From drafting to print, it’s a long haul #buildingpassions

Sometimes I wonder why it takes so much effort to self-publish a book!

I thought the writing part would be hardest, and at times it was a struggle for me. I had to start again with a new structure a few times until I got it right.

Then the editing, design and image search took me longer than expected. This pushed back the original finish deadline from July to end September.

But even the final run in was frustrating at times, including indexing and finalising the e-book version to hit a final publish date of 24 September.

I have been working on the print version in parallel, almost as a separate project, which in fact it is. There are still frustrations with simple things about getting the right page size and numbers, plus ensuring good quality print. And then there’s the launch on 20 November in London …

Would I want to do this again? Not for architectural history! But yes for historical fiction which is my next book due out in 2020 I hope.

Soft launch: T plus four days #buildingpassions

So, I soft launched my book four days ago.

It first went up for preordering as an e-book on . Unfortunately, I couldn’t see how many preorders were made.

Then on Tuesday morning it was open for direct purchase and I can see all sales now. The numbers are still low but I expect them to pick up in due course.

I’ve tried to do a fair bit of social media marketing for the book during this period, in addition to handing out flyers in Central London last week at places I know will have an interest in the structures/people.

My main social media approach has been through this blog, which gets published on Word Press and distributed to my networks through my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. I’ve also texted, Whats App’d and emailed people.

I will get some reviews and other blog posts done by myself or people I know, particularly as I near the hard copy launch on 20 November in London. It would be good to get press/television interest, but I realise there’s a lot of competition out there currently on news

Planning for producing the hard copy continues, including re-indexing the book from scratch using MS Word – the e-book has the advantage of hyperlinks taking the reader straight to relevant sections of the book, as well as connecting people, place, organisations and built structures. Print is more difficult and I just don’t have the time or will power to work it out so neatly!

Brunel, Barry and ‘modern’ Victorian architecture eBook by Nick von Behr – 9781916225701 | Rakuten Kobo

The book cover image above should always be credited as follows: Arpingstone (, size and alignment by Elisa Vernazza,

The e-book is currently available to order at

Did I write too soon? #buildingpassions

In my last post I came across all excited about progress on my forthcoming book ‘Building Passions’.

Did I write too soon?

I did get EPub and mobi (for Kindle) electronic versions of the book this week, but they require some formatting amendments and the contractor is now off on leave for a fortnight! So my deadline for publishing by end September looks compromised currently …

Similarly for the hard copy, the original printers have just conceded (nicely) that I could get a much better price elsewhere, so I’m back to square one. However, I have more time to play with.

On the more positive side, I have now fixed a launch day, time and venue for the hard copy in mid-November.

The launch venue has a strong historical connection with the famous Regency architect Sir John Nash, about whom I write, and it is located a few hundred yards away from other early 19th-century buildings which feature in the book: the Travellers Club; the Reform Club; and Carlton House Terrace, where the Royal Society can be found, and of which Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Charles Barry and Sir John Wolfe Barry were all Fellows.

Excited about seeing my e-book soon #buildingpassions

The book cover image above should always be credited as follows: Arpingstone (, size and alignment by Elisa Vernazza,

I should be receiving an e-book version of ‘Building Passions’ very soon!

This is exciting for me, a first-time author and self-publisher, as it is one of the key end products that I’m after, following months of writing, editing, image chasing, indexing and project managing of editors and designers.

I’ve also started serious conversations with the company that will print the hard copy for me. Both sides are now clearer on expectations and working to a fixed timeline, linked to the book launch in November (I’m just finalising the venue and timing of that).

Once I am absolutely happy with the e-book I will upload it to retailer websites so everyone can access it by the end of September. Keep an eye out for links on the ‘Building Passions’ website.

I’ve also started planning the next book and am awaiting some interesting material all the way from the Hudson Bay Company Archives held in Winnipeg, Canada – they could only airmail it to me as scanning in PDFs was a step too far. It’s not arrived yet after 10 days but I guess I can only be patient and hope the system hasn’t swallowed up the package between there and the UK.

How to find a book launch venue #buildingpassions

So, I’ve been trying to nail down a venue for the official launch of my book ‘Building Passions’ in November.

I have a date/time and I want it to take place in the Westminster part of London. I also have a budget, an idea of numbers and the type of offering.

Fortunately, I have run many events in the past so am pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the process. My most stressful experience was organising a large conference on maths education, pretty much on my own, at a venue the Government officials funding it wouldn’t show me until the start of the event! They claimed this was best security practice for the Secretary of State for Education who was keynote speaking … oh and my wife was having an operation on the same day! It all went well thankfully.

I looked at two possible venues on Wednesday with my assistant, who is my daughter starting her English language and linguistics degree from this month. One was very nice and in a famous national art gallery, but over my budget. The alternative was more affordable but not in so respectable a location, though still pleasant. There are other options on the table.

I already have one sponsor for the event and am looking for others who would like to co-fund it with me. If you are interested please contact me at .

The e-book should be published soon via the usual channels and then I need to focus on finalising the print version in time for November.

A ‘Building Passions’ website now exists #buildingpassions

So, I’ve finally managed to launch a website about my forthcoming book ‘Building Passions’.

It provides a bit of background for those who know nothing about the book. Once it is published electronically and then in hard copy, I will add links to the retailers who will hopefully sell it for me. I’m expecting an e-book will be out soon, but definitely by the end of September.

One thing I am missing is images. As I’ve blogged before this is a tricky area in self-publishing due to image rights. I will try to add in free images and links to ones you would need to pay to use (which I have done for the book!), but of course you will be able to see them all in the book, with appropriate text linked to the story of the Brunels, the Barrys and ‘modern’ Victorian architecture.

I will continue to use this website for blogs about the book and related news, including progress on an English Heritage Blue Plaque for Sir John Wolfe Barry. With luck everything will coincide …

I will also continue to use the #buildingpassions tag to promote the built environment to wider audiences through its history and the individuals involved.