It was back in June 2011 that the school nurse collared me and said: "You should publish your story in a book to help other parents." "What me?" I said. "I can't write a book!" "Why on earth not?" she said. She collared me again in September 2011: "Had any more thoughts on the book?" And the rest, as they say, is history...
This weekend I've taken the monumental step and finally - after all this time - published my new book: Please eat... a mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia. All 268 pages of it.
It is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and on Kindle via both of these channels. You can still read the first 6 chapters as a PDF here... Later, you'll be able to "look inside" the book on Amazon. (You can already do this with the Kindle version.)
This book has been over 18 months in the making and I don't know how many versions have been in front of my red pen together with at least 6 different printed proofs...
I have been through several packs of typing paper, used up umpteen printer cartridges, cut out new sections and taped them over the old sections in various printed proofs... and then ripped them out, printed out new sections and taped them into the proof instead...
I have read it through on my Kindle, and in PDF format... Notebook and pen in hand, I have made tweaking notes sitting in front of the telly, in the coffee shop, in the car, in the garden, in bed, even in the bathroom. I have sent it to several awesome volunteer proof-readers to whom I owe an immense debt of gratitude, and to a stack of equally generous and kind people that offered to review my book before it went to print. And, of course, I have been through it in detail with Ben.
I have tweaked the front and back covers so the current versions are unrecognisable from the originals, and purchased the rights to use a library image for the front cover, which I played around with until I was happy with the current depiction. And I have uploaded the whole lot more times than I care to remember to CreateSpace who are printing my book (part of Amazon).
Knowing me, I could continue to tweak and edit from now until Kingdom Come, but the primary reason I have written this book is to help other families struggling with anorexia and other eating disorders.
I figured that the longer it remains in "draft" form, the longer it remains of no use whatsoever to anyone.
So I've finally made the decision to publish it.
Which is scary after all this time - and because it includes some of our most intimate and distressing moments as a family battling with anorexia.
Yet so does my blog.
So, in a way, getting "out there" with a book about our experiences isn't so very different from getting "out there" with my blog, which I've been doing since January 2011.
(Yet you can bet your back teeth that - despite all this proofing, checking and editing - someone, somewhere, will find a typo!)
If anyone would like me to mail a signed copy to them for the same price as Amazon, including p&p, please contact me via the contact page on my website to pre-order and ask for PayPal details. (Sorry, I can only offer this facility to UK customers due to high shipping charges.)
If you do buy a copy, and you do like it, then please can you leave a review on Amazon?