Cover of Not Speaking

Latest updates

Final Call

Sunday, 3 March 2019

We are moving into the final stages of production of 'Not Speaking'. The editing has been thorough. This weekend I read through page proofs making a few more small edits and when those are processed the book goes to print. On March 10th the subscription list will close, meaning no more names will be added to the printed lists in the book (that doesn't mean people can't buy it, of course, after March…

In editorial development

Friday, 25 January 2019

It's worth taking trouble with the final version of a manuscript, and Not Speaking has been read by several Unbound editors who have made useful suggestions. Now I'm about to open up the copy-editor's notes. Just before Christmas I spent a week or two revising the whole manuscript, re-writing the opening preamble and a new conclusion (well, it wasn't a new conclusion because previously there wasn…

100% funded

Thursday, 25 October 2018

You will have heard by now that Not Speaking is fully funded. The manuscript has been delivered. This means we go into production in the usual way. There will be an editing process - all good publishers take editing seriously. I've had excellent editors in the past so I'm looking forward to working with the team at Unbound. Editing isn't something to rush, so about 4 months has been scheduled for…

200 backers, 94% funded

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Dear Friends,

Now that Not-Speaking has achieved the grand total of 200 backers (hooray) and 94% funding (hooray) I definitely need to say thank you to everybody who is supporting it, and a special thanks to those who have pledged twice (and will be getting two books, one to keep and one to give away). There's still time for new people to get their names on the supporters list that will be printed…


Friday, 3 August 2018

Everybody's on holiday, and so am I. The last time anybody pledged was July 21st. We're at 89%.(We'll be going into production once the project reaches 100%, and hopefully have books going out to supporters by February/March.) It's a strange, switched-off time of year. I needed to switch off, as I'm sure you did too, and now, four days in to a trip to California, I'm definitely there: a hammock, a…

At the salon

Sunday, 22 July 2018

We thought it would be fun to make a short video at Michael Van Clarke in Marylebone, one of the (two) salons that feature in Not Speaking (the other is in Mayfair). Because Rena lives next door she spends a lot of time there, getting her hair done and keeping up with the gossip. She cast her usual shrewd eye on our antics. We filmed in a bit of a rush (it was hot, the salon was busy, Huxley, Piers…

Re-reading 'Round About a Pound a Week' - again

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Re-reading Maud Pember Reeves's Round About a Pound a Week, and I have to correct what I said about porridge in an earlier blog. Reeves did, in fact, completely get the matter of the pot the porridge was cooked in, and about the way porridge would easily catch and burn when cooked. What strikes me now, reading again in preparation for a short talk at Literary London on Friday, is Reeves's quiet fury…

Special thanks

Friday, 22 June 2018

Special thanks to Craig Howes and Meg Jensen for pointing me to IABA (International AutoBiography Association) and its mailing list, and a special welcome to anybody visiting the Unbound site for the first time. Not Speaking is now 74% funded. Getting there!

Tell a friend

Monday, 11 June 2018

Dear lovely dear supporters,

It's very exciting to report that Not Speaking has hit 69% of funding. The number 69 feels quite significant to me right now so I want to celebrate it and thank you all. However, 70 has to be faced, and that feels significant with regard to the book. This is the downhill slope - in a good way. Once we tip over the edge to 70 there really isn't far to go. If everybody…

Housing and decency

Friday, 1 June 2018

  Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton (Verso) takes me back to the1960s and the fights between my parents about housing. To be re-housed by the council was an aspiration. We were on the Southwark housing list, but they moved slowly.

Boughton talks about 'decency': decent housing, treating people decently, feeling a sense of decency when your home wasn't cramped…

Thinking about book covers

Saturday, 26 May 2018

In today's Guardian, Alison Flood sets a challenge: find a book jacket that features an image of a woman over forty. She says she's failed. Even books that are about women over forty put young women on the cover. Research suggests that 75% of active readers are women in that age bracket, but the covers show things like a glass of wine, a lighthouse, a child standing on her head, a couple in a car…

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…

Publication date: May 2019
101% funded
208 backers