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Unbound: Books in your Hands

Written by The Reader, 21st February 2012

Unbound is a new type of publishing company which directly involves readers in the creation and eventual publication of an author’s work.

Describing itself as a "pioneering crowd-funding portal for book publishing", the website launched at the Hay festival in May and has already successfully published a number of books from well-known authors such as Terry Jones and Kate Mosse, as well as newcomers like Jennifer Pickup.

The authors post an extract from their book and a video pitch of their idea on the site in a bid to get financial support from enthusiastic readers. So instead of waiting for their work to be published, users get to listen to writers’ ideas before they’ve even started.  If you like the idea, you can pledge a certain amount of money to support it, and once a target number of supporters has been reached, the writer can start writing (if this isn’t met, pledges can be refunded or switched to another project).

The higher you pledge, the greater recognition you receive in the finished project – from your name in the back of the book, to lunch with the author. Another incentive to pledge is the resulting access to the author’s ‘shed’, with exclusive interviews, progress updates, draft chapters and much more.

Finally, the book is written, designed, edited, printed, and sent to you either in e-book form, or as a beautifully bound limited edition hardback. The founders of Unbound claim they are ‘bringing authors and readers together’, allowing an interactive dialogue to help shape the writing and reading process.

Current projects include academic psychologist and writer Charles Fernyhough’s A Box of Birds, a pacy thriller set in a near-future world of experimental brain research. Fernyhough uses neuroscientific ideas in his work and will be hosting discussions with neuroscientists and fellow writers about some of the themes that emerge from the story as he completes it, which he hopes his Unbound pledgers will join in with.

He has 89 days to get 533 supporters, so why not read an excerpt and watch the video pitch here, and decide if you want to help bring a book to life…

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