It was a Wednesday afternoon. Last Wednesday to be exact. My sister had just arrived for a visit. An e-mail came through to my smartphone and (rude though it was) I checked it. The subject line read Your Book on Unbound. Having just pledged for A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis I assumed the e-mail was about that. I opened it, not giving it my full attention as I was speaking with my sister. Then I read this:
Congratulations! We'd very much like to include Ashael Rising as part of our brand new, digital list at Unbound.
At this point I stopped reading and started stuttering. My sister asked me what was wrong and I couldn't answer her. I was literally speechless. I just held out my phone. She took it out of my hand, read the same thing I just had and screamed. She grabbed me in a bear hug, saying "I knew it! You said no-one ever gets picked up on their first submission but I knew it!"
I think we both cried. My 9yo also screamed and joined in the hug when she realised what was happening. My 2yo just asked "What are you crying for, Mummy?"
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in a bit of a daze. I responded to Unbound and told them that I was interested. They sent over a contract that afternoon. Since then, things have flown. Everything has moved so fast that I still don't quite believe it's happening. I keep waiting to get an e-mail saying "sorry, we had you confused with someone else!"
I read the contract carefully and sent a copy to my parents, wanting to talk it over with someone who had less of an investment, make sure that I wasn't skipping over any problematic clauses in my excitement. I wasn't. The contract was written in plain English and is very reasonable. I signed it and posted it back to Unbound on Friday.
Since then I've been working on promotional materials for my project page on the site and trying to arrange some ways to promote my work. I have been incredibly fortunate and have found all of the people I have reached out to incredibly helpful.
Unbound is the first crowd-funding publisher. What that means is that they have figured out production costs for publishing my novel. That money must be raised before my book can be published. Backers can pledge to buy my book in advance. There are a whole range of rewards for pledging. Everything from a signed page of the manuscript to lunch with the author to naming a character.
That platform that I've been trying to build has just become incredibly important and I'm not sure if I'm there yet but I have 90 days to fund my novel so I'm about to find out.
Tomorrow will see the launch of my project and, I sincerely hope, the beginning of a career. Watch this space for further details. And please wish me luck.