Friday, February 3, 2012

It’s amazing how much you can achieve through creative procrastination. I finished up the first draft of my next novelette, currently titled Queen of the May although that might change. The transcription from my handwriting wasn’t too bad, but it has resulted in a lot of errors because my writing has a tendency to get a bit scrawly when I get over-excited. The first first draft came in at 21,673 words, a number which is steadily decreasing as I tidy up the copy.

But I have to confess that editing out weird typos is not exactly the most thrilling of pastimes, so I’ve been putting a lot of energy into planning my next Kickstarter project and, this time, getting my costings spot on. I’m talking to Oldacres in Hatton Garden again for printing as they did such a great job last time, and between us we’re trying to figure out how to do a better job on the paper cover for the hardback.

Last time, we used just normal paper stock with a laminate finish. It looked really good, but it was a bitch to work with when binding. Not only did I have to deal with the paper fibres swelling, as is their wont, but the lamination worsened the problem meaning that I had to tape down each sheet in order to work with it. Since then I’ve done a couple of bookbinding courses at Falkiners, both of which were fantastic. I learnt some new techniques and got to play with some materials that I’d never have used on my own, and that experience has altered my thinking on how to bind the next set of books.

Firstly, I want to use Japanese paper for the paper-covered hardbacks. Japanese paper is made differently to western paper and because its fibres are random, rather than being all lined up as in our usual paper, it doesn’t curl when wet. This makes it a joy to work with. Japanese papers are also stronger, so you can work with a thinner stock which allows you to get much crisper, cleaner lines. But when you buy decorative Japanese paper, it has usually been screen printed, so although we can buy white sheets, how we print it is something that we’re still trying to work on. Oldacres are currently experimenting for me with some samples from John Purcell Paper, a wholesaler. I am very anxiously awaiting the results!

Secondly, the methodology I used for the silk covers last year turned out to be horribly, painfully time-consuming. I translated my “design” into blocks of colour, cut the right shapes out from appropriately coloured dupion silk, bonded them together and then sewed over the joins with embroidery. A very time-consuming process. The embroidery alone took 16 hours per cover. Beautifully as they came out, I cannot go through that again! So now I’m looking at the possibility of screenprinting, or maybe just doing a simpler embroidered design. This is going to require some serious and careful thought as it will have a big impact on the cover design. (You’ll be glad to hear that I’m not going to be doing the design myself this time!)

I’m also looking into possibilities for a leather-bound version. I’m talking to a number of binderies about my options, both for them to provide the binding service, and to explore whether there is any way that I can work on the leather bindings myself, under supervision. Whilst I worked with leather in my second Falkiners course, I have neither the equipment or the experience to do the leather versions myself. BInding in leather, even if it’s just an A6 novelette, is going to be far from cheap, but the results will be stunning.

Soon, I’ll have my costings nailed down and then I’ll be in the right position to start my next Kickstarter project. I have had a few ideas for exclusive rewards that I’ll be listing, but their numbers will be very limited indeed. I’ll be announcing the project through my mailing list first so if you want to be amongst the first people to know when it goes live, join the mailing list now! I send out very few emails and I manage the list using Mailchimp so you can set your preferences for type of email and can unsubscribe at any time without any risk of your email address winding up in the wrong hands.

I’m very excited to be planning my second Kickstarter project. It’s been 18 months since I put Argleton up, and the Kickstarter community has expanded dramatically over that time, so I’m eager to see what sort of support it’s possible to get now. My goal will certainly have to be a bit higher than last time in order to pay for a designer and my time: If writing is to be sustainable, it has to provide me with a modest living, and I would be very happy indeed if it could do that independent of the behemoth that is Amazon.

In the meantime, though, there’s only so long I can put off doing that edit!

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