As anyone who’s followed me online for a while now will know, one of the reasons (no, no, the main reason, actually) I’m in DC is because of a little obsession with The West Wing. Said obsession led me to write my first novel, which led me to daydream about writing the script to the novel and about casting Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney in the movie (I know! I know.), which led, by a circuitous route and via a few other sources of inspiration, to me writing my third novel, Unscripted.That novel has now been picked up by a UK-based publisher called Unbound.They are little known in the US, but well respected back home, where they’ve produced some bestsellers and award-winners, probably chief among them Nikesh Shukla’s The Good Immigrant. (If you want to know more about the author and his book, you’re in luck! I interviewed him for episode 8 of my podcast.)
What makes Unbound different is they’re crowdfunded. Instead of the publisher essentially taking the risk and stumping up money in the hope that a particular book will sell and they’ll make their costs back, they get that money back upfront by getting pre-orders for the book before they produce it.
For authors, that means getting the support of friends and family and then hopefully a wider base of acquaintances and fans and total strangers. That’s something all authors need to do anyway — usually on publication, but in this case it’s beforehand.
Unscripted is doing very well — getting to almost a quarter of its funding target in the first six days of its existence and hanging out at the top of Unbound’s page of trending projects. As with all crowdfunding, rewards are available for contributing, and on top of the main thing — the book itself — they include:
- my eternal gratitude
- the playlist that inspired me while I wrote and edited Unscripted
- personalised book recommendations
- personalised podcast recommendation
- a mug
- a tshirt
- my other book, Walk With Us: How “The West Wing” Changed Our Lives
- the chance to be a guest on the Brit Lit Podcast
- a beta read of your own novel
Besides the many — and often weird and whacky — rewards you can get in return are other benefits to helping fund a book, too, which my co-Unbounder Amy Lord wrote about in her blog. She says that crowdfunding means that
- new and different voices have a chance to be heard
- you become part of the journey
- every pledge means the world to the author.
Speaking as someone who’s been obsessively watching my stats and pledges roll in, I whole-heartedly agree. So if Unscripted — an intelligent beach read about a young woman who takes her celebrity crush a little far — might be something you’re into, I’d love it if you would head over to my Unbound page and pledge a few pounds or dollars towards helping make its publication happen.