Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday is on May 24, 2011. With that in mind, I’ve made a radical decision: after 56 titles published by publishers large and small, I am going to self-publish. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the outstanding one is that publishers’ lists are planned so far in advance these days that I’d be lucky to see 69ers out before 2013. The whole process of self-publication, on the other hand, can take less than two months, i.e. in plenty of time for Bob’s birthday, when interest in the 20th century’s most celebrated singer-songwriter will undoubtedly be intense.
As I’ve had such a great response to this site, I’m keen to involve visitors with each stage of publication. For example, I’m currently designing a cover: I’ve enquired about the rights to Roger Jackson’s iconic image from the 1970 Isle of Wight festival. I don’t believe there is a better image to immediately alert potential readers to the content of the novel – maybe someone disagrees?
My initial plan is a print run of just 1000, with the aim of selling most of these online. That’s well short of the numbers my books usually sell, but as I have to pay for all the costs up front, and I am not a millionaire, I am erring on the side of caution. Again, I’m interested in everyone’s opinion, particularly that of writers who’ve taken the self-publication route.
I’ll also be honest about costs. In the spirit of 69 – or some of it – I don’t want to rip people off. I want them to read this book.
I’m now about half way through my novel set in the Isle of Wight festival of 1969 – more discussion of that to follow. The work’s been considerably slowed down by the fact I’m moving house and (see article below) the death of my dad, festival electrician Ken Blake. However, sorting out his house and mine has unexpectedly thrown up two rare mementos of the sixties event: an arena pass modified to include all areas (i.e. backstage) and a second pass which I think was probably used to gain access to the VIP area in front of the stage – I was in that area for the Who’s performance (fingers jammed in ears due to the ear-splitting volume). As you’ll see the pass is actually a redundant ticket from the much smaller first IOW festival at Godshill in 1968 – I imagine these must be pretty rare.
I’ve been asked to do a podcast by Ventnor Blog so may visit the island again shortly – when I do I’ll donate the passes to the festival museum at Dimbola Lodge.