But why would an award-winning author such as Burchill take this route to publication? Have commercial publishing editors entirely taken leave of their senses in their crazy pursuit of Yuletide instant bio, supermarket soft-porn and the celebrity chef TV tie-in?
In a promo video on the Unbound site, she says she wanted to write the book her 'own way'. More to the point, as she revealed in the Telegraph recently, she was put out that publishers had had the gall to demand she submit a sample chapter of 6,000 words. The very idea!
Even more to the point, and In all probability, editors were nervous of the theme. Suddenly the prospect of lucrative wall-to-wall media coverage of the title and its outspoken author paled by the fear of an upset.
How times have changed. Many years ago I couldn't find a publisher for my novel Farce Hole (an 80s-set fashion satire, due to be republished as Vicki Cochrane's Astral Chronicle) despite rave reader reports. Then one day the late Sheridan Morley drew my attention to a new publisher called Citron (now defunct). Even Martis Amis and Fay Weldon were singing its praises. For a nominal fee to cover marketing (I think around £100) this print-on-demand cooperative, with exacting editorial standards, brought out my book. It sold several hundred copies - 25 alone at a Kinky Fiction Night reading at Waterstone's in Oxford Street.
Oh, but the snobbery! I remember the idiotic Jason Cowley, now editor of the New Statesman, sniffing about Citron being a 'vanity publisher' (even though it was nothing of the sort). The Jasons of the day decreed that author talent had to be determined by flaky souls in publishing offices - from whom bookish journalists took their cue, in their anxiety to be seen not in the wrong.
And now look. Famous authors everywhere are finding and funding new ways to sideline the redundant Snipcocks - who gives a fuck about vanity? Why Julie is not self-publishing Unchosen as a Kindle e-book I do not know. And how close is she to publishing Unchosen? She has 61% of the necessary funding as of today - I'm sure she'll soon hit her target. The likes of Private Eye's Francis Wheen, Candida Lycett Green, Barbara Ellen and Paul Burston have made a contribution.
We'll see if Madame Arcati feels so generous.
To watch Julie Burchill's video for Unchosen, click here