Friday, 4 September 2020

Publishing with Unbound

Today's guest is Theresa Davis, who has kindly agree to share her experience of trying to get published with Unbound.

Unbound is a publisher like no other, they believe in giving the reader a choice in what they publish. The method that they use to achieve this is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a method of raising the finances for a project by asking people to pay a donation. In the case of Unbound this is in the form of a pre order for a first edition of the book.

As a writer in a niche market Unbound is an attractive publisher as their funded model can make them open to books that more traditional publishers might not be willing to take on commercial grounds. Unbound's projects can take the range from traditional thrillers to a coffee table book featuring comments and analysis of the rear ends of video game characters.

How does one go about getting published with Unbound? There are a couple of methods to pitch an idea to them.

Firstly they hold regular sessions on social media where they ask people to submit ideas for appraisal. The second is to submit a pitch directly on their website. In both cases these pitches need to be short and precise, under 500 words, great practice in tight and structured pitches.

If your pitch is successful then you will be given a meeting with one of the commissioning editors. Due to the Covid crisis this in my case was handled online. This isn't a formal interview or anything it's an introduction to allow you and the editor to get to know each other. They will be your champion within Unbound and able to help guide you through the process.

Next comes the business end of the process, while your editor is off calculating the print costs, editing requirements, or in my example the need for a legal read through for possibility of libel, you will be given a task to prepare the blurb and one line summary, and your bio ready for the web site. These can be edited by Unbound with your permission to fit with the house style or for improved marketing effectiveness. I'm currently on about the 3rd revision of text on my project.

At the end of this you will receive along with the breakdown of all the costs to produce your book, the publishing agreement.

The production cost which will vary considerably depending on the binding, size and if there are illustrations. This is the amount you will have to raise through funding, all this is set out in the agreement. If you are worried, in the event of the project not reaching its target, all rights to the work revert to you on the ending of the contract.

Once the agreement has been signed, then it's time to move on to the next phase the preparation of the site page ready for the fund-raising campaign. A provisional cover will be designed, I was given a choice of 9 different options to choose from, three of these, including the one I selected, are shown.

To offer a bit of incentive to people pledging for the book there may be other items available like mugs, tote bags, posters in addition to digital, signed and plain copies of the books. There are other perks which are offered , such as 
book club visits and special mentions in the front of the book. All pledges receive their name listed in the back of the book.

In preparation for launch day you will be introduced to the Crowdfunding Campaigns Executive who will be your guide to making the most out of online funding and there to help with any issues and requests you may have. She will give you a pack with a set of useful templates for emails and social media, you will be asked to attend a workshop to help you get the most out of the funding process. 

Then comes the fun part, starting to raise the funds required for your campaign. Ideally you should start a few days before to tease the upcoming campaign, with social media posts. Then on the big launch day shout as loud and as wide as you can. It can be a long process to get funding, but don't be discouraged, you may be given targets to meet but these are not pass of fail points, try to keep up interest in the campaign with regular updates and posts on the site itself. Keep an eye out for campaigns and promotion codes being given out by Unbound and use these to boost sales around holidays and events, you may be given your own personal codes at times to help you boost sales. 

This is as far as I have gotten in the publishing process with Unbound as my own project, a memoir Falling Upwards is currently in the funding process on Unbound. Why not check it out and make a pledge and maybe you can join me one day and become a member of the unbound family. 

To learn more about Theresa, follow her on Twitter, read the 'project synopsis' of her memoir, or pledge to support her project and be one of the first to read Falling Upwards.


Tish said...

That's interesting, thanks. I'd heard of people crowd funding books, but didn't know there was a formal way to do it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a really interesting way to run a publishing company. I know of individual authors using crowdfunding, but like Tish I didn't know companies did it.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Good luck to Theresa. A fascinating look behind the scenes of a company I've heard of but not known much about.

ados123 said...

Interesting. Thanks Theresa and Patsy.

Marguerite said...

Thank you, Theresa and Patsy. This certainly gives me a completely different outlook to what I thought crowdfunding was. There seems to be quite a bit involved. I wish you luck, Theresa :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a massive amount of work - writing your story was just one step on your journey. I hope it all pays off and you are able to get your memoir out there. It would be interesting to hear from you again when this is the case. Thanks to both Theresa and Patsy for this post. Eirin Thompson

Patsy said...

Thanks to all those who commented – and to Theresa for taking the time to share her experience with this publisher.

@ Eirin – It does sound like a lot of work, I agree. That seems to be the case whichever publication route people take. It's good that we have different options.