SPP author Paul Watkins describes his publishing process…

Paul Walker describes his publishing process with SPP for his book From Hell Island to Hay Fever, The Life of Dr Bill Frankland.

This was my second biography and so, to an extent, I had some knowledge of the process of turning a manuscript into a completed publication. Please do not get me wrong; I was very fortunate to be offered a contract by a well-known publisher for my first book, but this one was going to be rather different. 

I wanted more control over the final copy and after my initial meetings with Douglas Walker of SPP it struck me that he, and his colleagues, would offer this. My questions about, often detailed matters on layout etc. were turned back to me ‘how would I like it to be laid out,’ which I found most engaging. Working with SPP had all the hallmarks of the author controlling the process. 

There were several other reasons for SPP, the ability to have colour, throughout if required, was one, especially as I had been provided with so many wonderful colour pictures by Bill. Added to that, it was real bonus to be able to decide where the pictures went in the text, no need for the ‘sandwich filling’ of photographs which we so often see in books. A further critical feature of SPP was their ability to turn manuscript into finished book in a really short period of time, very important as Bill is now 106. So, the final manuscript was submitted on 8 July and over the following weeks the team at SPP worked very hard and professionally to produce the final proof in just over 2 months. A big thank you to Heather, the managing editor.

Hence, having submitted on 8 July, I took receipt of the book on 10 October, so three months in all. But to me the best was yet to come, on 14 October I was able to give a copy of the book to Dr Bill Frankland. I am quite sure that if I had gone along the ‘conventional route’ we would not have been able to do that.

From Hell Island to Hay Fever is out now. 

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