BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Friday, February 16, 2018

Comic Cuts - 16 February 2018

Not much to report this week. I worked on a couple of shorter pieces over the Friday through Sunday before jumping to one of the longer pieces. In fact it might end up the longest piece in the book, although nowhere near the length of the Bracebridge Hemyng piece in Volume 2, which clocked in at around 20,000 words.

That book has been out a couple of weeks now and I've had a little bit of feedback. Thankfully no major factual errors have cropped up—the biggest so far has been a wrong date—although even minor mistakes are frustrating because I make every effort to weed them out ahead of publication. But they slip through. I think that, after a while, you see what you think you've written rather than what you've actually written.

The weekly totalizer has reached 160,000 words and the essay count is now at 39, so I'm maybe 45,000 words away from achieving the Fifty Forgotten Authors I was aiming for when I started this project last August. I have a feeling that I won't quite reach the fifty with this third volume unless I use up a lot of very short pieces.

I did solve one mystery this week relating to an author who featured on Bear Alley. I finally tracked down their date of death and confirmed it with a copy of their death certificate. The office that deals with births, marriages and deaths—the General Register Office, or GRO—have a scheme on at the moment whereby you can get order PDF copies of birth and death certificates. Weirdly, this pilot scheme is not extended to marriage certificates, a fact I missed when I tried to order one and found that the "order PDF" button was missing. A glitch in the system, surely? I thought. As it turns out, no.

Doing these books could potentially cost me a fortune in certificates, although I've kept it down to something like £30 per volume so far.Add the cost of proofs, and the price of a couple of books I've had to buy for reference, the first three volumes will probably have cost me somewhere between £120-150 to produce. That's a huge difference to the costs I had writing the Hank Janson book, which were huge by comparison: it took a few trips up to the National Archives in Richmond to sort some of the research and on more than one occasion I spent over £100 on photocopies—which were hellishly expensive (£1.30 per photocopied page!). It's bloody expensive this research lark!

Between work and the weather, I've not left the house much, aside from our regular walks. I'm looking forward to seeing Lucy Porter this Friday evening at the Arts Centre and we're trying to arrange with friends to see Black Panther, so I may have more to write about next week. For now I'll leave you with some random scans that aren't so random.

In an obvious marketing move, all the covers today are books by authors included in Forgotten Authors Volume 2... I'm hoping that it will spur you into buying a copy of the book or downloading it on Kindle. You can find all the various options here... and if you scroll down you can order volume one at the same time!

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