A Red Letter Day. My new novel, Things We Can't Undo, has been accepted by esteemed independent publisher, Unbound.
Having published traditionally and self-published, and experienced the advantages and frustrations of both, the teacher of creative writing and publishing in me was intrigued by Unbound's model.
Unbound operates like no other UK independent publisher in that rather than seek financial support from third party organisations, such as the Arts Council, it looks to build grassroots support for each book it publishes, in advance of publication. This is done mainly by the author crowdfunding the cost of a special first edition, which also covers some of the production costs of the trade edition.
Once the crowdfunding target is met - when the book's supporters receive their copy of the special, limited first edition, with their name printed inside and whatever else they've pledged for - Unbound works in joint venture with a division of Penguin Random House to produce the trade edition. This joint venture ensures all Unbound books are best placed in terms of retail distribution and marketing opportunities. Unbound is also very 'author-friendly' with regard to its contractual terms.
So far, this model of building a core group of supporters for each book prior to publication seems to be working well. Unbound had its first Booker Prize nomination last year in Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake.
Martine McDonagh martinemcdonagh.com
Programme Leader, MA Creative Writing and Publishing at West Dean College