A blast from the past!

About 5 years ago I was approached by a community group who were researching a map created in 1617. The map was a recent discovery in the archives of the London Metropolitan. They were excited by this and wanted to share 400 years of village history from 1617 to 2017 in book form. I immediately said yes and, if I'm being honest, had no idea of the scale of the project I had agreed to!

The people behind the book know their stuff when it comes to history and research. They also have a fantastic, well qualified and experienced cartographer with access to the latest tech and aerial photography. So it's a bit more than your standard village project. But none of them had ever published a book before or written for publishing. 

During the past five years, I've taught them how to blog, helped them set up community events and publicise them in the wider area with thoughtful PR and given them tons of reassurance when the task seemed overwhelming.

A month ago, I took delivery of the first articles which may seem madness in the world of self publishing. Five years to write a book? Crikey! Well no, it was a good year working out who owned what and where it was, and then 3 years condensing down what they knew and delving into archives for photographs and sorting out copyright.

Certain areas have been a challenge. Understanding the flow of a book so that sections act as way-finders from one area to another are important, allowing the design to support but not dominate the content, the murky world of permissions and tone of voice are all areas I have coached. At least two weeks of my time were spent copy editing, a task I forgot I enjoyed because I don't tend to advertise this skill. And I've written two articles. One was based on my research of the 1617 map for the typographic element of my Masters in Graphic Design and Typography. The other is the skill of advertising and printed notices in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. 

First proofs left my Mac last week and you can see what the Balsham Map Project are up to on their website which is here. in the meantime I have to guide the group through first proofs and onwards to thirds, an ebook and a book launch! Phew! 

If you'd like help working out what goes where in a book or understanding the publishing process do get in touch. I'm working on an online course to support people too and welcome your feedback on what you'd like to know and if you'd like to contribute. In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on this project.