Unbound has accepted my proposal for a sequel to Gibbous House, called No Good Deed. This means I’m on the crowd-funding roller coaster again; begging e-mails, attempts at humorous and engaging posts on Facebook and Twitter, even wandering about in local towns in a sandwich board. (OK I didn’t mean that one, but I’m not ruling it out, you understand).
Last time, every person I contacted wanted to know how it worked. Some saw it as paying for a book in advance (a long way in advance) and to some extent that’s true. But it’s not the whole story.
The whole story is in this magazine article here. I know, who has time to read all of that, right? So, I’ll try and break it down, based on what Unbound writers and potential pledgers said to me last time.
“Unbound is publishing books that no one else will.”
That looks like a negative thing, doesn’t it? It isn’t, here’s why.
Publishing is traditionally risk averse (in much the same way as cinema and television are). They like to publish what they know, who they know – and that means best-selling authors, or other high-profile people using a decent ghost writer. Otherwise, they’ll look for slightly different versions of what they already sell. “If you liked (insert best seller here) you’ll love (insert book of similar kind here). Unbound do not do this. Anyone, you, me (!), can pitch to Unbound, you don’t need an agent, you don’t even need a manuscript ready to go, but it’s probably better if you’ve got 3/4 of one. (The manuscript, not the agent). I’m not sure of the rejection rate, but it’s harder to convince them than you might think. The crowd-funding campaign is a further gauge of whether a book is sale-able – or not.
“You are not pre-ordering a book, you are pledging”.
This sounds bad too, hey? It isn’t. No book – say if the writer doesn’t finish it, or if the production costs aren’t raised in the campaign – and you get your money back (or you could pledge for something else).
“These books are expensive”.
a) Books on Amazon and in Tesco’s are un-sustainably (for the author, and perhaps even for publishers in the long term) cheap. I won’t bore you with the maths, but an author can earn pennies from a book costing the best part of a tenner.
b) Your Unbound book will have your name in the back (or maybe even the front) as a patron, someone who made the book happen. I’ve bought a few myself and it feels good to part of creating something that wouldn’t exist without that contribution, trust me.
“It takes so long.”
It does, but no longer than in traditional publishing. It’s just that the process with – say – the latest Hilary Mantel is completely invisible to you. It’s the same process though. Manuscript to publisher, structural edit, cover-design, copy-edit, proof reading. Not all of which happens every time with a self-published book, by the way.
Anyway, if you got this far, how about supporting No Good Deed? We can get a great book into the public’s hands together .