The author posts an idea for a book, and how much money she’s going to need to write it. If you’re interested in the idea, you subscribe. You pledge as little as £10 ($16) or as much as £250 ($400).
Once the author has reached her target, she gets to work. Once she has finished, Unbound (which is backed by Faber and Faber) becomes a publishing company. Those who have pledged support get a copy of the book: Those who only pledged the minimum amount get an e-book. A little more gets you a signed, limited-edition hardcover, and the maximum amount gets you a dinner with the author. If the writer doesn’t raise enough money or doesn’t complete the project, you get your money back.
In other words, this is a great game for the famous. I can’t see it working even for a “mid-list” author (that is to say, one who has published many books and received enough critical praise to continue doing so but who has never gathered enough of an audience to make his work consistently profitable). It also makes me nervous in a vaguer way. This is part of a trend, a general push from the culture to make writers start to think and feel like entrepreneurs, to make them conscious at all times of their commercial worth, their numbers.Unbound is here.