About this project
As kids we all believe in magic, but somewhere along the way most of us lose that spark of belief. But what if magic is real? What if there is a secret science to making and using magic? And what if bad people know that secret and are using magic against us?
A Bookkeeper's Guide to Practical Sorcery is an epic fantasy adventure about a young man who has always wanted to be a wizard, but due to a cruel twist of fate ends up working as an accountant in the King's vaults instead. Set in a quirky world and written with humour at its heart, its a story about courage and friendship, magic and evil. It will lift your spirits, make you smile, and explain why wizards wear a tall pointy hat.
I'm running this Kickstarter to fund the recording costs of an audio book version of my latest novel, A Bookkeeper's Guide to Practical Sorcery, due out in print on November 19th 2016 (published by Fantastic Books Publishing).
Check out the campaign update videos if you're new to this page:
UPDATE: Stretch Goals
We've had several requests for CD copies with artwork and after such a flying start to the campaign I've asked my publisher to cost up production of these. I'll update you later on but this is likely to be a stretch goal if we blast through the total.
I also rather rashly agreed on the launch stream to maybe make my awful music track 'Yeah Baby' available to backers as a 'ritual humiliation of the author' stretch goal. Again, more info on this as we approach the final total.
Having previously run a successful campaign for my science fiction novel, Elite: Mostly Harmless, I narrated the audio book myself. Both the written and audio book versions have received excellent reviews, but when I was writing A Bookkeeper's Guide to Practical Sorcery I had a different voice in my head. Last month I was listening to 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell and when chapter 4 started - The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish - I stopped dead in my tracks. THIS was the voice.
Charles Collingwood (best known for playing the role of Brian Aldridge in the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers) is absolutely the voice I had in my head for all the years it took me to polish this story to as close to perfection as I know how. He is a captivating storyteller who conveys immense humour as he reads. He could probably enthrall a listener reading out their weekly shopping list. It is a rare and beautiful talent and I was so thrilled when, after reading my manuscript, he agreed to narrate this audio book.
To give you a taster, here's a video he recorded to promote his autobiography - Brian and Me - which is well worth picking up too!
This story is my ‘first album’; the story that’s been brewing in my imagination since I first decided I was going to write a book many, many years ago. Some of the ideas and characters have been with me since childhood; others came along later. Some were even lost along the way, shaved off in ideas that went on to become something else or were lost out at sea. I finally started writing it seriously twenty years ago, completing the first manuscript four years later when I had a dry spell of freelancing and the characters demanded my attention.
I got a favourable response from some publishers when I touted the finished manuscript around. But this was 1999, and Harry Potter was happening. While my story was good there was, apparently, only room for one trainee wizard in the literary world.
Since then I’ve learned a lot about writing; written close to a billion words I reckon. I’ve penned dozens of short stories, written countless columns and TV report scripts, published two other books, and experienced a lot more life. When my now publisher, the amazing Fantastic Books, said they loved the manuscript, I was thrilled. But I thought it deserved a rewrite. I did this applying all the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained in the fifteen-years since I last put it to bed.
It’s been almost two more years in the doing, but has been a rare opportunity to go back in time and look at a completed story with fresh eyes. During the rewrite it was often like reading a thing for the first time; such a lot has happened since I last opened the manuscript. Oddly enough this obfuscation of time gave me real clarity. I’d be tempted to say I should put all stories away for twenty years before publishing, but at this stage of the game I’m afraid the boat might have sailed on that strategy.
It’s hard to explain how much I’ve enjoyed spending time in this world again. It’s been like redecorating a favourite room with all the finest materials I’ve saved up for over twenty-years for.
And now it needs the perfect voice to tell the tale. Charles Collingwood is that voice.
For those who need to ask; this story is for children. Or parents to read to their children; or read to themselves surreptitiously after bedtime. But mostly it’s for anyone, of any age, who enjoys letting their mind wander through the words of a damn good yarn. Like me.
The 'Spotlight' and higher pledge tiers mention a 'musical poem' that will be included at the end of the audio book, which will be published on MP3 and also available through Audible.com. For this I plan to ask you for a name (it can be you, or someone you love or just want to embarrass!) and either an object, action or emotion, which will become part of a musical poem (family-friendly submissions only will be accepted! If you want to use this outlet to propose marriage to your boyfriend or girlfriend, I'd be delighted to pop the question for you! I am not, however, prepared to break your relationship off. That you'll have to do on your own). I will then write and record a silly ditty similar to the one I recorded after my last Kickstarter closed to say thank you to the people who were in the chat comments during the final hour of the campaign. You can listen to that on my Soundcloud HERE if you want an idea of the kind of thing it will be like.
Remember, this will be included in the finished audio book MP3, so your choices will be heard by whoever buys this audio book through the Fantastic Books online store, or Audible.
Here is the T-shirt artwork and examples of how it will look in the three tiers available:
If you want to know a little more watch the launch night stream below, hosted by Nats Wright on Twitch.
Risks and challenges
WILL YOU ENJOY THE STORY?
The book is written and in the hands of my publisher for release in November 2016. While you cannot read it yet if you loved my last story you will absolutely enjoy this one. You will also be able to share it with your children as it does not have the physical horrors of Elite: Mostly Harmless in its prose!
WILL IT BE A HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTION?
I have twenty years experience directing and producing TV and radio and it will be recorded in a professional studio with a voice actor who has over forty years experience. It will be of the highest quality in both performance and post-production values.
WILL IT BE DELIVERED ON TIME?
My publisher has a great deal of experience delivering high quality audio books with several already available on Audible.com. The voice actor and studio are all lined up for January. It would take a catastrophic global disaster to prevent us delivering this on time and to the standard you would expect.
MARRIAGE PROPOSALS BY POEM
Having put the idea out there I could end up having to make 20+ proposals of marriage on behalf of my backers. I don't see this as a problem, but I'm afraid I can't make any guarantees your loved one will accept. I suggest backing the plan up with a romantic gesture and a really lovely engagement ring, but this will have to be at your own expense.
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