Monday, 12 April 2010

Old Dream, New Dream

I'm always coming up with Grand Plans. I'm also naturally impulsive, so will often jump straight in with both feet*, only to discover later that it's not going to work - for whatever reason. But sometimes I jump in and keep swimming, and there must be some tipping point beyond which there's no return**, because once I really get going, I don't stop until it's done.

Well anyway. This New Plan I'm currently jumping into is actually an Old Plan, and I talked about it in detail here. But this time I'm going a little further, and think I might actually do it. Self-publish, that is.

My life is busy and manic and tiring and the new career is by far the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. It's also very rewarding and I'm glad I'm doing it, but I still get a little sad about Not Being a Writer any more. But there's no time to do any writing. I have a third novel sitting on my hard disk, but it's still only in Second Draft form and needs a good few months of work on it before it's publishable - months I just don't have.

But... what about that second novel? The one that only ever got published in a foreign language? There was a while when I really didn't like it or think it was publishable, but that was as much about self loathing as anything else. It's a good book and I put a lot of work into it. And it's bonkers that it's sitting there, fully edited and ready to go, and yet hardly anybody's ever read it in English. Plenty of people who know me and like my work are interested in reading it. And how lovely would it be to have a brand new book with my name on it, under my control, designed purely as an object of beauty with no marketing departments breathing down my neck? It's already been published by Random House in a major European country, so it's not like it has no merit or is a pure vanity thing.

That said, this IS a vanity project. I'm happy with that. I'm also happy that it won't lead to fame or fortune or a "proper" publishing deal, and the whole project will run at a loss. But it's this or nothing. It's this or the book never gets published in English. Ever. Which would be a shame.

So, I'm speaking to designers and getting quotes for printing costs and thinking about producing a limited run of gorgeous hardback books, which will be a pleasure to hold in your hand, let alone read. I will of course do yet another edit, which is good cos it's now nearly two years since I last edited it and I've got better perspective on it. It's a good book, but the dialogue needs work and I can make the prose flow better.

So, this is my plan: I'm going to contact everyone I can think of who might conceivably be interested. Friends, family, people who enjoyed my first book, people who have enjoyed my various writing/blogging projects. And I'm going to ask them to commit to buying a copy. I'd probably charge a tenner per book. Might have to be more, depends on production costs. But I'm aiming to subsidise the whole thing myself, so it's not about making money. But I do need to know how many people will buy one so that I know how much money I've got (cos I'm not earning much at the mo) and how small a print run I should go for. I'm thinking 100 is probably a good number, but it might be too high.

This is sort of the wrong place to introduce the idea, cos hardly anyone reads this blog or even knows that I'm blogging here, so it won't give me any idea of potential numbers. But it might be a good test for attitude. Am I mad? Would you commit to buying a book under these circumstances?

I think I'm going to do this. I hope I'm going to do this. I have a bit of spare time coming up, and it'd be nice to be a writer again.

* Thinks: How would you jump straight in with only one foot?

** Tipping point? In a swimming pool? Oh, shut up.


Queenie said...

You know I'd buy it. One down, 99 to go!

Beth said...

i'd buy it too.

i'm sure many NRs would.