There’s no denying that everything moves much faster than it used to. When I first started work at BBC Publications, we often had up to 11 months to produce a book (and this was once we had received edited copy). That seems hard to believe now. However, I think my latest collaboration may have broken all records – from conception to delivery in 22 days! This is what happened:
21/11: Local Teddington minister and author, Richard Littledale, spends an afternoon writing a children’s story for Christmas. 23 and 27/11: Richard posts pleas on Twitter to see if anyone will help him publish it.
5/12: James, a talented artist from Durham and an avid follower of Richard’s blog, begins work on 8 full-page illustrations.
7/ 12 Still looking for sponsors, Richard puts out a final plea for anyone local who can offer any help – especially anyone involved publishing. I see the retweet, and respond. 8/12: Richard asks me to ‘look over’ his manuscript before it goes to the printer. To my horror, not only is it in Microsoft Word, it is also set in Times New Roman. My heart sinks. I have a busy day ahead of me and I’m supposed to be going to Liverpool for the weekend. What should I do? I decide to bite the bullet and have a (very) late night. I design specimen pages that afternoon (approved in minutes by Richard) and proceed with formatting the book. That evening, some good news arrives: Haymarket Media Group and Lynhurst Press agree to sponsor the printing costs. Much later, fuelled by caffeine, I receive the final piece of artwork from James: the book is ready for repro.
9/12: ‘The Littlest Star’ goes to the printer.
13/12: Printed copies arrive in Teddington just in time for a reading by the author at our local toy shop.
Those of you who know me well will also know I am a great believer in collaboration, and this tale just goes to show what you can achieve. As Richard says: The sky’s the limit – which is just how it should be for the Littlest Star!
If you have any small children in your family and would like to buy a very early 2012 stockingfiller, you can get a copy of The Littlest Star by phoning Richard on 020 8977 8000. All proceeds go the the Shooting Star Hospice.