Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Dude, where's my Book?
Here's a quick update on things. As mentioned in several previous posts, one of the more interesting challenges associated with crowd-funding a book is managing your subscribers' natural impatience and, occasionally, their disappointment. It takes a fair amount of time to get a book from idea to physical reality and, unlike traditional publishers where the first you hear of a book is when it hits the High Street, the crowd-funded publishing process is completely transparent. From the day you pledge your money to the book coming out could be as long as two years because, as Unbound explained in a recent email, the author and the publisher have to go through these stages:
1. Funding target reached (Done! Thanks!)
2. Author delivers final draft of the manuscript (I delivered first draft at the beginning of July)
3. Editor starts work on the manuscript with the author (It's happening as we speak - we are in contact about changes needed)
4. Book cover/artwork design begins (A possible artist has been approached - if their designs for my book are as good as their designs for other books I will be VERY happy!)
5. Copy editor reviews manuscript for consistency
6. Typesetter formats manuscript for printing
7. First proofs come back and are sent to the proofreader
8. Final edits are made
9. Artwork finalised
10. Final manuscript goes to press
As you can see, 'Policeman' is progressing nicely considering the manuscript has only been in for two months. We're currently at Stage 3/4. This, admittedly, is the most time-consuming part of the process. The manuscript I delivered was the culmination of 30 years of experience, eight years of research and two years of writing. The result is that it's waaaaay too big; I tended to stuff everything in there as it's easier to pare it back than write new material. And quicker too. But it does mean that the editor and I have to sit down and decide which bits stay in and which bits go - not that anything will be wasted, mind; anything that doesn't make it into the book will end up in this shed so you'll still get to read it all. And I'll probably make those bits exclusive only to subscribers - it seems only fair. Meanwhile, once we get to Stage 6/7 it will all accelerate quite rapidly.
As for a publication date, we're still looking at May next year, although subscribers will get their e-books and beautifully produced limited edition hardback copies before that. Why May? I asked the same question. Mat Clayton, Unbound's Head of Publishing, kindly explained: 'A year from delivery of manuscript to publication is the norm in the industry - but really what determines publication is trying to find the right slot that will give the book the most chance of success. In your case our reasoning goes as follows: the first part of the year is all diet books and new year/new you; July/August are deathly for sales; and the Autumn is taken up with blockbusters and celebrities. We also have to fit books around what else we have got coming out so we have a balanced programme and are publishing a varied selection of titles each month. May should be a perfect month for your book.'
So there you go. It does make sense, honestly it does, so I hope you'll bear with us while we endeavour to produce the very best book we can. And yes, I do also have to consider when the book is released in terms of maximum sales. Authors earn little enough as it is without hobbling their chances by bringing out a book at the wrong time! Meanwhile, there are some really exciting developments brewing which I am bursting to share but can't. Not yet , dammit. But REALLY very exciting.
And, talking of brewing, I'm filling the space between QI research, writing books and drawing and painting by working at a local craft micro-brewery here in Buckinghamshire. Malt The Brewery has only been in business for a few years but has already notched up some awards and is building nicely. Those of you who know me will now how much of a foodie I am, how much I'm a believer in home-grown or ethically sourced food and drink, and how much I try to support local businesses. So working there is perfect.
Plus, did I mention that it's a brewery?
How much better a job could there be for a real ale aficionado like me?