The Comparison Greens/A Call for Submissions!

The salt flats of the vast Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, beneath which lies roughly 50 percent of the world’s supply of lithium.


In June 2015, I read Jaime Lowe’s New York Times Magazine article “I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium! My 20-year Struggle with Bipolar Disorder.”

The critically acclaimed article went viral. After I read it, I had a strong feeling – heck, it was more of a premonition — that she’d land a spectacular, bipolar-themed book deal with a Big Five Publisher.

My envy of Lowe’s success made my tongue turn green!


A few months later, I subscribed to a trial of Publisher’s Weekly. The subscription included PW’s daily email that announced new book deals in every genre. 

In my very first Publisher’s Weekly email, I spotted an announcement of Jaime Lowe’s book deal for her memoir Mental. 

After her article’s wildly positive receptionI knew Mental would do well. My prediction was accurate in that Lowe landed a Big Five Publisher: Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House that was also Carrie Fisher’s publisher for The Princess Diarist

In my typical paranoid fashion, an irrational thought slimed its way through my brain synapses:  

I hope Mental isn’t released when my book comes out – it would kick Birth of a New Brain’s ass!

Okay, friends. Fast forward nineteen months later to January 2017.

Thanks to my ghost writer Lucy, my book is finally written and edited! 

Every week I review Amazon’s list of upcoming bipolar-themed books. (I do this because like to know what kinds of books will be published, and sometimes I pre-order one if it intrigues me, such as this one.)

As usual, I was scanning Amazon’s bipolar books when I spotted Lowe’s Mental and its release date. I double-blinked when I saw her book would be published in nine months on October 3rd, a mere week before my book publication date of October 10th.  

(If you sort our paperback books by the publication date, they are literally next to one another.)

My first thought was Waaaaah!!!!

Your first thought might be, “Shut up! I can’t even get out of bed.”

Friends, keep in mind that I did nothing during the many, many years of my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Please forgive my insensitivity and rudeness, and keep reading!

Here’s my wack-a-doo theory I call:

The Theory of Relativityinsecuritythisissoembarrassingyuckmouth

When a reader who wants to buy a bipolar memoir is faced with a choice of two books published the same week, they’ll buy the book written by the New York Times writer. Not mine.

Believe me, I know how super-dumb this is, but that’s how my brain rolls.  

My topic is fundamentally different – I’m writing about postpartum bipolar and being a mother. As far as I know, Lowe isn’t a mom, and her book focuses on her experience with lithium.  

I spoke to my husband Craig, a published author of an award-winning book. (Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West)

“It’s actually a good thing,” he said. “The subject matter is being stirred up and promoted by the other author. On Kindle when people see what other books on the same topic have been bought, they might see yours and buy it.”

Okay, I’ll buy that.

But doesn’t it seem a teeny bit weird that out of all the days in the year, my book is alongside the very NYT Magazine superstar whose book I’ve been stalking tracking for 19 months?



I almost didn’t share this post because it’s so petty. I forced myself to press the “publish” button and cringed.

The heart of the matter is that I need to believe in my book’s worth. I won’t magically stop worrying about my competition, but I can remind myself, mantra-style, that my book will help people.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could write fiction and transport readers in that amazing way. However, there’s a place for my memoir in this world.  And if you’re writing a book, or if you plan to write one, there’s a place for your book too.

I recommend Joanna Penn’s book The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, specifically her section 1.11 “Why Write? There Are Already Too Many Books In The World,” and you’ll be encouraged.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn Company

I want to share a call for submissions. I copied most of the details below. If you’re even a little bit interested, why not visit the website and go for it! The co-editors/renowned authors are very respectful of the topic and moreover, they’re cool. While there isn’t payment, it’s a worthwhile project.

Have a good weekend!!!

I’ll see you next week!



How the Light Gets in 

an anthology on parenting and mental illness

Call for Submissions


Kelley Clink, Co-Editor and Author of A Different Kind of Same

 Gillian Marchenko, Co-Editor and Author of Still Life

Submission Guidelines

  1. Narrative nonfiction–be it essay, memoir, or some kind of creative hybrid. It doesn’t have to be in first person, but it needs to be personal and true.
  2. Stories from a wide range of diagnoses: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, and eating disorders, to name a few. Anything covered by the DSM is accepted.
  3. Focused writing with a clear point of view.
  4. Stories from every point on the parenting timeline, including essays by people who are expecting children, raising infants, toddlers, school age kids, or parenting adult children. Even people who are not yet parents (and maybe not sure they want to be).



  1. Prescriptive or “How To.” Rather than giving advice, show how you tackled issues or disclosed personal information.
  2. Stories about Postpartum Depression (unless PPD was unresolved and became a chronic condition). These stories are valid and extremely important, but they have been written about extensively in other places.
  3. Stories about parenting a child with mental illness, unless it relates to your own experiences with mental illness and your parenting. Like PPD, these stories are important, and like PPD they have been written about in other places.
  4. Fiction. Changing names and details to protect privacy is okay, but the work submitted must reflect personal experience.
  5. Typos. Please read your work carefully and have others read it as well.



  • We welcome submissions between ~1,000 and ~10,000 words.
  • Previously published material is accepted, as long as the author retains the rights.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, as long as the author notifies us if the work is accepted elsewhere.
  • All files should be Microsoft Word .doc or .docx, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Please include your name, email address, and a short bio with your submission. Phone number and website are optional.
  • Electronic submissions only. Submit via email to
  • Contributors will be compensated with copies of the book and our undying gratitude.


SUBMISSIONS OPEN FROM 4/1/17-8/1/17. Responses can be expected by 10/1/17.


Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th.

Birth of a New Brain is available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!

36 thoughts on “The Comparison Greens/A Call for Submissions!

  1. No worries Dyane. I’m still only interested in getting your book! 🙂

    • I bet you could use something you’ve already written in your blog! You have such powerful, amazing posts: “Bad Mom,” etc. (although if I remember correctly, that oone might not be enough words for the minimum word count, but you could always extend it so that it’s a longer submission… it’s just a possibility!) XoXo

  2. Hi Dyane,

    I get envy, too, sometimes. Usually for me it’s a signal to add something to my bucket list. For instance, a friend of mine went to Iceland recently and shared some wonderful pictures. So I started thinking about why I was envious. I guess one reason is I really love Bjork. Also I’ve heard so many interesting things about Iceland. Once I figured out why I was envious, the envy went away.

    You never know what the outcome of an event (like a book launch) will be. Maybe there are a bunch of people who are or will be envious of you!


    P.S. I still want to read YOUR book!

    • Hello there my lovely friend!

      I like how you took a moment to ponder why you felt envious, and you figured it out!

      I hope you get to visit Iceland one day! In the meantime, you might want to read my friend Dr. Carol Henshaw’s recent blog posts about her March trip to Iceland. Her blog focuses on her travels to exotic, unusual places, and she wrote the foreword to my book, which (I promise you!) I’ll gently remind you to read! 😉

      Hope you have a great weekend – it sure looks gloomy out there, doesn’t it? At least the redwoods and banana slugs must be happy with all the moisture! XoXo

  3. Hi dyane. I loved your blog and and your cover is MUCH better then the Mental lithium lady. Nothing wrong with lithium, I take it myself. And I agree with your husband. He made a good point. I dont know much about your book but from what i hear you saying I believe it will do very well. I hope and pray it does well as i believe it would help so many because you seem to be a really good writer and that’s just from reading your blog.
    Hang in there ❤

    • Hi Christina Lynn!

      Your comment made me feel so supported – it was soooooo nice to read it
      Thank you for taking the time to write! 👍 I take lithium too, and I’m incredibly grateful I’ve never had any major problems with it. I’m glad you don’t find anything wrong with it either. We’re lucky it helps us!

      Craig is the rational one in the family – by day he’s an engineering geologist, so he’s especially “grounded”
      😊 and I balance things out by being just a bit of a drama queen! If my book helps people, that’s all that really matters. If it’s like most books, it will get some okay reviews and it will get reviews I won’t want anyone else to see, LOL 😱,but I need to let go of my obsession with how much better other people *seem* to be doing.

      It sure helps to blog about it and then receive gifts of encouragement and kind, kind words like yours. I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to reading your next blog post! Thanks again!

    • Thanks, Cass, for not thinking my reaction is a petty concern! 👀😘

      “Undercut” is such a fitting word for how the turn of events struck me.
      Thank you for thinking of that perfect word, you nimble wordsmith!

      Yet again I’m reminded I must shift my focus from scarcity thinking (i.e. “The other author and I can’t BOTH have books that do well!” ) to expansiveness. (“There’s room for both of our books to be bought, read, and appreciated!”) 😜

      While sure, her book will most likely get a rave review in the New York Times, I don’t need that (incredibly awesome) recognition to feel successful.

      A few years ago I met a lovely writer who lives in my town. One of her articles was published in the popular New York Times column “Modern Love” that many writers consider to have “Mount Everest” caliber of publication achievement. It got a fantastic reception.

      She was SO SO modest about it. It took her while to even mention it to me. I told her I’d have that fact tattooed on my forehead (“I was published in the New YorkTimes!”) I’d be SUPER-duper proud. But she was humble about it, and I sensed that she didn’t base all her success upon that one thing – not at all. Her healthy attitude impressed me, and I will think of her when I’m turning green with envy!

      Look – yet another super-long comment – first I wrote a novella at YOUR blog and now here off I go again with the commentary and digression, of course, ha ha ha! You inspire me to write, & that’s a good thing!

      • Oh, Dyane, I’m glad you’re writing! I’m also glad you have that healthy attitude of expansiveness when it comes to the other author’s book. It’s so difficult, I know, but you’ll get there! I’m happy that you’re taking the attitude of the writer who lives in your town as a model. That’s excellent.

  4. Oh dear Dyane, that is a bad break. But I am very sure that your book is still going to do well, in spite of this drawback. You are right – it is about very different topics within the bipolar sphere and the “back-to-back” books will appeal to different people with different interests. And I prefer your title and cover in any case! I can not wait for your book…

    • Thank you for lifting up my spirits, beautiful Catrin!💕 I’m so glad you like the title & cover! 🙂 I’ll gladly email you a copy of the book when I get the PDF from the publisher. (The current ARC/PDF file doesn’t have photos in it.) I’m going to move on as best as I can, have faith, and try to not obsess!
      That sounds so nice & simple, doesn’t it? 😜
      Too bad there’s not a pill to cure envy, 💊
      but if we had those pills at our disposal, life would be extremely boring! 😴

  5. Ok, I’m going to go on a little tangent here (and I’m feeling a little silly today, so bare with me here)… Your thinking reminds me of the late 90s teen-bopper battle, “who will come out first & who will be the biggest and best, Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?” They were both phenomenal singers and dance choriographers who had worked successfully for Disney beside the big and baddest boy-bander, Justin Timberlake and were racing against time to see who’s album would come out first. Of course, Britney’s “Hit Me Baby On More Time” was all the rage but Christina’s “Genie in a Bottle” was a close bubblegum rival! (Then a couple of months later, Jessica Simpson hits the scene and blows them both out of the water with her big voice, big boobs, and dumb-bell reality show).

    Hahaha, my point is (and I’m slightly ashamed to admit this publicly), I owned albums by all 3! But then again, so did hundreds of thousands of other people!

    But joking aside, I think your hubby is right. The other book is probably less your competition and more your accomplice in raising awareness. I think it would most likely boost your sales, especially if your book is popping up in the same category at the same time and being so fundamentally different. I think you’re going to be wildly successful so keep a cool head and don’t let your tounge get too green, you’re great!

    Oh, and thanks for listing those writing resources. Seems like something worth pursuing.

    Praying for you, as always 😉

    • First off, I read your latest post right away, but you know I usually take a while to reply! 👀
      You looked GORGEOUS in that picture, and honestly not like you were expecting!
      (I’ll write more over there!)

      Regarding your tangent, my mega-talented SuperModel Mommy, I like silly!
      And your example of Britney, Christina & Jessica cracked me up!!!!!
      I love that analogy, and it actually comforts me quite a bit.

      By the way, I have a tangent for you: Did you know that Justin Timberlake is a REALLY good actor?
      He surprised me when I saw him in an outstanding movie called “The Social Network” starring Jesse Eisenberg about the creation of Facebook. Justin was excellent as Sean Parker; he co-founded Napster and was the first president of Facebook.

      Okay, back to the matter at hand. 😊
      Thank you SO much for what you wrote – your comments always make me feel good about who I am! I promise not to let my tongue get too green, although that was a pretty color, don’t you think? And it’s way nicer looking than that awful, gruesome “black tongue fungus” I had a few months ago!

      Please keep the prayers coming – I appreciate them more than I can ever express! 💗

      • I’m glad I could make you smile 🙂 I was hoping it wouldn’t come off as insensitive or just plain “off-the-wall” but I think you get my sense of humor by now! And plus you’re awesome and so is your writing, so of course, you’re going to be a huge hit!!!

        I actually haven’t seen that Justin Timberlake movie but I remember when it came out, it was on my radar as a must-see. I’d forgotten about it until just now, ty. (Btw, it just dawned on me as I typed it that Britney Spears has a song called, “On My Radar.” Now, I shouldn’t even KNOW that, I guess that’s just me – being silly again!)

  6. I’m so excited to hear that your book is finished AND edited! It exists! Congratulations! Don’t worry about the other bipolar-related books that are “out there.” No one else in the world can write your book and tell it the way you can tell it. Your honest blog inspires people, and I’m sure your book will too! Looking forward to hearing the whole story about your experience!

    • Lisa, you’ve been there for me in a HUGE way, & you continue to be there for me – how lucky am I??? I’ll answer that: super-cuber-massive lucky to the trillionith power! Once again, congratulations on your new publication “PAW,” and I’ll see you over at your blog as I play catch-up with reading the latest at my fave blogs! oxoxoxoxoxoxox

  7. Well that stinks about the other book. HOWEVER, I do agree with Craig that those “you might also be interested in” links are a touch of free marketing in your favor! Also, when I saw that new cover, my first reaction? I can’t tell what it’s about. Oh, lithium, okay, and I guess some handling of relationships? Mental illness from the lost mind, but you know that there’s such a breadth of illnesses one’s mind can battle. Your book cover is precise in your subject matter–readers don’t have to guess what you’re covering. Plus, your book’s got a specific focus on what you AND your newly made family go through. That’s special. 🙂 You’ll get over that green tongue yet! 😛 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Java Jean

    • THANK you for doing that, my loyal friend!!!!!!!!!! That means so much to me! If I could I’d send you a hot tub-sized amount of the best coffee beans ever!!! Maybe someday…. p.s. have I told you lately how proud I am of you for GETTING CERTIFIED for COMPTIA Security +!!!!???? 😉 💗 I’m super-proud of you! 👍

  8. Darling Dyane, I first tried to post a comment this morning glad it flopped. I was rushing and it was sketchy. Now that first book or that ‘celeb’s’ book will go its own way and yours will go its own big way especially in your heart. I also thought the same way as Craig, that book can actually put the topic of mental illness in the limelight that week and clicks will lead to yours too. Your topic is unique and I love the way you wrote that memoir. Actually, I am lining up 3 posts on that memoir in 3 weeks. The first goes up this 00:00, stay tuned – over to Lucy

    • I loved your first post – I was walking Lucy, and I saw it pop up on my phone, and I couldn’t resist reading it immediately – I had a huge smile on my face!!!!! It made me so happy!!!!! Thank you so much, Marie! p.s. I’m glad you thought along the same lines as Craig – by the way, I emailed him a link to your blog post and he was most impressed! 😉

  9. I’m with your husband on this, Dyane – a ‘similar’ book coming out around the same time is a bonus & will hopefully stir up interest for you both. I’m sure yours will do well. All the best xxx

    • Thanks so much, Sara!
      I trust your experience/opinion when it comes to the book business. (And I’m sure I’ll trust you about other topics as I continue to read your blogs, LOL!) 😉
      I wish you a wonderful week!
      take care, Dyane 🌞

  10. A huge gigantic enormous congratulations to you. I pray I could do this as well. It is my passion and goal to finish my memoir. My problem is I have so many ideas of my memoir started etc. But maybe this one would give me the goal to finish and complete one of them. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? If you have time please comment. If you are too busy I completely understand. I just need help. From one bipolar survivor to another. Kudos to you. You are an inspiration to me. Congratulations!!! How awesome this is and you are. I am excited for you!!! Hugs and blessings always. Sue ❤

    • Thank you for a beautiful comment, Sue!

      You’ll finish your memoir! I know it! It took me 9 years to write mine! (That’s ***not***to discourage you in any way, I think it’s just good to know it can take time, yet it can still happen – and I’ve read about writers who took 30 years or more to complete their books!)

      My advice is for you to join the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) and ask your questions during their monthly call for members that’s led by founder/memoir expert Linda Joy, Myers and you can also ask questions on their private Facebook page.

      The NAMW has all kinds of amazing resources and benefits that are listed on the website link (I copied it below for you) – I haven’t been a member that long, but I’m glad I joined. It seems like most of the members haven’t published their books yet. I think you’d find it a worthy investment. Ask them if they have any membership sales coming up!

      The link:

      Take care and remember….you’ll achieve your goal! You have the passion to do it, & that’s essential.
      Sending you the energy and strength to see it through….

      • Thank you so very much for your encouragement and kind words and thank you for all of the great and helpful advice. I will definitely check out the website and other great advice. I know this will help me a lot. Thank you very much for taking the time to write and send me all of this valuable information. Hugs. ❤

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