It’s always a pleasure to welcome the multi-talented Mr Scott Pack here. As well as being publisher extraordinaire (he’s the chap responsible for Freaks! while he was with The Friday Project/HarperCollins) he’s also published his own books which I know I’m not the only person who’s thoroughly enjoyed them. And he’s back – in both ways, both as a publisher again at Unbound, and as an author. Only this time, things are a little different…
Scott. Hello! Welcome. I trust you’ve been well and kept in cake.
As you well know, there is always cake. But thank you for asking.
So, first things first: Unbound. Tell us about it and what you’re doing there.
Unbound is the world’s first crowdfunding publisher. It was founded a few years back by three authors who were frustrated with how the publishing indiustry works. Most notably, the fact that authors are so far removed from readers. Here were three authors with hundreds of thousands of readers between them but no idea who those readers were. So they decided to change all that.
Unbound enables authors (famous ones like Andy Hamilton, Terry Jones and Raymond Briggs as well as debut writers you’ve never heard of) to pitch their books direct to readers. Readers can then pledge for different reward levels (a copy of the book, dinner with the author, having a character named after them, that sort of thing) and every supporter gets their name in the back of the book.
It’s a lovely idea and is proving to be rather successful.
And, more importantly, the new book. Weightless Fireworks. Tell us about that.
It is a book containing 100 haiku. Haiku is a form of poetry that came to prominence in Japan in the 17th century. They contain three lines and conform to a strict 5/7/5 syllable structure. I have written loads of the buggers over the years and always wanted to collect them in some way.
Why the title?
Well, originally I wanted to call it Hundred Haiku but the Unbound crew weren’t so keen. So then I wanted to use a line from one of the poems. It was a toss up between Weightless Fireworks and Ready Salted Love. The former sounded a bit more poetic.
And why haiku? You’re a dark horse! Where did that come from?
Well my first ever published book was a collection of poetry called aardvark. It came out 25 years ago this year. So poetry always came first for me. I love haiku, the fact that you have to try to say a lot in such a short space. No room for wasted words. You need to be spot on. If you try to force it, it shows. Nowhere to hide. All that shit.
So this book’s clearly very different to what you’ve put out there before. How does it compare to your others and how much fun was it to write?
After aardvark I wrote three non-fiction books which were somewhat throwaway bits of fun. Trivia books. Toilet books. The sort of books that end up being sold for a quid in The Works before the year is out. Nothing wrong with that, one of them sold a hell of a lot of copies, but I don’t think they’ll be remembered years from now. They were lots of fun to write though.
Technically, Weightless Fireworks isn’t actually finished yet. I am still writing haiku every day as I get ready for publishing the book.
Now, the really important part. Where should we buy it from?
Well, you can’t technically buy it at all. Not yet. What you can do is pledge towards it and then, if enough people do the same, then the book will be published. We got to over 20% of our target at the end of the first day, so things are looking promising. Pop on over to https://unbound.co.uk/books/weightless-fireworks and you can cough up if you like what you see.
What’s next for you?
Well my immediate future involves staring at the status of this book on Unbound and watching the percentage total creep up. Or stall. It can’t go backwards, though, so that’s something.
And I should really be writing some haiku.
But once the blasted thing is funded I guess I’ll be spending a fair bit of time fulfilling some of the rewards.
Anything to add?
I should really mention some of the rewards. You can just pledge for the book, which is fine. But you could also pledge for me to bake you a cake. Or I could send you a haiku every month for a year. Or you could even have one of the few copies of the book that I will be writing out by hand.
There are also some ‘professional’ rewards, so to speak, where you can get me to edit your book for a much lower fee than I normally charge.
Anyway, something for everyone.
Here is example of said cake…
It’s been a pleasure, of course. Until next time…
Unless I see you first, sunshine.
No, seriously, thanks for inviting me. It’s been emotional.