‘You are invited to a book launch,’ said the message on Facebook. I was looking forward to canapés and prosecco in some swanky Bloomsbury office, when the penny dropped; this was an online party with the publisher and author on hand for live chat. Unperturbed, I put on a clean sweatshirt, opened a can of cider, opened a pack of falafels and jar of olives and logged on.
The Multiverse of Max Tovey is Alastair Swinnerton’s first novel. As an animation scriptwriter, he is best known for co-creating Lego’s sci-fi toon, Bionicle.
Swinnerton had the preverbal light bulb moment when siting in his living room, wondering who had come in and out of the room over the years – what if Max could see the past around him?
The novel was picked up by European Geeks, a new entrant to publishing. It’s part of a trend that gives authors something between traditional publishing and going solo with crowd funding and self-publishing. US based, it has so far signed authors from the States and the UK. ‘The name, European Geeks, was first used for my blog,’ says founder, Elisha Neubauer, ‘I’m English, my husband’s German and we live on a farm in Florida. We focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy of all age ranges. Last month we launched an imprint for general fiction works called Eleventh Hour Literary Press.’
Most of the books are either print on demand or downloads, but they can do print runs, at any time, for supplies direct to bookshops.
And the future? Neubauer wants to stay niche, but would like to grow. ‘I have this wild dream to open a book shop, filled with our titles... but that's just a hazy dream.’
The party’s over and the lonely can of cider has been drained; at least there’s no waiting for a cab in the rain, I'm already home.