In my last post I provided some information about new independent publisher Unbound. That raised questions which I am now going to attempt to answer. I should stress that, although I am currently going through the process of publishing a book with Unbound, I am not an expert on this subject. My decision to publish with Unbound was largely based on a gut feeling. In reality, I should probably have looked into other options in more detail. I am working things out as I go along so please continue to ask questions and correct me. We are all in a learning process here. Here are some answers to questions which were asked.
How does Unbound different from Kickstarter?
I don't really know that much about Kickstarter but what I do know is that you can use it for many different kinds of project. Unbound only publish books and e-books. Also, I'm not sure to what extent Kickstarter screen projects which go up on their site. What I do know is that Unbound are like a traditional publisher in that they select the books which they want. However, the reality is that they will take more risks than other publishers because they have less chance of losing money (see below). I am quite sure that other book crowd funding operations will soon set up. There is already one called Pubslush. (Was that title a good idea? I doubt it).
Am I selling books or pledges?
At present, I am in the process of raising money for the publication of the book and e-book (or to put it another way - crowdfuding). So I am not selling books. I am asking people to pledge in advance to buy a copy of the book or e-book once it is published. This is clearly not easy. But it is happening and you can see from the Unbound website that plenty of people have succeeded in raising the full amount for their book. Recently Unbound celebrated having bought in one million pledges in total. I am up to 64% of what I need to raise and I am confident that I will bring in the rest. In effect, the money that is raised in this way covers the production costs of the book and e-book. (These costs will tend to be between £7,000 and £12,000 depending on length, photos etc.) This is why Unbound can take more risks than other publishers - they've already banked the cost of production before they start.
What if I can't get the pledges?
Obviously I haven't focused on this too much because I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen! But what I am assured is that any punter who pledges for a book which ultimately doesn't happen will get their money back. So far I'm not aware that books have failed in this way but it may have happened. Certainly it takes some people a long time to raise the money.
Isn't this a load of work?
It is. But to a large extent I'm just doing early work which I would anyway need to do later. The only difference is that I'm selling copies of my book in advance instead of after it is published.
Will this work?
I really don't know. It's an experiment. I like Unbound and I think they are very professional. They have thought their approach through in detail and it's a clever idea. I respect them for trying a new approach. But I've no idea how it will go. It is also possible that it will work for me once and never again. It maybe that my particular book (a memoir) can work in this way but the novel I am finishing now won't. Watch this space.
Below is the link to my book which should give you an idea of how it works: