Monday, January 2, 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Decisions, decisions, decisions! I don’t know what I will do! I have written a book by the name of Bible Tales and I have also written another book, my memoir (I know I’m only thirty-one right?), which I am just putting the finishing touches on. My memoir is called “If We Could Tape Record Our Thoughts” and talks very heavily about my mental illness, schizophrenia, as well as my spirituality over the years and how my mental health has affected my spirituality, and vice versa. But I do not know which one I should publish first, and the question  remains: “Should I self- publish or seek a traditional publisher to do the publishing?”

I believe in my work and I know that I am a great writer but I do not have what is known in the publishing arena, as a platform. I do not have enough credentials. Bible Tales is a well written book, very cleverly written, the first five books of the Bible written in Rhythm and Rhyme—in short POETRY! But I have never published any articles in the genre of the subject to build a platform for myself to pave the way for Bible Tales and one (A pubishing company, an editor, or an agent, perhaps) might ask themselves: who is Samara Doumnande and who is she to write a book about the Bible? She is no rabbi, no priest, no imam, and definitely not a monk! And Ms. Samara A. Doumnande, or Ms. SamDoum, as you like to call yourself, just where are your credentials? What have you written before? Or better put, what have you ever written that’s ever been published? Nothing you say? Well, just how in the world do you think that you are going to be able to sell any books for us? Sorry, you’re just not what we are looking for. We want someone who is more established. You’re no T.D. Jakes, no Joel Olsteen— you simply just don’t have a fan base. How exactly do you expect to sell a book on spirituality or the Bible for that matter with out one? You simply need a fan base!

I’ve been doing my research and I’ve been reading up on the subject of what it takes to publish a book with a traditional publisher. First, you have to get your foot in the door by submitting a query letter. Then, when and if there is any response from the publisher—a good one, I mean—you would have to submit your book proposal. Well, at least that’s how it works for non-fiction, like as in the case of my book “Bible Tales.”

And here is where the worrying lies. See I’ve written the book “Bible Tales” already in advance—before getting the book deal. I have to work this way, because in my illness (paranoid schizophrenia) I have to work backwards, sometimes, because I never know what day I am going to have with the voices.

Now, my reader’s please listen to me when I write these words: I pray that you never take anything for granted, because you will never know what the Lord will take away from you.

Here’s my story:

About a little over a year ago my voices were so bad that I could not read a book, or even watch a 30 minute sitcom on television and understand intelligibly what was going on in the book that I was trying to read or the 30 minute sitcom that I was trying to watch. My voices would yell and scream in my ears issuing both threats and insults forth at me at the highest volumes, in some cases, that it became almost impossible for me to do these things. Prayer was even sometimes impossible on account of all of the interruptions from the voices: That is, my inner voice (which had made many attempts to pray) was constantly being interrupted with insults, and threats, and comments, from the mean, cruel, and threatening voices.

If you would like to try to have some inkling of what I have gone through and still continue to go through (I still have some bad days with the voices) then I would like you to try this experiment. Please go take a seat in any room in your house in which has a television or a radio. Then, turn the radio up or the television up to its highest volume. If you have a headset you can wear to do the listening, that would be great. Now, as you sit there listening to the blasting of all that loud music in your ears or the television, grab a book and try to read it as intelligibly as you can. Now, that,  is what I have gone through and continue to go through here on this day, as I sit hear and write this for you on my lap top. Luckily today, though, the voices are just whispers, but they have spoken non-stop since I’ve been writing this.

Now, at this phase in my life I do take my medication, though some may still say that part of me remains in denial about the schizophrenia—more on that in an upcoming blog post. But whether some would say that part of me is still in denial about my illness or not—that is that I’m not completely out of denial or not, I still do, in order to reiterate, continue to take my meds. But I must admit that I do believe that schizophrenia is not the only reason why I continue to hear voices (but as I said, more on this later in an upcoming blog post).

But enough about the above for now.

My fear is that a publisher may not be willing to work with me when it comes to publishing "Bible Tales." On account of the voices, I may not come across as a reliable person. As anyone could see, it’s not very easy to commit and meet deadlines when you are battling every day against voices. Some days I just can’t do it. Sometimes it is impossible for me to read and write intelligibly on account of the voices and I simply wonder if any publisher would give me a chance.

And my life is unpredictable. On any given day the voices can be quiet for a long while and then all of a sudden they will start back up again blasting in my ears, at full blast, all of that abusive nonsense,  consisting of threats and insults, in my direction. It truly is a huge burden to carry. A huge weight, and as a result I do suffer from a lot of depression and yes, I will admit this, I remain somewhat suicidal because of it. But I try to hang in there and not let the voices get the best of me. I fight every day for those that I love and those who want me here, but if God said that I could go today if I wanted to, and that others would be able to heal from my absence eventually, I have to admit I would let Him take me. I know that I am the mother of three beautiful girls, and I know that they need me and love me, but if they knew about my suffering they would not want me here, as I would not want them to be here if they had to go through what I do with the voices. The meaning of life should not be to suffer. And it is my opinion that sometimes, God does give you more than you can handle. But I continue to fight every day, and I do not expect my suicidal thoughts to subside at all until the voices have left me alone for good. See, I’ve been suicidal for a few years now and I don’t expect the voices to leave me alone no matter how much medication I take, as I’ve heard them for twelve years now (no matter whether I have been medicated or nonmedicated)so I’ll just have to keep fighting.

But I did not intend to talk about my depression. It seems as if I have gotten a bit of subject. I wanted to talk more about my fear that a publisher may not be able to work with a potential author who has a debilitating illness as strong as mine . . . Contracts, and meeting deadlines. Usually, with a non fiction work, a publisher would like to participate in the book writing process, offering suggestions and comments, which the author, in turn would usually have to comply with. "Bible Tales", however, is already written. Sure, I could submit my manuscript and then make the changes as suggested if I were any other person, but my name is Samara Doumnande, and I am living with a disability. I want to be flexible. I wish to be flexible. I desire to be flexible, but how much flexibility will my voices allow? That is the question. What if I can’t meet those deadlines: Those deadlines to make changes, to edit, to revise for the publisher? This is what I worry about. So for this reason I am strongly considering the self publishing route. Or I could always do a YouTube video right? Maybe I will. I’ve been thinking about pleading my case on Youtube and trying to have a publisher approach me instead: Just stand there behind the camera reciting my “Bible Tales” poetry and seeing how much attention it gets. Will somebody please hire me! (laughs!) Anyway, all joking aside, it is something I’m considering.

Memoirs are treated more like the fiction genre in the publishing world—that is they are treated more like novels. They don’t require a book proposal, just a query letter, then possibly a chapter synopsis and along with some sample chapters, then your submitted manuscript in full. But some publishers will skip the second step and will have you just submit the manuscript right after the query letter. So looks like I’m okay for”If We Could Tape Record Our Thoughts” here. No carriage before the horse I mean, and with this one it looks like any publisher might be able to work with me since there is less need for revision as publishing companies do not participate as nearly as much in the book writing process for memoirs, as they do with other types of non-fiction. But keep your fingers crossed, because I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see . . .

In other news, there are four days ‘til “Beauty in the Midst of Voices!” Please come out and join us Friday night at 6:00 p.m at the Mental Health Association of Rochester, for the viewing of some pretty terrific artwork! I’m already to go and I’ve already got all my pieces in their frames. Just need to go in sometime to do some of the assembly for the exhibit and we’re all set! Ready to go! Whooo- Hoooo! Please come join us! It’s my first exhibit and I’m really excited, and who knows, if I ever get one of my books published, and if it’s a huge success that might also increase the value of all of my paintings and drawings—that is if you purchase one (or some)! And please do!

Alright, ‘til later, Blogspot friends! Signing off!


  1. I'm very proud of you sweetie! You're trying every second, every minute, every hour, every day and I'm very proud of you. It's one day at a time. But we'll hang in there. Keep fighting!
    I'll probably never know the magnitude of all the challenges that you face on a daily basis but I'll stand by your side until I'm gone from this Earth. I know you're fighting and I don't want you to give up. I'm sure the girls don't want you to give up. We love you so much and will always be here for you.
    Reading your post brings tears to my eyes because I try to put myself in your shoes and imagine for a second what I would do if I had to deal with what you endure. I'm sure it will be hard to deal with it. Remember when I only took one of your pill, just to get an idea of what you deal with? I couldn't even stand up. Just one pill. And you take more than that and every day and you manage to function. You cook, clean, take care of the girls, do laundry,...and you draw, blog, work on your other writing projects,...
    You amaze me and I'm very proud of you baby!

    We're in this together and we're going to fight together. I will always love you. Hang in there and keep fighting sweetheart!
    Your husband

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words! Love you very much! Mmmmmmmwaaaaah!

  3. Dear Sister in Law that I have not met! I am so glad to read this blog half way around the world. Let me tell you that you are so beautiful from the inside out! Given the magnitude of what you are going through, and being able to accomplish what you have done, no word can describe it but AMAZING! Continue to fight it as you are doing so! I know that Ramadji is there to support you but also know that we stand in the midst of this battle with you in thoughts and prayers.
    You are a strong wife, mother, and sister and we love you!
    Keep it up!


  4. Ndolembai,
    Thank you so very much for your comments. It's really kind of you cuz'! Thanks for the support.
    Best regards,
    Your cuz'


  5. Dear Ndolembai:
    Thanks so much for you posting of the comment and thank you so much for you kind words. And thank you so much for your encouragement. I will keep fighting.It feels really good to receive a message from a member of Madji's family. As you are aware of there is a language barrier with most family members. Though I am working on my French :) ! Please keep in touch with us. And thanks so much again!
    Sincerley, Samara


Hey. Thanks for commenting! We really appreciate it!

The folks at