I am delighted to announce that I have a book deal for ‘Echo Hall’.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to be part of this amazing publishing company. I first heard of ‘Unbound’ in 2013, through Shaun Usher’s ‘Letters of Note’ twitterfeed. I loved reading the letters on twitter so I was really pleased to hear they were going to be published thanks to Unbound subscribers. ‘Letters of Note’ went on my Christmas list and I thought no more about Unbound, until after my copy had arrived a few months later.
I was visiting my friends Hugh and Zoe one day, when Hugh rushed in hugely excited to have his hands on the copy of their friend’s Unbound book. That friend was Paul Kingsnorth, and the book, ‘The Wake’ has done extremely well. (Deservedly so, it’s a remarkable novel). At that point, I sat up and paid attention. Two great books in a few months suggested Unbound was on to something.
I was really drawn to the idea of working with readers to create a novel together. However, having done a fair bit of fundraising, I was also slightly nervous about the work that crowdfunding entails. So I continued with my agent submissions, but all the time with half an eye on the Unbound website.
In December 2014, Unbound advertised for women writers to pitch, and it seemed a great opportunity to do so. I dived in, as did many others. There were only three spots available, and though I was disappointed not to be picked, it was also a bit of a relief. Thank goodness! My life was busy enough, I was training for the London Marathon and had a big fundraising target to reach. It wasn’t the best of times to also be crowdfunding my book.
But Unbound still intrigued me. I kept watching the website, following the progress of interesting looking books such as ‘Pure’ by Rosie Bretecher and ‘Notes from the Sofa’ by Raymond Briggs as they moved from pledges to publication. Then, last Autumn, I spotted Scott Pack had been hired as associate editor. Scott is a rare entity, a twitter correspondent who I met in the real world first. A few years ago my twin sister, Julia Williams was a guest at the ‘FireStation Bookswap’. Punters swapped books and ate cake while Scott interviewed Julia and the literary critic Robert McCrum. It was a really fun evening, and afterwards I started talking to him on twitter.
Scott is one of those people who make twitter worthwhile. He is funny, interesting and probably the best read person in England. He has phenomenally good taste in books, and an amazing track record in publishing – Head Buyer for Waterstone’s, Commercial Director of The Friday Project, initiator of Authonomy, and most recently at Aardvark Publishing.
So when he invited people to pitch directly to him just before Christmas, I was quick to respond. I was thrilled when he responded positively and then absolutely over the moon when offered me a contract. As I said to my husband, Chris, it’s like being picked by Berry Gordy of Motown. Accepting was a total no brainer. And I am equally thrilled to be an Unbounder, and have the chance to work with readers to make this book happen.
Now all I have to do to see ‘Echo Hall’ in print is raise the money. But with the help of a video filmed by lovely Mark and Jake this week, the support of Phil and the wonderful Unbound team, I absolutely know I can do it.
I hope you’ll be able to help too. My page will be up at Unbound soon, so if you are financially able and interested in seeing ‘Echo Hall’ in print, please do pop over and pledge. If not, it would really help if you could encourage others to support it via social media and I’ll try not to be too annoying with the tweets…