Book publishing used to be fun back in the old school days. We had a great hip agent - Abner Stein, the Man from New York City - and we used to have lots of lunches which the publisher would pay for. The idea would be discussed over
many glasses of wine and a deal was made. Contracts followed and you just got on with it. Its not easy any more in the modern corporate publishing world which has lost its soul There are, of course, a lot of great independent imprints but its a tough market out there.
Unbound, a crowd funding publishing site, offers some hand-picked authors the opportunity to pitch their ideas to an audience and raise the money to bring their book to reality. This re-invention of an old form of publishing - by subscription - is welcomed.
Crowd funding of any kind is, of course, a lot of hard work. It helps if you've got a big fan base. Here's one of the books currently on the Unbound site - 'The Pagoda Tree'- which I happen to know a lot about. Australian-based Claire Scobie is a longtime friend and colleague who is trying to get her latest book published in the UK via Unbound. Claire is a very accomplished and successful writer and is also a first-rate journalist whose reporting on Tibet, East Timor and many other issues are testament to her skill and courage.
She wrote a brilliant book called 'Last Seen in Lhasa', the true-life story of her friendship with a Tibetan nun which The Generalist reviewed in 2006. This new book is a historical novel set in India in the 18th century, its main character being a temple dancer named Maya. A difficult thing to pull off and perhaps not something that I would normally read but Claire has spent a lot of time in India, has engaged in deep research and has the skill to bring the characters and historical situation to life. I enjoyed it.
As things stand, she has found 82% of the funding needed with four weeks to go.For other writers who might wish to try and follow this route, here is how Claire has structured her fund-raising efforts. Everyone who donates gets their name in the book and gains access to the writer's shed (a blog on the site). Then there are some further incentives and rewards to encourage you to support.
The funding levels run from £10 (digital e-book) to £3000 (corporate patron who gets special thanks and their name upfront plus signed copy and e-book) Claire is also offering Tailored Travel advice for India + signed hardback (£120), one-day creative writing workshops (£150), an offer for Small Book groups (£200) and more. Something to suit every size of pocket.
Good luck to Claire and authors everywhere.