The Book I Didn’t Publish

Plans ruined by red tape and men in black

Joseph Yossarian


A bright yellow book cover titled You don’t know you’re born, the letter O in each word being represented by an object (alarm clock, LP record, circular telephone dial, speedometer and leather football)
The book that never was (My own image)

A Spark of an Idea

In 2012, unemployed and frustrated by the lack of jobs that were available, I hatched an idea to produce a self-published book. This would be my fourth such publication, and the first that was not football related. One of my books became a regional best-seller, so with that and the experience of the other two ventures, I was good to go.

The title of the book was You Don’t Know You’re Born, and its concept was simple. On the left side (verso) of the eight-by-eight centimetre pages there was a speech bubble that contained a gripe that might be voiced by a young person about some aspect of modern living. The page on the right (recto), under the heading You Don’t Know You’re Born, offered an insight into how lucky that young person is not to be facing a similar problem from an age when things weren’t quite so advanced.

For example, one speech bubble said “I can’t find the TV remote,” while the text opposite waxed lyrical about the good old days before remote controlled television, when the viewer had to rise from his or her seat and walk across to the TV set every single time they wanted to switch channels or adjust the volume, as that’s where the controls were. Every time. The text on each page ended in an italicised ‘closing thought’, which, in the case of the above was,

Believe me, channel-hopping was a minority pastime in those days.

Prototype page sample of the original square book (My own image)

My Project Gets Off the Ground

I put my plan to an adviser at my local jobcentre, and I was placed on a scheme designed to give a helping hand to those intent on starting their own businesses. I put together a business plan, was allocated a business adviser, and the project got up and running.

As I progressed with the writing, cover design, and company logo, I hit a major snag. I couldn’t find a printer that was able to produce an eight centimetre square book, which had been the size of my previous three publications. The closest I could get was an A6 size page, which I reluctantly looked…



Joseph Yossarian

Freelance writer and blogger from the north-east coast of England, specialising in true crime, childhood memories and whatever takes my fancy.