At Unbound authors pitch their ideas and you choose which books get written.
PLEASE NOTE: Letters of Note is in production so your name can not be listed in the back of the book. However, you can pre-order a copy of the special Unbound Limited edition that will not be available in the shops.
All subscribers should have received an email this afternoon from Shaun explaining that we're not going to have a book in time for Christmas. Permissions have proved incredibly time consuming and despite heroic efforts in recent weeks, we haven't yet got enough yet to produce the book you all deserve. It is a postponement not a cancellation, as Shaun makes plain on the Letters of Note site. The revised release date will be Summer 2013. It is going to be a beautiful book - do visit the Shed to see a selection of the fantastic letters where we already have permission. Thank you for your patience and support.
Why a book?
As the pitch video explains, this book project has grown out of a website: www.lettersofnote.com, an edited collection of letters, telegrams and memos which are worthy of a wider circulation. People really seem to like the site, but there are some things a screen just can’t do. To me, letters are small artworks and this book will be catalogue of beautiful, meaningful objects.
A large coffee-table volume with 150 letters, many of them reproduced in facsimile with an introduction by me and a transcript of the text. Unbound’s plan is to produce a physical object of great loveliness: cloth bound, using thick, uncoated paper: something that gives you the experience of holding and reading the actual letters themselves. As well as being a good read, it will make a lovely gift. It’s being printed in Germany where they understand these things.
What’s in it?
Many of the letters will have appeared on the site but I'm holding some of the best back. The main thing is that it will be an eclectic mix of the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up our lives. Here’s a random selection of what I hope you’ll find inside:
Where does my money go?
This is going to take me eight months of work obtaining permissions, and agreement from all the parties included in the correspondence, as well as laying out the book and designing it so it works for the reader. That’s hundreds of hours hunched in front of my screen, most of it spent writing (you guessed it) polite letters.
The success of the site has meant I’ve had many publishers approaching me to publish a book, but the Unbound idea seems best for me. Let the people who like the site help me make the book. There will be plenty of chance for me to share progress and ask for advice as it goes along. We aim to publish in a year’s time.
In November of 1905, an enraged Mark Twain sent this superb letter to J. H. Todd, a patent medicine salesman who had just attempted to sell bogus medicine to the author by way of a letter and leaflet delivered to his home. According to the literature Twain received (p1,p2,p3,p4), the 'medicine' in question - The Elixir of Life - could cure such ailments as meningitis (which had previously killed Twain's daughter in 1896) and diphtheria (which had also killed his 19-month-old son). Twain, himself of ill-health at the time and very recently widowed after his wife suffered heart failure, was understandably furious and dictated the following letter to his secretary, which he then signed.
I’m Shaun Usher, a 33-year-old writer who runs Letters of Note. My chosen career as a curator of correspondence is particularly interesting given that I regularly receive — and more often than not don’t reply to — abuse from exasperated friends due to my apparent inability to return their calls, emails, and, on very rare occasions, letters. I have promised to get back to them as soon as I have a spare minute.
I live in Manchester with my fiancée, Karina, and our son, Billy.
By Shaun Usher
This book has reached its target, but you can still pledge at the levels available below.
All levels include the e-book and immediate access to the author's shed. Supporters of books that don't reach their target receive a FULL refund.
LETTERHEAD & PARTY
All the above plus 2 tickets to the launch party and a limited edition notepad, with each sheet featuring the letterheads of famous people
All the above plus a limited de-luxe bound edition with linen slipcase containing facsimile reproductions of four letters (only 20 available)