Yes,indeedy. After 320 days of slog and self-promotion, 98 talks and continuous pushing this book on an unsuspecting public, I hit the 100% mark today. Thank you so much, each and every one of you, who contributed (and those who couldn't but still offered me goodwill and kind words). When your names appear in the back of the book, permit yourselves a pat on the back and a prideful flush. You've done more than just fund some old ex-copper's book; you're a patron of the arts.
You've defied the accountant-driven, risk-averse corporate world of book publishing where only 'celebrities' and safe bets seem to matter these days and you've helped to make a new book happen. You were there at the conception, you saw it through gestation and you'll be the first to witness the birth. And you've done so in the same week that a book published by Unbound - Paul Kingsnorth's amazing The Wake - won the Bookseller Book of the Year award. It's a staggering thumbs-up for the future of this kind of publishing where you, the readers, dictate the books that hit the shelves, and not some corporate algorithm. I believed in Unbound from the start. I now know I've hitched my cart to the right horse.
So when can you expect your copy of Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? Well, the good news is that it's not far off completion, writing-wise. The chapter headings are as follows:
Introduction: Cop sucker
1: Imperfect pitch
2: If life gives you zebras …
3: The wizard of Waltham Forest
4: The ape that moved a planet
5: No one ever got sent on a linear thinking course
6: ‘Do they want us to ride Shetland ponies?’
8: ‘If they go to Barry Manilow it’s excessive force’
9: Re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic
10: Tim Minchin hopes I won’t die
11: The phantom bus stops of Düsseldorf
12: 'A pig don’t get no heavier the more you weigh it'
Epilogue: To get to the other side
Bibliography and Sources
Of those 12 chapters, nine are fully written (as is the introduction), two more are just about there and the 12th chapter and Epilogue are started. I have all the content I need, bar one interview I'm conducting in the next week or two, so I'm looking to deliver the full first draft of the manuscript to Unbound by the end of June. Then we have the fun of editing, proofreading, design, typesetting and cover art to sort. Hopefully, we can push it along at a fair lick so you're not waiting too long.
Meanwhile, there will be the photography competitions to keep you entertained. As you may know from a previous shedpost, I'm planning to crowdsource around 30% of the images in the book (I've supplied the rest). I want YOU to have an even bigger part in making this book happen. I don't have cash to offer but I can promise that the images selected will remain the photographer's copyright and will only ever be used for this book (and any subsequent editions). All photos will, of course, be credited in print. Everyone who enters will be automatically eligible for a series of prize draws, and everyone whose photo gets selected for use will get an additional prize. I'm currently collecting up a stock of goodies and they include, so far, signed books by the likes of Stephen Fry, the late Lauren Bacall and Sir Michael Caine, signed DVDs by Bill Bailey and others, plus some curios, artwork and even original props from That Mitchell and Webb TV series. Watch this space for more news.
So, once again, thank you so very, very much for helping make this book a reality.
If it gives you half as much pleasure reading it as I've had in writing it, then I'd like to think you won't be disappointed.
Photo: Terry Bergin
P.s. Oh, and if you're anywhere near Brighton this coming Wednesday (20th), I'll be talking about some of this stuff at The Fringe with Dr David Bramwell, Nicole Pohl and Robert 'Kryten' Llewellyn. Come say hello!
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