How to make a real book. (Hint: don’t ever do it this way.)

2016-08-31 09.12.06I’m delighted to see this novel make it into print after such a long time. We wouldn’t have planned it this way but steep learning curves aren’t such a bad thing. Besides, getting everything wrong is a defining clown trait and we’re proud to posses it in spades.

What underpins this post, though, on the day that Clown Wars finally becomes a real book, is a feeling of gratitude to my co-author, Jeremy Drysdale. This whole nonsensical shebang was his idea. More ridiculous still, I actually agreed to help him turn it from a spec script treatment into a novel.

This resulted in a cascade of preposterous absurdities, all of which revolved around one central irony:

Commissioning editors loved it but not one of them had any idea who the readership might be or how to market such a galactic genre anomaly. We came tantalisingly close to that ‘traditional’ publishing route several times, yet the final answer was always no.

But as all keen circus-goers understand, ‘no’ isn’t a word that clowns take very seriously.2016-08-31 09.12.42

Not everyone loved the book, of course. A few had a fear of clowns and couldn’t stand it. Frustratingly, they were all industry gatekeepers – among them, the producer at Aardman who first saw the idea and politely told Jeremy to get lost. A few agents and editors had similar feelings.

We had to accept the facts: if we didn’t publish it ourselves, the readership would remain steady at zero and all marketing would remain hypothetical, a realisation that took five years to sink in (clowns don’t take hints too well, either).

I know I speak for Jeremy when I say that believing in a book this…leftfield…has been trying, especially after so many extremely positive knockbacks. But that’s another thing about clowns; every time you knock ’em down, they bounce back up again. Kinda creepy, actually.

So, back to that feeling of gratitude:

Jeremy Drysdale brought me this curiosity. We’ve had no end of fun and heartache developing it but a worthwhile existence is full of fun and heartache, I think – it lets you know you’ve lived. Bringing Clown Wars into the world has informed us, loud and clear, that we’re very much not quite dead yet.

2016-08-31 09.12.57You can help!

If you feel any of the same kind of gratitude after reading the book, you can help us.

Tell someone about the book. Tell your therapist; you never know. If you can’t think what to get for a weird relative this Christmas, buy them a copy of Clown Wars – it’s a steal at £7.99 and guaranteed to be unique. Get on Amazon and leave us a rating and review – it really does make a difference – and do something similar on Goodreads and Librarything or your blog.

And here’s why we need your help:

We have no marketing budget. We have no publicist. We’ll never have a poster campaign or be in a well-known book club. We won’t be reviewed in papers or magazines. There’s only you, our readers, and what you say about the book. So, if you love it, we hope you’ll share that love.

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