The Black Vampyre republished


How I came to publish a book in six days . . .  

The apathy of this time wrought so much upon me that I broke off the course of my slow-publishing processes . . .  and leaped into action to publish a book all-of-a-sudden. It was a much needed change of pace. I seemed to burst out from the disorder of world-depression, the tiredness that we are all feeling, now late into the year of 2020; and I vowed to do something new that I had never seen achieved - - the speedy publication of a new volume.

By heavens it was bravely done.

It is Tuesday today, the 27th October 2020, and I am publishing The Black Vampyre; A Legend of St. Domingo, written by Uriah Derick D'Arcy . . . this Saturday; Halloween 2020.

Seven days ago, I had not even heard of this book!

Let me explain.

It was always my intention that the Gothic World Literature Editions imprint we have commenced would reprint some Gothic classics, especially those I am drawn to from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

With some time on my hands, last week, on Wednesday, I began to look for texts that were new to me, particularly those from the 1800s, and 1810s. It is a period of intense interest and it's rich in the Gothic.

And that was when I came across The Black Vampyre.

By Thursday I had established that this novella had not been in print since 1842, and before that, in two editions in the year of its creation, 1819.

By Friday I had read it and resolved to publish it myself. On Saturday, I wrote to my colleague to see if she would help prepare a digital text - - there was not one in fact available, not on Project Gutenberg curiously, nor any in many of the free libraries there are online. Although, truthfully, these libraries only generate the illusion of literary plenty - - the majority of them, if not all of them, rely on good old Gutenberg.

I began to wonder then if I could in fact republish this text in time for Halloween? That would mean creating a cover, a typeset typesecript, and all the other necessaries - - by Wednesday really. If I were to get this book to the great bookseller in the cloud - - Amazon - - it would have to be ready by then, as they have a 72 hour waiting period, during which they doubtless check prospective texts for problematics of all kinds.

Better still, the text of The Black Vampyre ships with virtually no social problematics, as I see it. The Black Vampyre is not only most definitively anti-slavery, it is also explicitly anti-capitalist. It is also not a racist text, not by the standards of its day, and not especially by the standards of ours. As a liberal, emancipatory work of history, The Black Vampyre  - - while a comedy at heart - - is fascinating and in my view, also important.

On Saturday, I thought of cover design, and made a few sallies at promotional script.

On Sunday morning, I received from my colleague a presentable text. It arrived with the words:


Herein find a Vampyre Black -
I'm very glad to see his back.


This was doubtless because of the 150 + footnotes which she was required to painfully remove from the published text on the Internet!

On Sunday morning at 9am, now with my script ready and with my chosen backdrop being Terry Gilliam's film TWELVE MONKEYS - - I wrote a 3,000 word introduction to the text of The Black Vampyre.

I sometimes used to wonder, a long time ago, when I was at university in Aberdeen - - "What on earth is the life-skill I am learning, writing these 3,000 word essays that I keep needing to write?"

Now, having left unguided youth, I am at liberety to provide an answer: the skill I learned in writing those 3,000 word essays . . . was the skill of writing 3,000 word essays.

Admittedly, not all of us have to do that, though in my job, I sometimes have to.

On Sunday evening I made a roughshod attempt at typsetting the novella, along with my introduction, and its various other parts. Finding myself still shy of 100 pages, and wanting to make my book over 100 pages, I included the Wikipedia entry on The Black Vampyre in my book. I hope this is legal. The free encyclopedia entry is very good work, and will help readers.

The reason I needed to quickly typeset the work, was to see how many pages it was going to have. Knowing how many pages the book would have meant that I could then calculate the crucial figure - - the spine width.

Knowing the spine width of the paperback meant that on Sunday night before I parted for bed, I could commission the cover.

Which I did. I used this as a draft sketch to the designer, whom I know will take three days - - Wednesday!


The Black Vampyre


On Monday, while it pelted with rain outside, I typset the book.

Back-breaking . . . simply because of the many desk hours. Italics . . . olde wordes . . . margins  . . . the works.

On Tuesday, which is today, I finished the typsestting and proofing, and editing and everything else connected with the painful process of producing a print-ready PDF. And I was done by 2pm.

After 2PM, I wrote some press blurb, and announced on Facebook that I was publishing the book.

It is the fastest work I have ever personally seen in publishing. And to think . . . not even seven days ago, and I had never even heard of this title. 

The remaining work - - and there is plenty - - will have to wait until tomorrow.


 Peter Burnett