Johnny Ruin

By Dan Dalton

A literary novel about a man on a road trip through his own mind with Jon Bon Jovi

Friday, 5 May 2017

Stand and deliver

Hello! If you've seen your email, you'll know that I have delivered the 'final' edited manuscript to Unbound.

This being publishing, the 'final' manuscript is not in fact final. What happens next is the book goes to see the copy editor, who does a line edit (a very close edit that looks at spelling, grammar, word repetition, consistency of style, that sort of thing).

That's not to say it's not close to final. Two weeks ago, my editor, Phil Connor, sent me his edits. These consisted of 25-30 notes and comments, a couple of spelling suggestions, and the parts that made him laugh out loud. Since Phil's job is to make sure the book is watertight, the notes and comments were mostly to help clarify things. Thankfully there really wasn't much to clarify, so it was a relatively quick 10 days of late nights and sore eyes.

In that time I also did two read-throughs of the manuscript, to make sure it says everything I want it to. Then I hit send, poured myself a drink, ate some expensive chocolate, and got some much needed sleep. The writing life, eh.

So while the manuscript is not 'final', it is one step closer. We're still on track to get copies to backers later this year – I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you all!


While that's all there is to update you on, I thought it might be fun to introduce to some of the team at Unbound. This week, I spoke to Phil Connor, Commissioning Editor at Unbound and the man helping make the book the best it can be. 

Hi, Phil. What does a commissioning editor do?

A commissioning editor chooses which books a publisher publishes. In Unbound’s case this means finding new books for the website, which can come from the submissions pile, literary agents (as in Dan's case) or us reaching out to someone we’d love to work with. We work with authors on getting their pitch right to readers and once the book is funded we work on the text itself getting it ready for publication.

What's your favourite book?

My favourite book is Pale Fire by Nabokov. I love all of his work, every time I open him I get challenged, sometimes I pass those challenges and sometimes I fail them but I enjoy the challenge either way.

I think Pale Fire is such an audacious thing to attempt and I love it – in it Nabokov presents a poem he’s written and ascribed to a fictional author. He’s then created a second fictional author who has introduced and annotated that poem, attempting to hijack its true meaning for his own purposes. It’s totally mad and totally brilliant.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, which I really enjoyed. It follows a village through 13 years after a young girl goes missing there, showing how her disappearance influenced the lives of the village’s citizens and the village itself.

And this morning I started Long Time, No See by Dermot Healy. Dermot is one of the great hidden gems of recent times, his A Goat’s Song is a masterpiece.

What's a book you probably should have read, but haven't?

The last time I went on a date her favourite book was Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which I haven’t read. I have no idea if I should read it or not but she was certainly shocked I hadn’t – when you work in publishing people expect you to have read everything! To my great shame I’ve also never read any Jane Austen.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’ve only ever met one dog that didn’t like me. To be fair I hated her too.

How is working with me on Johnny Ruin?

It’s been brilliant! For those reading this, Dan has that quality you always look for in a novelist where he is very open to putting every aspect of the book under the microscope to make it the best book it can be. Nothing is sacred and he’s not afraid to kill his darlings. That means we’ve been able to really stress test the novel to make sure it stands up to scrutiny, which is exactly what you want as an editor. The original manuscript was in a really strong state already and it’s only gotten stronger since then.

Finally, what's your favourite Bon Jovi song?

It’s 100% You Give Love A Bad Name.


Oh, and before I forget, check out the pledge options, there's new postcard art from the very talented Finchfight. If you want to upgrade from digital to physical, just hit the button by the new pledge level and you'll only pay the difference!

Until next time,


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