How The Book Came To Be Published

The editor who commissioned my next book, Elizabeth N., asked if I might record a short video about it, to share at an internal sales meeting.

This post is part of a series, introducing my book Psalms for the City.
Back to Main Psalms Page

In other words, the video was not made for public consumption.

Publishing lunch, from left: Me, Peanut (schnauzer), Elizabeth (editor), Emily (publicity) and Mike (marketing). Picture by my agent, Jaime Marshall

But I’m sharing it (further down this page) because I thought it might be useful to people interested in the behind-the-scenes of book publishing; and / or the making of videos.

A bit of context

The book won’t be out till autumn (I think), and I’m typing this on February 17th. In the months to come, representatives of my publisher, SPCK, will go out to shops, encouraging them to stock the book, preferably several copies, and – better still – place them somewhere prominent.

A tougher job than that sounds, to judge by what I once witnessed at the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones.

I just happened to by browsing near the door that day, when a sales rep from a different publisher came in, carrying a folder full of book covers in plastic sleeves. He propped the folder on a heaped table of books, flipping through at speed, while the shop manager shook his head grimly.

Mostly, it was silent work. There were a couple of exchanges, which went very broadly like this:

Manager: Her last one did well.

Sales Rep: She’s very good. Want that one?

Manager: Yur.


I would hate to do that job, and if by making a short video I can help the sales team feel motivated to mention this book – well, I’m delighted.

But how?


First, I wrote some notes:

  1. Mention that Elizabeth specifically asked me to record this for them.
  2. Show the news story about the book, published last week in The Bookseller
  3. Include sight of some of the art that will go into the book, both onscreen and on bits of paper
  4. Show some movement around London, including church(es)
  5. Be clear that it just happens to be London, could be about any other city
  6. Thank the sales team

I recorded some of these things using Zoom and screen sharing. Then, using iMovie, I popped them into approximately the order I wanted, moving them around a little till I was satisfied that they conveyed the overall “story” I wanted to tell.

Finally, I recorded myself talking to camera (Zoom again), keeping in my mind as a rough guide that sequence of images. I cut the worst bits, stitched it together, and sent it by WeTransfer. Here it is:


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