“The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories” coms out in November of this year, according to this page on the Palgrave Macmillan site (Amazon. It will cost you the princely sum of £60, which is a lot of money, really (and I’ll get about £1.50 in royalties, so it’s not the best “get rich quick” scheme I’ve ever had).
However, this post is not really about “The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories”. Rather, I’m thinking about book two.
“Conspiracy Theories of Aotearoa” (provisional title) is my next planned book: here in the Land of the Long White Cloud/the Shaky Isles we have a crop of distinct conspiracy theories which needs cataloguing and reviewing/critiquing. New Zealanders like to think we punch above our weight. From inventions (Britten), science (Rutherford) to sport (Lomu), we like to think that even though we are a small nation, we still do good. It’s not surprising, then, that we can go toe-to-toe with pretty much any nation when it comes to conspiracy theories. From tales of airships over our skies at the end of the 19th Century, hidden tunnels under North Head, the claim the Celts got to Aotearoa before the Māori, our own troop of 9//1 Truthers, the work of Nicky Hagar, claims that the KGB controlled the 4th Labour Government, the circumstances of Norm Kirk’s death, tales of All Blacks being poisoned in South Africa, the theories of Ian Wishart, the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, claims Lord Lucan lives in Lyttleton, the existence of Mind control towers in Hamilton, the police version of what happened in the Operation 8 raids, rumours that lesbians controlled the previous Labour Government, the local Anti-Fluoride leagues, the real reason why DOC uses 1080, DDT contamination in the Taranaki, anit-vaxers, John Ansell’s “Treatygate” and, of course, claims that chemtrails criss-cross our skies, it’s fair to say that Aotearoa is awash with conspiracy theories.
So, who to approach in re publishing this proposed second book, I keep asking myself. I’m somewhat loath to go the way of self-publishing, because there’s:
a) a lot of self-published books on conspiracy theories, and they are, for the most part, keen but flawed analyses and
b) there is a certain cache to being with a reputable publisher (even though the legion of conspiracy theorists who think I’m against them will claim that this just proves I’m in on the conspiracy).
Yet, self-publishing has many benefits.
- I would have total control over the book (which also means all copy-editting failures would be my own),
- I could crowdfund the book and thus get myself some kind of advance and
- I could go into paperback immediately and price the book at a point which is likely to sell.
Crowdfunding the the writing of the next book is something I’ve considered, since I’d like to do a fair bit of research. This would require some travelling around the country, and currently I can’t afford to do that. However, crowdfunding typically involves rewards, and the kind of rewards people want from crowdfunding are copies of the book. However, commerical books aren’t cheap and I’m not likely to get a publication contract which lets me give away x numnbers of books to backers: I’d likely be required to buy those copies at the author’s discount and gift them. Even then, that could be problematic, since generally author’s cannot sell copies of their books they procured with a discount: there might be some confusion as to whether fulfilling a pledge counts as a gift or a pre-order.
I’m still very much in the pre-planning stage of the next book: I intend to write a sample chapter before I start shopping the text around and, perhaps, I might rethink the self-publication route. Still, I worry that there are lots of conspiracy theory books out, and self-publication, if you want to keep any veneer of academic respectability, is still pretty much a no-no. Given that I research a field with little academic respectability in the first place, what respectability I have, I really need to keep.