I’m so excited to unveil the cover of Say Hello – my memoir – today! It’s been a long time coming. I’ve just handed in my fourth draft, so this seems like a nice reward. Writing a book is a loooong process. It is one reason I haven’t been able to blog a lot.
The book is a memoir – with anecdotes from my life to date, as well as thoughts and observations on ableism, media representation and beauty privilege. There’s advice to readers with and without ichthyosis, facial difference and disability. The book is called Say Hello because that’s what I want people to do, instead of ignoring me, looking shocked or scared, or making a rude comment about my face.
Ta-dah! Here it is. The cover of Say Hello.
Say Hello will be in stores in late January 2019. I haven’t finished writing it yet! I just submitted the fourth draft – that’s 84,192 words(!), and I’m about to respond to a few small queries from my editor, Nicola. The editing process has been quite something (long, tiring, emotional are a few words that come to mind) but Nicola has been so wonderful.
But you can pre-order it online from today. It will be mailed to you and appear in your e-readers around 21 January.
International sales and audiobooks
Many people have asked me about an international release. At this stage, Say Hello just has an Australian and New Zealand release. I will talk with my agent and publisher about an international release – this depends on lots of factors including sales within Australia. But it’s great there is interest already!
International friends can order Say Hello at Dymocks and Boomerang Books, but there are some hefty postage fees. Again, if you pre-order these now, they’ll be posted in January 2019. There are no ebook options for international pre-order yet.
I also plan to record an audio book, though this might be sometime down the track.
I’ll keep you updated on the overseas and audiobook releases. Thanks for your patience.
My Mum, my biggest fan
My Mum was down for the Melbourne Writers Festival and Melbourne Fashion Week in August and September, and I showed her the cover on the phone. Danielle, my wonderful agent, had the idea to capture Mum’s reaction to the cover, and I am so glad she did. Look at her beautiful face! Mum is featured in the book a lot, and my editor has been leaving cute “I love your Mum!” comments in her notes. She thinks Mum will have a big fanclub, come release.
A big thanks also to Jacinta DiMase and Danielle Binks at Jacinta DiMase Management – the best agents a woman could have. They have been so supportive and full of ideas.
The cover concept
The Say Hello cover has been quite collaborative. I know that the author often doesn’t get a stake in how their book cover looks, but I’m pleased to say that I had lots of input into mine.
I wanted my face to be on the cover, because I’m an appearance activist, and I believe that representation matters. I think it would be silly if my face was absent from the cover. And I want others with ichthyosis and facial differences to see me on the cover of a book, to know what’s possible for them, and to hopefully give them confidence to show their face – to a partner, in public and even on a book cover.
I also wanted to be seen as approachable. I wanted to be smiling. I want the cover to invite people to say hello. Of course.
I wanted lots of colour – because I love colour.
The text needed to be fun yet easy to read.
And I wanted to be wearing a fabulous dress. I have a few, so it wasn’t hard!
The idea started with Catherine Milne – my publisher at HarperCollins – finding this photo online. It was taken by Camille, six years ago. I love this photo – this is a fave dress of mine, and I look happy and my legs are great!
The design studio put this cover together.
I loved the purple font. It was very me. And Jason helped with the tagline – he suggested ‘fangirl’ instead of ‘hero’. There’s a whole chapter on fangirling – I’m sure it will relaunch Darren Hayes’ career 😉
And then Catherine wrote to me to say that as the photo was taken in 2012, the camera was too old and so the resolution wasn’t great for a book cover. Technology moves so fast. I bet we could have taken an iPhone photo in 2018 and it be suitable!
So Camille and I tried to reenact the 2012 photo earlier this year.
We tried, we really did. But it wasn’t quite that relaxed 2012 shoot, and the white and purple dress isn’t fitting me like it did then.
But I have some really nice author shots now, and it was fun hanging with her, so not all was lost.
So then I had a photoshoot with Kristoffer Paulsen in July. I called for a few friends to come with – to help dress me.
It was a fun afternoon. They were very helpful! Thanks Kristine, Clare and Natalie.
Kristoffer couldn’t believe how many outfits I brought. Eight. A girl’s gotta have options right?!
I started off a bit nervous, and cold, and then relaxed into it, laughing and posing. We chatted about his new baby and Dylan Alcott’s book (we are publisher buddies). Before I knew it, he took more than 600 photos.
Here are some of the photos from the shoot, that didn’t make the cover.
The outfit that made the cover was a late addition. In my head, I thought it looked a bit summery, and the shoot was in winter. But I realised the book would be out in summer, so quickly put this in my suitcase at last minute. I really like these colours together. The pink top is Gorman, from a few years ago – I bought it on a buy sell swap group. And this skirt was a cheap find in a London street market. Petticoat Lane, I think. The jumper underneath is Uniqlo, and I was wearing clogs. I feel a bit naked as I’m not wearing a brooch, though.
I’ve been sharing social media posts in the lead up to the cover reveal this week, and people have been so excited. It’s really wonderful to see. I’m very grateful that people want ro read a book I’ve writfen!
About Say Hello – from the HarperCollins website
A forthright, honest and rousingly brave memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly.
‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often castas the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skint hat they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of mystory – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’
This bold, brave and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.
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Thank you so much. Eek my face is on a book!