Liberating ideas

Posts by Justin Pollard

Terry Jones

Unbound wouldn’t exist without Terry Jones. Back in 2010 it was just an idea that three authors had been throwing around in a pub. We thought it was a good idea but how could we ever persuade authors to take a chance on us and how would we ever get any publicity even if they did?

The answer rode up, like a mediaeval knight errant. I’d worked for years with Terry before Unbound and, sharing a love of mediaeval history and beer, we’d often meet up in Highgate for a pint and muse. So it was during one of those musing that I mentioned, rather off the cuff, that we’d had this idea for a new type of publishing company. I rather hoped Terry might agree to give us a quote saying it was a neat idea. Instead he offered us our first book.

Terry has always liked breaking the mould. He set up the first micro-brewery in Britain, Penhros, at a time when it looked like real ale was on its last legs. He didn’t make a fortune out of it – I think he made a loss – but he started a trend and now you can find real ale everywhere. He liked the idea of Unbound for similar reasons – a move against the bland, mega-corporation bestseller machines. And so, when I explained the plan, he just impishly said ‘I’ve got a book you can have’.

That book was Evil Machines, a brilliant, funny, charming set of short stories and I can remember how proud I was when we got the manuscript and I could read it to my seven-year-old daughter – the first child to hear the tale! And Terry did so much more than just let us publish his book. He appeared on every TV show and radio spot we could find, talking not about his book so much as Unbound itself. He had dinners, gave readings and signed endless copies, all because he thought this was a idea that deserved to succeed.

And thanks to Terry Unbound has become a success, and I wanted you all to know how important he’s been in that. We still go for beers in Highgate, although they’re not as raucous as they once were, and at Unbound we’re still doing out best to live up to the faith he placed in us.

Shoot – Justin Pollard on making an effective crowdfunding pitch video

Perhaps the most daunting part of setting up any crowd-funding project is planning and shooting the now ubiquitous pitch video. Authors, inventors, entrepreneurs and artist are now required to pitch a compelling, novel and hopefully viral video lasting something under three minutes. This is the sort of work that advertising agencies used to do and which cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Crowd-funders are lucky to have any budget at all so it’s a tall order and it’s why at Unbound we have a dedicated production team to make these.

But there are some simple rules that can help anyone make a compelling film, without having to call in Saatchi and Saatchi.

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