It's hot and sunny, and I just want to go outside and collect cerinthe, foxglove, marigold and poppy seeds before they fall. But I'm indoors, working away on the first yarnstorm press title which will be going to the printers very soon.
I went round and round in circles trying to work out how to produce a book. It had to be easy, I reckoned, otherwise there wouldn't be so many in the world. But it didn't seem that way when I was beginning the process, and I got very tangled up trying to plan it all. In the end, I decided to abandon all ideas of dates and deadlines, and instead simply take it one step at a time and make each decision when it was required and not in advance. And even without the contents, ISBN, bar code, proof-reading, fact-checking etc there are so many small decisions about the book itself: size, paper, colour, typefaces, cover, spine, bar code, price, and all the teeny-tiny details of design that influence the look of a book.
It's been a really interesting process and very enjoyable once I realised that, as the publisher, I can work to my own timetable. It took me a long time to get started because I was thinking too far ahead and worrying about what-ifs. Finally, I saw that the only way to make a book is to just do it. No amount of thinking and talking and planning will make a book unless you write it, design it, print it, and offer it up to be read. So that's what I've done and soon I'll be able to see the results. The book is the first in Jane Brocket's Grand Provincial Tour series ('travel with a Brocket in your Pocket') and it will be available in early autumn via this blog, on Big Cartel, and in selected bookshops. (I've yet to make up my mind about Amazon.)
I've also begun to learn how to make books with paper and a needle and thread. Ever since my visits to the former Soviet Union, I've been fascinated by the idea and practice of samizdat, and I reasoned that I might as well have a go at seizing the means of production and finding out how I could make a book from start to finish. Yesterday I did an excellent bookbinding workshop at the London Centre for Book Arts and came away with three books. They have blank pages but as I can supply the words and pictures to go on pages, I now have the means to make a book, something that feels very exciting and liberating.
The seeds will have to wait until later, while I carry on at the computer, make final printing decisions, and think about hand-stitched bindings. It's not a bad trade-off.
(The blog break will resume now.)