The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Signed, sealed and very soon to be delivered

Last week, almost two years to the day that I first visited Unbound headquarters to make the promo video for The Backstreets of Purgatory, I was back to sign copies of the special editions. It has been a long process but, for me, it has definitely been worth the wait. I hope you guys feel the same when your books finally arrive in the next week or so (if they haven't already).


Crowdfunding your first novel is not for the faint-hearted. I'm glad I didn't know in advance how long the whole process would take or I'd have found it even more difficult to ask for your support. 'Would you like to stump up your money two years in advance for a novel that you've only read an excerpt of?' But although I've frequently been asked over the last couple of years when the book is coming out, I've never once had anyone complain that they were fed up of waiting, or ask for their money back. (Ha, you didn't know you could do that, did you? Too late, my friend, too late.) All I've had is unstinting, unwavering, enthusiastic support and it has been the most incredible experience.

And it has come from many places. My family, friends from every era of my life, from way back and more recent times, their families and friends, new friends I've made on line, and Unbound readers (and writers) who I've never met have been willing to take a punt on the novel (and on me). 

Last week I went to a concert, and at the end of the (utterly incredible) evening, the musician turned to the audience and gave a moving and emotional speech. He told us how important his music was, how performing was the thing that kept him sane, and that no matter what, he would always make music. But he poured thanks over us for listening to him, because it was our interaction with his music and our emotional response to it that changed him from being 'an ageing, slightly pathetic man' into an artist. While I felt his self-assessment was a little harsh, it made me realise that despite all the work I've put into The Backstreets of Purgatory, it is only a hefty weight of paper and ink, unless — until — someone reads it.

So, whatever your response to it (and I truly hope you enjoy it but I know the sweary bits might be a bit much for my mum) I need to let you know that you, the readers, are what changes The Backstreets of Purgatory from a doorstop (albeit an extremely attractive one) or fuel for the BBQ or a handy footstool (I'm trying to lighten the tone because I actually want to cry) into my attempt at a work of art. It is such a privilege for me. And I can't express how much that means and how deeply, deeply I appreciate what you have all done.

Did I say thank you? THANK YOU

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Lisa Watson
 Lisa Watson says:

We're so happy that the book is out! As Marc Chagall said, "An artist must not fear to be himself, to express only himself. If he is absolutely and entirely sincere, what he says and does will be acceptable to others." I think your work will be exceedingly acceptable to others! xxx

posted 12th June 2018

Fiona Mackenzie
 Fiona Mackenzie says:

Congratulations on an amazing feat, yes it is, and I can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Sometimes It takes courage to follow your dreams and whether reactions are good or bad you have realised that dream. XX

posted 12th June 2018

Sandra Johnson
 Sandra Johnson says:

Well done Helen. I can't wait to get my copy. I am really so excited. Your Mum is worried about the bits "which will make your hair curl" but I keep telling her it's about Glasgow where I was born and bred. I wish you all the best with the sales.

posted 12th June 2018

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