Monday, 16 February 2015
Another fortnight passes us by and the book has crept up by 1% to 58%. It's painfully slow but I'm really at a loss to know what else I can do to attract more pledges. I've pimped it on Twitter, had people doing the same on Facebook (I'm not on Facebook), written some magazine articles and told everyone I can think of. It's tough to get the book noticed among the media noise.
Some good news, however: Robert 'Kryten off Red Dwarf' Llewellyn, Dr David 'Number 9 Bus to Utopia' Bramwell and I will be appearing on stage in Brighton in May as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe. We all appeared at the Cornbury Festival last year and I couldn't help notice that all three of us were talking - albeit from three very different directions - about an ideal society. I said at the time that it might be fun to do a 'Utopia-themed three way talk one day. Well, David liked the idea enough to sort it out and we're doing it! Dates and times when I have them :)
Meanwhile, it's back to the pimping.
I'm in a rather curious position in that I'm involved with two Unbound books at the moment that have had very different funding experiences. My book Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? was pretty much written when I first pitched it to Unbound in 2014. It's now been on the site for some seven months slowly accumulating pledges. By comparison, Dr Sue Black's book Saving Bletchley Park was funded in record time - mere hours - but Sue hadn't really written much of it at the time. What she had was a mountain of interviews, notes, correspondence and anecdotes and an idea for a structure. It's taken Sue over two years to get the complex story bashed into shape (and I've added some additional content so that it's now a joint venture). Both books have travelled a very different funding path but both Sue and I have found ourselves feeling like we've let people down. The problem is that people have to wait for their books. As the result there has been some degree of badgering from subscribers. In one or two cases, annoyance bordering on anger.
Of course I realise the frustration that people are suffering; we live in a 'I want it now' culture where things are delivered to our door, where 'nest day delivery' is a virtue and where money transfers etc. are instantaneous. I desperately want you all to have a copy of my book. But crowdfunding isn't instant. Even if a book was fully written when launched on the Unbound site and was funded immediately, there would still be a wait for it to be produced. As I wrote in a previous shedpost here:
'When an author gets a contract with a traditional publisher, the book could be a year, maybe two years away from publication, especially if it's one that involves a lot of research. But you don't normally get to see that. You usually only get to see the book for the first time when it appears in the shops. Publishing with Unbound is just the same except for one big difference - you have to wait a while for your book. You pay at the start of the process rather than at the end and you get to see the book evolve and grow from first posting on the site to publication. The journey is completely transparent and you're with it every step of the way rather than simply hanging around the finishing line.'
Unbound has a growing catalogue of exceptional published titles and I'm pretty sure that the people who subscribed to those books and helped make them happen will tell you that the wait - frustrating though it was - was worth it.
I hope my book (and Saving Bletchley Park) will be worth the wait too and will justify your faith in us as authors. I will be the happiest man in Buckinghamshire when I see my funding level hit 100%. It's still some way off and there will be the delay of production even when we reach it. But hang in there, folks. I'm doing what I can.
And good things come to those who wait.