It is said that everybody has a book in them but, for most who wish this were true, publishing it often proves to be a prohibitive exercise.
However, while the traditional publishing houses still keep a tight grip on much of what eventually gets printed, one method has opened up which has the potential to cause waves within the entire sector.
The publisher Unbound, which operates under the slogan ‘books are now in your hands’, has taken the concept of crowdfunding to another level.
The Times has frequently documented examples of crowdfunding being used by local businesses to enhance their commercial activities, whether it is vineyards like Chapel Down or The Pantiles best craft firm, Dassie Artisan.
However, whereas investors in these companies expect a financial return, those who pledge for a novel with Unbound do so simply because they want to read what the author has to say.
One person using this method is Tunbridge Wells journalist Sophie Robehmed.
Although she is already an accomplished author through the traditional method, with her book Only in Dubai – a humorous exposé of the numerous expat ‘tribes’ found in the emirate – she opted for this new avenue as she felt it was an innovative option for her next book.
“Unlike with traditional publishers, you have a lot more freedom to pursue your ideas with Unbound and create the book you’d like to write, she said.
“It is a platform for those who really love books and are fascinated by the writing process and publishing,” she added, explaining that authors keep their supporters updated from start to finish.
Through Unbound, potential pledgers can scroll through hundreds of nascent authors, as well as established names and familiar faces, looking for subjects, ideas and concepts they would like to see published.
If an author meets their funding target, the book will go to print, with the publisher safe in the knowledge that there is a target audience and the costs have been covered. Shop copies are then published with Penguin Random House.
This allows for relatively small print runs of niche novels to be feasible, and all supporters get recognition by having their names printed at the back of the book.
Miss Robehmed hopes to do the same with her next book, titled Doppelgänger: My Search for Another Me.
Five years in the making, the young author made waves on social media when, in 2011, her #doyoulooklikeme project – on which the book is based – first went viral.
“I just found the thought that there may be some-one out there who looks like each and every one of us – and whether this runs deeper than aesthetics – fascinating and I also enjoy a challenge.”
Written in a ‘dual narrative’ format, the book documents her search for her double and is interspersed with an examination of the doppelgänger phenomenon – looking at everything from how do doppelgängers even exist to how likely is it that we all have one?
Since it started, the project – which is centred on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – has transformed into a forum where people from all over the world seek their unrelated identical twin.
“I still get weekly messages from people asking me to help them find their doppelgänger,” she said.
Her journey has borne fruit with one person – Lauren – definitely featuring in the book.
“I don’t want to give too much away about what happens, but Lauren could be a younger sister of mine”.
To pre-order Sophie’s book, visit unbound.co.uk/books/doppelganger
WHAT IS A DOPPELGÄNGER?
A doppelgänger is a lookalike or double of a living person and a literal translation from the German word is ‘double-goer’. The phenomenon has been well documented in fiction and mythology for hundreds of years and in some traditions seeing one’s doppelgänger is a harbinger of bad luck.
HOW DOES UNBOUND WORK?
A step-by-step process:
1: Creators pitch their ideas. If it’s got the makings of a great book, Unbound will launch it on their site.
2: If readers like the idea they can pledge and support it for exclusive rewards.
3: The creator adds the finishing touches to the manuscript, and keeps supporters in the loop with regular progress updates.
4: The project gets funded – The average successful pitch raises £15,000 from around 500 supporters.
5: Unbound offers help and advice with editing and book design.
6: Book printed and can hit commercial shelves – with proceeds split 50/50 between author and publisher.
REWARDS FOR THOSE WHO PLEDGE:
£10: An e-book edition of the book
£20: A special hardback edition
£30: A signed collectable hardback edition
£50: Doppelgänger action plan with Sophie via email – including tips on how to go about looking for your own doppelgänger – plus a signed special hardback edition.
£80: Two tickets to the launch party, plus signed first edition of the book.
£200: Sophie has worked as a sub-editor and editor for various nationals and will edit up to three chapters of your work, plus a signed special hardback edition.
£300: Sophie will come and give you a writing workshop on thinking creatively, writing from experience, coming up with original ideas and everything doppelgangers, plus a signed special hardback edition.
£1,000: The pledger’s name is printed in the front of every edition of the book thanking there for their contribution, plus a signed special edition hardback.
*All those who pledge get access author’s special blog and their name in the back of the book