This past year, Mooney and Lambert, formerly Unbound Publishing, LLC, forged a new partnership with Rick and Beverly Mayston of Agent Fox Media in the UK. One of our first books together is No More Kisses for Me by Gayle Hiller. And I couldn’t be prouder of this book and this author.
But there is a problem I have as a publisher. I generally only publish books I believe in: the author, their message, the story they’re trying to tell. Otherwise, why do this? There are certainly more profitable careers I could choose, right? The only thing I really want to do with my life is to tell my stories because I love to write and create, and to help others tell theirs.
I’ve done that in a variety of ways. Even when I love a book we’ve published to the moon, I can’t really leave a review anywhere, at least not ethically. It’s a conflict of interest. I can’t review work I will benefit financially from.
The other issue is that you could argue, and not without foundation, that I am too close to the work to actually be objective about it. And that too, could be true. By the time Mooney and Lambert publishes a book, I’ve read it several times, in some cases done the formatting personally, and I’ve talked with the author, agents, and others close to the story.
So I’m going to start a series, on my own website, here, where I as a publisher review a book, but not like just any reviewer. I’m going to try to do my best to give you a look inside my brain: why this book? Why did we publish it? Why should you care? And why should you spend your time and attention reading it?
Because really, when we sell you a book, we’re not just selling you some cardboard sides with paper in-between or some pixels on a screen. We’re actually asking you for something. To step into our world, our shoes, and spend some time with us.
And these reviews will be different for each book, and I’ll be straight with you about the financial motivation for choosing this book and others. If you are an author, it can help you see what we are looking for when you submit a book to us. For readers, it can give you insight into the value we put behind each book we produce, and why while they are a product for us, they are a passion as well.
Ready? Get set. Let’s go!
The Agent’s Belief and Selling Books
Let’s be honest and transparent because often agents and publishers are not. The reason we pick up and publish books and the reason an agent brings them to us in the first place is that we think the book will sell. None of us will make a dime until books reach a break-even point where we have paid editors, paid for covers and formatting, and gotten the book into distribution channels where it can be found.
Why this book? First, Gayle Hiller is the daughter of the famous songwriter and founder of The Brotherhood of Man, the group launched to fame by the well-known song and Eurovision winner “Save All Your Kisses for Me.” But Tony’s big success as a songwriter and producer didn’t follow him home.
After a childhood accident, Gayle was left learning to walk and talk again, and shortly after that and immediately after winning Eurovision, Tony walked out of his family’s life never to return. He later remarried, but his new wife was never accepting of Gayle and her children.
Because Rick and Agent Fox Media approached us with the book, I knew Rick believed in it too. Most importantly, we felt there was an audience for it.
Another point of honesty: when you approach an agent or publisher or both, it helps if we like you as a person. It’s not a requirement, but it certainly helps. Gayle is a genuine person, one of the nicest I have had the pleasure of meeting. She’s an artist in her own right, and I can’t wait until we can travel to London and I can return with some of her art to call my own.
Her art, like her writing, is an expression of her pain growing up. Her father lived in luxury while Gayle and her children struggled. She had to make an appointment to see her father and was only permitted at certain times, every six weeks. Her son adored his grandfather but seldom caught his attention.
She lived in her father’s shadow but was unable to reach him. Her story is one of tragedy and neglect, and you can’t help but feel her pain as you read her book.
The Subject Matter
This is not a celebrity memoir, or a tell-all scoop told by a disgruntled child. It’s not a smear on Tony Hiller or his illustrious career. It’s the story of a daughter forced to love her father from afar. It’s a story of neglect, grief, and loss. It’s about resilience and recovery.
And it’s not a perfect book. As a publisher, we could have put it through rounds of edits and polished the raw pain and sadness right out of it. It would have been worse for our efforts rather than better. Because it’s an outpouring you will rarely see.
The reason is simple. Someone with the courage to write a book like this is rare. Most would write these thoughts, shove them in a drawer, and show them to no one. But we can be better for having seen them, read them, and understanding them. We have all experienced loss and grief, some have suffered similar family drama. How can we identify with one another if no one has the courage to share? Are there no warriors who dare wander onto this battlefield knowing the only way to win is to bare their souls?
Letters Make Up the Book
He didn’t get a chance, at least not in this life, to read a single one. Even if given the chance, he may not have ever read them. These letters are written to Tony but for Gayle and her own healing. It’s called therapeutic writing. And from experience, I can tell you that writing genuinely will heal your soul.
Sharing that writing is another thing altogether. Because it comes with power. Power to change the world. Power to make us stronger, together. These letters have that power.
Maybe you are a son or daughter who has an estranged parent. Perhaps you still have a chance to reconcile, and perhaps not. Perhaps your letters to them will, like Gayle’s, never be read by that parent. But you will know you wrote them, and in that writing, you will heal.
Maybe you are the parent in this story. You have children you have neglected, estranged, ignored. Maybe it is time to reach out before it is too late.
But it will be a rare person who can read this book and not be moved to do something. You can’t just close the pages and walk away. For some, you may just need to sit down and write a love letter to yourself.
The Bottom Line
I can’t give this book more praise than I already have. If you are looking for a perfectly written memoir, don’t bother. If you are looking for dirt on some famous London legend, move along. This book is not for you.
If instead, you want to, for a few moments, journey with someone else through their grief, letters that moved them from pain and loss to recovery and love, then grab your copy, grab a seat with a hot cup of tea, and join Gayle on her journey.
It all starts with two words: “Dear Daddy.”
To set up an interview with the author, please contact [email protected]
Check out the buy links below to get your copy today.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08M92VN2M
Publisher Direct (Retail): https://mooneyandlambert.com/product/no-more-kisses-for-me-retail-copy/
For bulk or event orders, please email [email protected]