As you may already have heard, I’m planning a new pro-independence project. I’m writing a book covering some of the most important topics in the independence debate, and when the book is ready the plan is to crowdfund to raise the money to get it printed so that it can be distributed to Yes groups and local campaigners, who can then give it away for free to the public. Since my blog’s crowdfunder was so wildly successful, I will be able to devote the time and energy to this project and to treat it as a major part of my job. Please note that I am not currently crowdfunding to get the new book printed. Details of that will only be announced once the book is ready to go. I am aiming to have the new book ready for publication early next year.
This book isn’t intended to duplicate anyone else’s work. Initiatives like The Wee Blue Book or Commonweal’s How to Start a New Country have been proven to be successful. My new book will complement these works, not compete with them. Books may be old fashioned technology, but they are still capable of reaching parts of the population that the internet doesn’t reach. In particular books can reach that hard to reach older demographic who are proving most resistant to the independence message in a way that social media cannot.
One reason for doing a new book is that different writing styles and different kinds of presentation appeal to different people. The more information we get out there, the greater the variety of style and presentation, the better chance we have of covering all the bases and engaging the interest and attention of a larger number of people.
This new book will consist of a series of chapters, each of which will be at least 1000 to 2000 words long, or occasionally more. That gives plenty of scope for giving a decent introduction to a topic concerning Scottish independence for people who may not have previously considered it. And of course the book will be written in the Wee Ginger Dug’s inimitable style. There will be jokes. There will be references to obscure sci-fi, drag queens, and nasal hair. You have been warned.
As well as the book, I’ll also be working on a series of short videos together with The National’s video team. Each video will deal with a chapter in the book and will be made available online for people to share and download. So that will be another way of sharing the information that the book contains.
For the next few months I’ll be concentrating on writing the chapters for the book. I’ve already written several. At the moment, I have approximately 20,000 words collated and ready for editing. There will be at least double that word count by the time I’m finished. Once I’ve got the bones of the book together, I will send each chapter off to a recognised expert in the particular topic it deals with for revision and correction. There may be mistakes that I have made, there may be relevant information that I have forgotten to include, there may be things that I could explain more clearly. It’s important that the information and arguments in the book are as watertight as possible.
What I’d like from readers of this blog just now is ideas for topics to cover. Some very valuable suggestions have already been made. There will be chapters on the NHS, the GERS figures, pensions, anti-English sentiment, the Spanish veto myth, and more besides. I’ve already published some draft chapters on the blog, including one on currency options, another on Scotland’s resources, the border issue, and EU membership. Please note that the versions of these pieces published on the blog will not necessarily be the same as the final version that ends up in the book. Meanwhile all suggestions for other chapters are most welcome.
Although it’s early days yet, it would also be great if someone who has experience in designing and layout for books would be willing to volunteer their services. If so, please do get in touch. It’s important that this look looks attractive, that it will look exactly like a book that you would purchase in a bookshop. A nice looking book is a book that people will be more likely to share. Speaking as the man who has been called Scotland’s best dressed cybernat, I know that presentation makes a difference. Information presented in an attractive and appealing way will make more of an impact and will be better received than the exact same information presented in an unattractive or unappealing manner.
The book will plug into tried and tested distribution networks which have already been developed by independence campaigners. The goal will be to get a significant number of copies out to every independence group in the country. Those copies can then be given away at street stalls or when canvassing door to door. People will take leaflets, but they rarely hang on to them. However people do hang on to books and are far less likely to throw them away. People pass on books that they find interesting or enjoyable to friends and family. The challenge for me is to make this book not just informative, but also an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Originally I had thought about getting this book out when we have a firm date for an independence vote, however I have since changed my mind. The plan now is to have the text of the book ready for the end of this year, and to publish it shortly afterwards. The number of books printed will depend on how much the dedicated fundraiser raises. All the money raised in that fundraiser will go towards printing the book. No one involved with it will be making any profit from it.
The reason for the change of mind is that raising awareness of independence in Scotland is essentially an educational exercise. This is especially true because we live in a Scotland where the vast majority of the traditional media is (to put it kindly) reluctant to give an airing to pro-independence arguments. So the sooner that we can get pro-independence texts out there, the sooner we can start changing minds and engaging in those important discussions and conversations that will lead to bringing about a pro-independence majority.
Another reason is because when we do know when the date is for an independence vote, there will be a rush of activity and initiatives. I think it’s important that we stagger the publication of our efforts, in order to maximise the impact of each. Publishing this book early can help to prepare fertile ground for other pro-independence initiatives nearer to the time of the vote. We don’t know exactly when we’re likely to have another vote on independence, and when we do have that vote it is possible that it will be held at short notice. Or at least on much shorter notice than we had with the 18 month long official campaign leading up to the referendum of 2014. Publishing early gives longer for the message in the book to percolate through. It can take months of rumination for a person to change their minds on an important subject.
None of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement that regular readers have given this blog over the years. You are the people I’m doing this for. Scotland is perhaps closer now to independence than it has been at any time over the past 300 years, but we can’t take it for granted. We all have work to do, and this wee project is a bit of my small part of it.
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