Literary London Conference, June 28th and 29th

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The annual Literary London conference is on June 28th and 29th this year, at Senate House, University of London. I'm going to be talking about the late 19th/early 20thC London bits of my book. The Lambeth slums that social investigators like Charles Booth and Maud Pember Reeves ventured into with the best of intentions (I think) are gone now. Their reports describe 'pestilential' interiors, 'rookeries…

The Sociability of the Crowd

Friday, 11 May 2018

In the eighteenth century they called it publishing by subscription, but now most people will say 'crowd-funding'. An author wishes to publish a book and needs to raise capital for the printing and distribution costs. Alexander Pope published his translation of The Iliad in this way in 1720. He judged, rightly, that he could best fund a major work by approaching his readers directly and getting them…

More on subscription publishing, 18thC style

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Laetitia Pilkington gave her own twist to subscription publishing. She was a sometime friend of Mary Barber, but circumstances proved too hard on that friendship. Laetitia Pilkington’s marriage failed; she looked to her wit to support herself. She managed to raise the funds to publish her poems and memoirs together, in a single three-volume work, between 1748 and 1754, but no subscribers names were…

Rena's 95th birthday party (one of them)

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Rena celebrated her 95th birthday at Cote, Marylebone, along with at least one grand-daughter and two grandsons, plus other family and friends. There were other celebrations, and other snaps and videos, but I specially like this one.

30% funding

Monday, 30 April 2018

The wise people at Unbound told me at the beginning that projects which reached 30% of funding within four weeks generally managed to go all the way. With your help, Not Speaking has reached 30% in 12 days. That's a great omen. Thank you for pledging, and if you know of others who would enjoy this book do please direct them to the website. The sooner we reach 100% the sooner the book will happen. …

Subscription publishing: the first woman was Mary Barber

Friday, 27 April 2018

The first woman to successfully raise a subscription for a book was Mary Barber, whose Poems appeared in 1734. She was a Dublin linen-draper's wife, and some of her poems were about how ghastly it was to be stuck behind the counter, 'in smoaky Dublin pent', when surely, as a poet, she should have been loitering in leafy glades by burbling streams.

Mary Barber wrote lovingly about her children,…

A quarter of the way there

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A big thank you to everyone who has pledged support. I'm happy to announce that Not Speaking is now 25% funded. I don't know how that rates compared to other projects on the Unbound site but it seems a damn good week's work to me.


Monday, 23 April 2018

I've been trying to think about customising some rewards. I want them to be appealing and appropriately pitched. If anyone has any suggestions do tell me. I've cruised the Unbound pages, and other authors have some brilliant ideas ripe for stealing ('adapting') but it would be good to come up with original ones specific to Not Speaking. 

In the meantime, a big thank-you to all my supporters. Feel…

Starting out on Unbound

Thursday, 19 April 2018

This is a new venture and I'm just finding my way around the Unbound site. I'm thrilled to see that just two days in, 22 supporters have pledged, but I didn't know if i could find out who they were. I looked, and it was only a click away (of course). But what I also didn't know, and hadn't anticipated, was how touched I would feel. This business of dealing directly with readers - people who, by pledging…

Still funding
63% funded
130 backers