Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Author's Side of the Story

My name is Joseph D’Lacey.
I am pale, unfit, anxious and have personal hygiene issues. The arse-covering bit of my jeans wears out with unsettling regularity. I can’t remember the last time someone nice came to visit me but my mum (and my gerbil*, Roy Batty) consider me a deity.
I should explain:
I’m a professional author, which means I make enough money from writing to starve to death several times a year. On the plus side, no one ever tells me what to do (except editors, but they don’t count as people) and I get to spend several hours a day staring out of the window. Also, when I go to parties, which I never do, I get to impress people by casually dropping the fact that I’m ‘published, you know’.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m telling you because, despite the inevitable cynicism that arises when writing long-term, I love my job.
Recently, I’ve loved it even more because things are changing. After years of submitting work, chasing agents and editors, and tripping over myself to be noticed, publishers have started to approach me.
I know. Miracle, right?
One of those publishers is Simon Key of Timeline books, co-owner of The Big Green Bookshop and all-around good bloke. By now, you’ll know the circumstances under which we first met, so when Simon emailed to say he wished to publish my work, I was chuffed to bits - he wanted to bring out a collection of my short fiction! When Simon mentioned this, the bits of my chuff flew even farther apart.
Some time later, I sent the following text to Simon:
To which there came no reply. A few days afterward, Simon admitted he had no idea what the text related to.
“It’s a title,” I said. “For the book.”
There was an appreciative silence.
We decided to talk about other things for a while before circling back to titles.
“So what do you think of Splinters?” I asked.
“What? Oh. It’s fine. I mean, it’s really, really an okay title. You know, for a book. About wood.”
Is it a coincidence that Timeline Books’ HQ is in Wood Green? I think not. Was it mere happenstance that that very morning, I’d got a tiny sliver of bamboo stuck under my fingernail? I’ll leave it with you. Either way, we came up with about ten more titles and whittled it (see what I did there?) down to four. At which point the genius that is Simon Key said:
“We should let the public decide.”
And then it was my turn to say:
Well, I thought Oh. What I actually said was:
“That’s a brilliant idea, Simon. Have I mentioned before that you’re a genius?”
And the rest, as they so often say these days, is interactive publishing history.
Next time:
If a book’s cover is two slices of organic wholemeal tin-loaf, what should the filling be?

* I don’t own a Gerbil. I made that bit up. The rest of this article is entirely factual.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Result

Well after 9 days, lots of tweeting, emailing and bothering, we have the result of the 'What Shall We call Our New Book'.
 Of the four choices we offered there was a clear winner. With an impressive 40% of the vote you have chosen


Well done. 

Monday, 14 May 2012


When Tim West and I decided to open a bookshop in 2007, we had no real idea of what we were doing. Yes, we'd worked in bookshops for a long time and we could add up and talk and press buttons. But opening a shop, starting a new business, talking to solicitors, borrowing £60k for the bank. All that jazzy stuff was new to us. It was also a massive learning curve and we relied on lots of help and advice to make it work. We still do as a matter of fact. (thanks).

When Tim West and I decided to open a bookshop in 2007, we started a blog. It was called 'Open a Bookshop, What Could Possibly Go Wrong' (subtitle; '2 blokes, one shop, no idea'). On this blog we chronicled the whole adventure from day one. We tried to be as honest and open as possible about our attempts to make the bookshop a reality. Sometimes we were perhaps too honest. But that was the point, I guess. To share our journey.

In a similar vein, I am very new to this Publishing lark. The new book by Joseph D'Lacey will be the second book I publish. The first one is called London Tales by Greg Stekelman and it's ever so good. You should probably buy it.
Anyway, back to the point. I have decided that throughout the whole of the process of publishing this book I shall try and share as much of the experience with you as I can on this here blog. I'll talk about choosing the titles for the collection, editing, printing, getting ISBNs (which i didn't do with the first book), marketing and loads more stuff besides. I will no doubt make 'hilarious' mistakes, and I will no doubt rely on you lot to help me out along the way. But I will be totally honest about stuff. I hope it's worth reading and maybe will give you an insight into one way of publishing books.

It's always slightly scary doing new things, so having a place where I can share my thoughts will help me too.

Right, so that bit about helping. You decide the title of the book. Click on one the 4 choices on the top right hand side of this page.
SEE? You're helping already. It works!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Your First Mission - Name Joseph D'Lacey's Book

We are an interactive publisher.

Interactive ; Adj. Involving the actions or input of a user.

So that kind of means that we want you to help decide stuff for us along the way.

You want to know why? Well, to put it frankly, we want you to buy the books we publish. There's no point in publishing a book that nobody wants to read, so it's important that the opinions of our potential customers are heard. You are in the best position to make reasoned decisons about things that we (the  publishers and author) are perhaps so closely involved with that are opinions are somewhat clouded.

Now, here is the first decison I'd like you to help us make.

I'd like you to choose the title of Joseph D'Lacey's collection of short stories that i'm publishing in September.

Here's the remit;

It's a collection of 12 stories, that are part horror, part dark fiction, part fantasy, part dystopia. Each story has a different element and provokes a different feeling. It shows the incredible scope of Joseph's writing. The collection will appeal to fans of horror (as this is what Joseph is best known for), but I also feel that it deserves to be read by an audience that appreciates the art of storytelling. They are very special indeed.

Jospeh's previous titles have included Meat, Garbage Man, Snake Eyes & the Kill Crew.
So with this in mind, we have come up with 4 suggested titles. It is up to you to decide which one we will use. There is a poll on the top right had side of this here blog, on which you can vote for your favourite. The most popular title when voting ends at 9.00pm on Sunday 20th May will be the title that we choose for the collection.

Don't let us down. I love you all.

Timeline Books- An Announcement

I am a bookseller. But I am also a publisher. My publishing company is called Timeline Books. I have published one book so far. Yes, ONE. It is London Tales by Greg Stekelman. It is awesome and if you haven't bought it by now and you have £40, then I suggest you do. There are only 250 in the whole world and tests prove that by buying a copy your life will improve on average by 3.2%*.
When I set up Timeline Books, I thought to myself that i'd probably publish just the one book. But having enjoyed the whole experience so very very much, my taste for publishing more has grown.
And this is why I am delighted to announce that I am going to be publishing Timeline Books second book.
It's going to be a collection of the finest short stories by Joseph D'Lacey. Joseph is awesome and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be publishing this.

Let me tell you a bit about Mr D'Lacey.
  • He wrote a book called Meat, which I reviewed on this blog here back in 2008 (there is also an interview I did too).He also wrote a book called Garbage Man, which has some of the most powerful imagery I have read. He also wrote the novella Kill Crew, which I reviewed a bit here
  • He was awarded Best Newcomer in 2009 at the British Fantasy Society awards for Meat
  • Stephen King is a massive fan and has said that 'Joseph D'Lacey Rocks'.
  • I have spent the last 2 months reading his short stories and I feel like I am the luckiest person alive. They are brilliant.
This is what Joseph looks like, should you want to say hello to him if you meet him.

Joseph would probably be filed under Horror in bookshops. If there was a more specific sub genre, it would be Eco Horror. But the scope of his writing means that I am reluctant to place him in one particular genre. His stories put me in mind of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, but with an even darker, more sinister (and sometimes hilarious) conclusion. What I love about his writing is that I never know quite what to expect. His latest book, Snake Eyes, published in the USA, contains two novellas. Each one takes you on a journey that has layer after layer of storyline. It takes you further and further into his crazy and imaginative mind. You don't know what's going to happen, but when it does happen...BOOM!!

The book will be published on September 27th 2012. This coincides with the publication of a book by JK Rowling, which one or two of you might know about. We thought it would be good for her to have a bit of competition.
There will be a Limited Edition of just 500 copies. Each one will be signed and numbered.
There will be a competition to design the cover of the book. This will be launched in May at the same time as the title of the book is announced.
There are more things, but this is quite enough excitement for one blogpost.

This is going to be something very special. If you know anyone who you think would want of copy of this (who wouldn't to be honest), please let them know.

*I made this up, but you should still buy a copy.