Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Glorious Dead: A Progress Report

It's just over two weeks since The Glorious Dead launched on Unbound. Since then, it's made almost 10% of it's funding target and attracted a huge amount of interest. But one question keeps recurring - what is crowdfunding and how does it work?

Well... it works by people pledging their support in advance - a bit like buying before the book gets written (in order to make sure it is). The great thing about this way of doing things is that readers get to choose what gets written, rather than wait and choose what someone else (usually the marketing department) has commissioned.

But what if it doesn't get written, I hear you asking? Well, in that case you get your money back - but still have all the wonderful insights into the writing process and the inspiration and research via ‘The Shed'. But we're not going to have defeatist talk like that. Oh no.

Unbound publishes the likes of Terry ‘He’s not the Messiah’ Jones and Raymond 'Snowman' Briggs (to name-drop but two) but I think it must be easier if you've already got an established public profile, like they have. Some books takes days to fund; others weeks and months. At the present rate, mine will be in the latter category, but hey - onwards and upwards!

The really great thing about crowdfunding from my point of view as an author is the opportunities it affords for interaction. I've already had some quite lengthy conversations (usually on Facebook) about the novel. People have been interested in my motivation, fascinated by the research, and amazed - as I was - that there has been so little written on this subject before.

Which brings us to the book. The Glorious Dead is the story of a group of soldiers who stay on after the Armistice, clearing the battlefields, burying the dead and slowly rebuilding their own lives. This is in fact what thousands of Allied troops did, not always voluntarily - although the Army did offer men an extra 2/6 a day to undertake such unpleasant duties.

Some men stayed on, after their demob, marrying local Belgian girls and establishing a small but significant English community in and around Ypres. Many of them were employed by the War Graves Commission, landscaping the cemeteries they themselves created and establishing the permanent memorials to the dead that today we know so well.

There are plenty of books on World War One. There are books on Ypres, The Somme, Gallipoli & Verdun but there has never been a war book quite like this one. With your support, this remarkable story can at last be written.

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