Machu He Wrote

IMG_0498He may not be Stephen King, JK Rowling or Dan Brown, nor is he breaking records on the New York Times Best Seller list but Dave Phillips does have a book bearing his name on book shelves. Two to be precise.

There was no multimillion pound deal, no pitching or pouring over manuscripts, this was self-publishing using a fantastic service and software from Blurb. They say that everyone has a book in them, with Blurb it couldn’t be easier to make it a reality.

And that reality is ‘The Last Picchu Show’.

Dave Phillips has been a keen blogger on WordPress for several years with his mix of reviews and acute observations. His blog, Writer on the Storm, began predominantly as a travel blog, charting his travels across America.

Peru_2011_424This odyssey was followed was followed by an even greater epic journey, one this time that would take him down the Amazon and into deepest, darkest Peru (marmalade sandwiches optional) and to Machu Picchu.

If adventure has a name then it must be David Phillips. It was this journey that I decided to take and put into print form, to produce it as an actual book.

It sounds like an easy cut and paste job, far from it. By the end of producing this ever so special limited edition book I almost felt that I had been on the actual journey with Dave as well.

IMG_0496I’d had to read each and every word, scour each picture and add ever so minor tweaks and edits to ensure it fit on the pages properly and looked the best it possibly could. I’d immersed myself in the work completely, it taking over whole evenings into early mornings in the race for a Christmas deadline. This was to be the ultimate gift for Christmas.

In many ways it was also the culmination of something that started over 20 years ago as when we were both aged 13 or so we attempted to write our own horror novel together.

Dave’s style drags you into his world of adventure, it’s a very likable prose and his regaling of events is enthusiastic and makes you feel a part of the experience as if it were your very own. It’s one part Michael Palin, one part Dave Gorman, one part Indiana Jones but unmistakably whole part Dave Phillips.

Of course I’d read it before as the adventure originally unfolded over time but I’d never consumed it all in such a short period of time. For me it was the equivalent of devouring a whole DVD series boxset in one weekend.

The original content my not have been my own work but important choices in size, font, which images to use, cover design and back cover blurb were all editorial decisions to be made by me. With great editorial power comes great responsibility, I guess, and for me it was only there to muck up.

I knew (hoped and prayed) Dave would be impressed by the end product but I’d set the bar high and wanted to do the work justice, I wanted to produce something that looked felt and smelt like a book you could buy on Amazon or in Waterstones.

There is the odd silly error (on my part) that I’ve noted but considering I was acting as a twilight one man publishing machine, with a helping hand from the Blurb design system, I think the book is something of a mini-triumph.

I was so impressed with how it looked online that I went and ordered myself a copy, there still isn’t anything much greater than seeing something you have helped create and nurture in physical print. Something that you can hold, touch and flick through. I knew all about it and I was still blown away by how good it looked.

peru backI think it is safe to say that Dave was rather taken aback with how good it looked, you’d swear some of his pics were library pictures, and read as well, it never fails to amaze me when you read back your own work and think, ‘how did I even think of that?’ After all, Dave hadn’t read much of his blog entries from that time since he had originally posted them.

It was great to hear that even after having it a while he was reading his own book on the train to York. With my copy there are currently only two copies of the book in existence. I’d love to see everyone on that train to York reading it.

That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds as with Blurb the more books you self publish the lower the price, there are a whole host of other print on demand possibilities as well. Bottom line is we can take another pass at it and republish it better, faster, stronger. Who knows Dave could go from sailing up the Amazon to selling his books on it.

Now…how do I top that this Christmas?

peru-2011-763[2]Of course technically if his travels to the US get the book treatment that would be a prequel, so continuing the loose Indiana Jones thread that would make it his Temple of Doom (minus chilled monkey brains – although there was a Guinea Pig – and Short Round). Does that mean any third travel adventure would have to be with his dad?

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