Tuesday, 8 May 2012

To self-publish or not to self-publish?

Further to my recent email update, this is to let you know the options I’m considering for A Million Miles from Broadway.

Last month, shortly before I completed the manuscript, I sent out proposal packages to a number of trade publishers.  This package included an audio CD with musical excerpts from some of the shows covered by the book, as well as clips of my appearances on two radio programmes.  I have not received any responses.

A number of people have made various suggestions to me, including that I publish the book myself, either as an e-book or as print on demand.  I am holding both of those options as a fall-back in case I am unable to secure a trade publisher (or in any case one who will publish the book as I have intended it, with its international focus intact.)  I have received a lot of support, and it is clear that interest in this book is quite high within the musical theatre community.

There are a couple of ideas that may help see this project through – whichever option I end up taking.  One would be testimonials that I could quote in my approaches to publishers.  (I have already received ones from Tony Castro, John Sparks and David Overton).  The other thing is that it would be very valuable to me if some of the schools with musical theatre studies programmes could give me a written expression of their intent to use the book – either by purchasing it or placing it on reading lists.  If anybody is willing to consider this, I can send them a perusal copy of the manuscript.

I still have great reservations about self-publishing, as in the past I have always found the support that a recognised trade publisher provides – both in editorial and marketing – to be invaluable.  However, I must accept that this book may be a little too “specialised” or “niche market” for that – although I am still convinced that there is a large enough market for a publisher who knows how to reach it.

I appreciate all of the support that this project has enjoyed from many corners, and hope to be able to announce some progress soon.

Mel Atkey
To join a facebook group for A Million Miles from Broadway, click here

Friday, 4 May 2012

An update on my last update

I’m afraid that the news since I finally completed the manuscript for A Million Miles from Broadway just a few days ago is not encouraging.  Having already been turned down by the Canada Council, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation informed me today of their decision not to support me.  Further to this, the only publisher that was actively considering the book has now decided to pass, saying: “A hearty congratulations on bringing this large project to completion.  Seeing the full manuscript gives me a much better sense of the book this will become than earlier exchanges we’ve had.  I wish you all the best with it, but I can say with confidence now that it’s not a project that would be well-served by our Press – it’s simply too far outside of our core mandate for scholarly books.  It will, however, be a book that will be read enthusiastically by fans of musical theatre, so I suggest finding a trade press that is adept at reaching that audience.”  Would that he were right.  Information packs on the book were sent out last month to about twenty trade publishers.  Not a single one has responded. (Three years ago, one trade publisher responded saying, “we probably couldn’t publish a book about fringe theatre or where too much space was devoted to one country (e.g. Canada) and that your book would need thoroughly to address the influence of Broadway on the musical theatre of other nations to make it a truly international overview of the subject.”  I’m not interested in writing a book about how Broadway has conquered the world – and I’m certainly not going to leave my own country out of it.) For the first time I am beginning to doubt that this book will ever be released.

On the other hand, there has been lots of support in both the theatrical and educational communities.  Some have urged me to consider self publishing. I have already gone several thousand pounds into debt over this and have absolutely no money left.  Also, I don’t believe a self-published book would be accepted as authoritative. If one of those trade publishers doesn’t come forward, I’m afraid I may have to abandon this project.

I hope I’ll have better news next time.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Moment of Truth

Now is the moment of truth.  I have completed the manuscript for A Million Miles from Broadway – Musical Theatre Beyond New York and London and have submitted it to a couple of prospective publishers.  I have also sent out information packs – including an audio CD of two radio programs I was on – to a few others.

I admit that it’s a difficult sell.  Although it has a greater potential appeal than Broadway North, its readership are also more widely dispersed.  Also, it’s not an academic text, but neither is it mass-market.  I need to target a specific niche, which is the professional musical theatre community, the die-hard aficionados, and educational institutions.

I’ll let you know what happens.