Publishing with Unbound - again! - Alice Jolly

For the last few months I have been trying to make a decision. I have finished a new book and I need to work out what might be the best way to publish it. Twenty years ago I would really only have had one option. Now there are so many options that it is hard to know which way to go.

Given that my recent memoir 'Dead Babies and Seaside Towns' attracted some amazing publicity, I probably was in a strong position to get my novel published by a mainstream publisher. But finally I decided that I just didn't want to do that. Previous experiences had left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't feel confident that a mainstream publisher would publish the book in the way I wanted.

And, anyway, crowd funding publisher Unbound had done a great job on my memoir - and I had really enjoyed working with them. So I've decided to go down that route again. It will be hard raising the subscriptions (which I need to do before the book will be published). I know that. What I don't know is whether it will be easier or harder than it was last time.

What I am doing is, frankly, an experiment. People don't generally try and publish literary novels via a crowd funding route. But I feel that I don't have much to lose. And I believe in what Unbound are trying to do. What surprises me is that plenty of other people do as well. When I ask people to subscribe I have a worry that they are thinking, 'Well, if she's any good then why is she crowd funding?' But actually many people seem to understand Unbound and want to support them - which is heartening.

I'm not the only person making this kind of decision. Recently a major writer of non fiction Roman Krznaric turned down a traditional publishing deal to publish his new book (about the concept of Carpe Diem) with Unbound. And Danny Scheinmann has just published 'The Half Life Of Joshua Jones' with Unbound. His first novel was a bestseller but he turned to Unbound when he became disillusioned with the traditional route.

So a small revolution is happening. Will this work out for me? Who knows? I never wanted to be a publishing revolutionary. All this happened to me by accident. I just want my work out there and this seems to be a way I can do it. I'll keep you posted.

The book is called 'Between The Regions Of Kindness.' Details are HERE


Umberto Tosi said…
Interesting. Thank you, Alice. I'm looking at Unbound myself for the sequel to Ophelia Rising that I'm currently writing. This helps. Best of luck with your new project. I'll look forward to checking out your offering on Unbound as well.
JO said…
Good luck with this - let us know how you get on.
Jan Needle said…
More for one to ponder on. Thanks, Alice
Lydia Bennet said…
Good luck with your book Alice. I wonder, how is Unbound, with having to trawl for subscriptions, better than self-pub though? Do they do amazing distribution, pr etc?
Alice said…
Thanks very much for the comments. Alway happy to help out with advice to anyone thinking of going down the same route (not that I am any expert, mind you). On the question of whether Unbound is 'better' than self publishing .... well, I don't think I would want to get in to that sort of judgement. 'Better' could mean so many hundreds of things. I think we all choose the devil we can cope with most easily. I could not do all the technical stuff which is involved in self publishing (witness all the problems I've had even putting up a blog post). Also I care passionately about high quality book production and Unbound do deliver that (not saying that self publishing does not or can't). Where I do think Unbound is strong is that they distribute through Penguin Random House so they get books in bookshops. Again, I care about that. But probably I am stupid to care. The reality is that most people don't buy books in bookshops now. Unbound did do fantastic PR for me - but then the memoir was a publicists dream book. Maybe they don't usually do so well. I can't say. I think we all just have to think carefully about what we want out of publishing a book (and it is very different for different people) then look at whatever method will deliver that. Right now, raising the subscription looks impossibly hard, I have to say.
Tim Atkinson said…
Having been traditionally published, self-published (albeit after a rather unfortunate experience with a regular publisher) and now having dipped my toe into crowdfunding with Unbound, I can say that - so far - their support is second-to-none. But then, I suppose I'm bringing them a whole new batch of subscribers too, people who may well pledge for books other than mine, so there's something in it for them. Nevertheless, like you Alice, it's the distribution that seals the deal. I'll be fascinated to know how you get on second time around though. Will it be easier because you've already got a solid base of subscribers? Or will the book effectively 'start again' at the beginning? Let's hope it's the former. Good luck!

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