This is not a review of my book. It’s a review of how my book – that I wrote – has changed my life.
It’s almost a year since Say Hello came out.
A year of so many emotions, so much travel and meeting many, many wonderful people. I can’t keep track of the number of people who have posted the orange and pink over on Instagram, or told me they’ve given it to their friend as a present, or who have asked me where they can buy my book for their school or workplace. I’ve signed hundreds, if not thousands of copies. People have been generous with their time (and money), coming to see me speak. Sometimes they give me presents. I marvel at the interest people have, and the kindness.
The book is selling well. I don’t know what well means to a publisher, but to me, it’s selling well because it’s changed lives. It’s definitely changed mine.
It’s been distributed in workplaces – disability service providers, pharmacy organisations and even to the organisations who have funded my role in my workplace.
Strangers have stopped me in the street and in cafes to say they love my book. (I am yet to see anyone on the train reading it, but there’s still time!).
The media have been so kind in inviting me to talk about it on their radio and TV shows, and for their newspapers.
A mother of a little boy with ichthyosis sent me a photo of him watching me on The Project, talking about Say Hello, pointing to the screen. “That’s my friend Carly, she’s got the same skin as me”, he said. Other parents have told me it helps them understand their child’s condition more.
People who feature in the book are proud and thankful. They champion it. I am so glad they said yes to being involved.
Sometimes I read parts of it aloud at the end of speaking events. I find new things to love about it each time (and also bits that I wish I’d written differently).
I’ve been to so many writers festivals, libraries and book stores. The writing industry is lovely. My Mum has a new outlet as #FestivalMum.
Ensuring my book launches were as accessible as possible was really hard – I had to both impress book stores and also demand that my audience felt welcome – that they could get in the door, and use a toilet, and have access to Auslan. I want to do more work on this, because so much work needs to be done.
Disabled people relate to it. Some people have told me I’ve helped them accept their disability and appearance diversity. They tell me they’re more confident to tell their story, or share their photos. Those comments mean the most to me.
Non disabled people have recognised their privilege and ableism through reading it. These comments wow me, because I am actually getting somewhere.
People still ask me to work for free, but far less (because there’s a chapter in the book).
I’ve got to work with people I deeply admire – Ginger Gorman, Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans), Annabel Crabb, Eliza Hull, Ruby Allegra, Tess Woods, Erin Somerville, Caroline Candusso and Elisha Matthews launched my book at events around the country. I’ve done panels with Maxine Beneba Clarke and Lindy West; chatted on my favourite podcasts and had incredible editors.
My agent, Danielle Binks, is the best support a woman could ever wish for. She’s a business support, and also an incredible friend. I’ve become close to my publisher, editor and publicist at HarperCollins too. They’re good people.
Taxi driver discrimination hasn’t stopped. But at least I can give them a card with my book cover on, and suggest they read it.
My Mum is my best publicist. I mean, my HarperCollins publicist is great, but there’s nothing like Mama Bear asking a store why they haven’t got Say Hello in a more prominent position.
My husband hasn’t read all of my book yet. He’s up t9 to chapter 13. I should have included more Star Wars references.
Jealousy is rife. I’ve lost friends. I’ve told many people that they too can write a book if they don’t like my words. But I’m doing ok.
The ableism in some of the reviews is jarring but not surprising.
I will never stop my fangirling. I might be 38 years old but deep down I’m that 18 year old girl who squealed in the front row of the a Savage Garden concert. And I’m not ashamed.
I miss my best friend more than anything. She died in April. She features in the book – a photo and a passage that she wrote. She was the first person to order the book online – always supportive. I wish she was here -to laugh with, to shop with and to text funny memes about multilevel marketing “cures” for chronic illness. It’s not fair.
Someone made a sculpture of Say Hello for Readings Bookstore’s 50th birthday. It was part of a bigger sculpture display of 50 Australian books. I was so delighted. He made me a sculpture to keep, and also two album covers – Bob Evans a s Savage Garden.
I don’t see Say Hello in airport book stores much anymore, but I’m walking through airports because of Say Hello.
I miss writing. I’ve written very little since Say Hello was completed in November 2018. I cannot wait to write some real long, thoughtful pieces.
My next book, the Growing Up Disabled in Australia anthology, will be lit this June.
Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to buy, borrow, read, review, recommend and tell me what Say Hello has meant to you. I am forever grateful.
Say Hello has changed my life because I now have a physical resource I can give people that might help them in some way. It’s changed my life because I’ve become more connected with the writing community. It’s changed my life because it’s allowed me to travel and meet wonderful people – many of whom are now my friends. It’s changed my life because I’m now the person little Carly needed.
Five stars to me, and five million stars to you. 💗🧡
For all things Say Hello – links where to purchase, interviews I’ve done etc, visit the Say Hello page of my blog – www.CarlyFindlay.com.au/sayhello.
To leave your review, visit Goodreads.