Back in March 2018 I wrote a blog called Woodland Wildflowers; From Blog to Book? In the final paragraph I said this.
When I am three quarters done in maybe a year or so I might try to see if I can get my blog made into a book and get it published, however I think this is a somewhat time consuming and fraught process. I will give it a go but unless it happens relatively easily then I cant see myself hitting my head against a wall for too long.
Well it has happened and the book goes to print in a couple of weeks time and will be on sale in a couple of months time ie Spring 2021.
I started to pursue the dream of getting it published towards the end of that year (2018). I bought a tome called the Writers and Artist Yearbook 2019, a somewhat demoralising book as it lists all the publishers all the literary agents and lots more. Demoralising because so many of them have very specific requirements and they are all different. Some simply say they are only taking material from existing authors….that’s helpful, or that they are not taking material at all! and others have very exacting requirements like ’20 sample pages, double spaced in san serif type on white A4 and do not expect a reply unless we are interested and that a response may take up to 3 months’….That sort of thing.
So I worked my way through the book and made a list of all the publishers who said they would take submissions and that they did do nature books. Then I whittled the list down to the most promising ones and eventually ended up with about 4 publishers. So not a lot of choice.
Top of the list was Merlin Unwin who are based in Ludlow, not so far away from where I live. I phoned them and spoke to someone, that was good! and they said send hard copy about 25 pages some from the book and others with a brief outline about myself, target audience, other similar books etc
I prepared all the stuff and sent them the required pages, some were about the wild flowers and others were about the background information. As I recall it included pages about Dog’s Mercury, Ragged Robin and also about the history of woodland and about how to age a tree. I posted it off in the period between Christmas and New Year, so about 28th December 2018.
I did not hear anything for several weeks so I decided to ring up and ask if it had been received… as you do. The same nice lady answered the phone and said ‘oh yes we were only talking about your submission a couple of days ago and we are very interested’. Me jumping up and down now. Yes she said can you come over for a meeting and we will let you know when it is convenient….. Hey ho how good was that… a possibility and not a rejection.
The meeting went well they were very nice, were quite encouraging and they seemed keen. They showed me some of the books they had produced, all very high quality, could it ever be that I would have a book like that with my name on the cover.
Bit by bit we moved forward, they must have seen something in it and stuck with me, I count myself very lucky. It had to be deblogified and I had to get more and better photographs. Covid came along which meant shooting off to take photos of some rare plant was not possible. As it turned out my photos of the rare plants were not too bad and what need improving was the more common more boring plants as I had rather overlooked them and of course covid was no barrier to this as the boring plants were all growing fairly close to home. Eventually there was a contract signed and they started working on it in earnest in Autumn 2020.
The last few months have been quite full on, with all sorts of things to revise, compile and new stuff to be written. No doubt the publishers have done a huge amount more than I have done but I was still quite busy. The book is now virtually ready to go to the printers. It looks fantastic…. well I would say that and only time will tell. Sales and reviews will be all important. Bottom line for me is there will be a book written by me with my photographs in existence. I do hope it does well though because the publishers have put so much into it, also it might mean they will be up for a second book. I am already well on the way to producing this. It is in blog form at the moment and can be seen at Coastal wildflowers.
Our coastal habitats and their wild flowers
Woodland Wildflowers will be printed somewhere in the far east, evidently there are no good quality printers of colour books in the UK and only a couple in Europe and they are quite expensive so that is why it is being printed thousands of miles from home and then shipped back to the UK. It will be available in the Spring of 2021. It will be hardback and full of colour photographs and will cost in the region of £20 available from all good bookshops and direct from the publishers.
Update 19/12/2020 It is now finished and at the printers but is listed with lots of booksellers like Waterstones, Blackwells, Amazon and many others even in the USA and Japan.