

    Thankfully, what turns out to be my reality check materializes at my table. She’s a patient. We talk. Her sad story comes out. Suddenly I forget I’m supposed to be hustling my book. I grab a chair and urge her to sit down, then dash off to find her some water. I tune out the distractions so it’s just the two of us, sitting, talking.

    This person – let’s call her Joan - is the real reason I’m here. Yes, I need to make contact with the VIPs, but they are not the people for whom I wrote my book. The individual baring her soul to me is. We wind up talking for about an hour, till the end of the conference. Joan is now feeling a bit better (talking can have that effect) and I am decidedly more grounded.

    I arrive home and check my email. Three more speaking engagements. A flurry of emails follows and I have the dates and particulars locked up. Then it’s back and forth with my publisher. Finally, it’s off with my wife Sophy to buy a nice dress for an upcoming gala NAMI function we will be attending as part of the HealthCentral contingent.

    The husband’s job in these situations is to turn the wife over to a sales clerk and find a TV with a football game. But a running joke in our marriage is that I have an impressive fashion sense and she has to listen to me. So here I am fussing over hemlines and such like I’m auditioning for Project Runway. Finally, she steps out of the dressing room a vision of loveliness. Mission accomplished.

  • Back home is a forwarded email message from Paul my California buddy. Larry Tye, Kitty Dukakis’s co-author (the two collaborated on her new book, “Shock”), has informed Paul that Ms Dukakis is reading my book and is impressed.
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    I am even more impressed by the fact that a person in Ms Dukakis’ position has graciously decided to look at my book. She may read further and decide it stinks. But I sincerely hope she gets something out of it. And I am also wishing the same for Joan. This illness doesn’t care whether you are the wife of a Presidential candidate or someone shunned by the world. We’re all in this together. The two of them know where to reach me. I am equally looking forward to hearing from both.

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Published On: October 12, 2006