The OTO’s Hymenaeus Beta has published a detailed account of the OTO’s Crowley publishing plans…
We have, as many of you know, issued two large paperback collections of Crowley’s fiction, The Drug and Other Stories, and The Simon Iff Stories and Other Works (Wordsworth Editions, UK). These were done for a nominal royalty fee in order to sound out the depth of the market for Crowley in paperback at a low price-point, and they seemed like good titles for introducing Crowley to a wider audience. The endnotes were a lot of work, and give a preview of some of the new research done for Crowley’s unabridged Confessions. If you haven’t ordered, do—they’re very reasonable (Simon Iff is currently (April 2013) $4.50 and The Drug is $7.19 with free shipping worldwide from www.bookdepository.com). And very readable, too. They are not at all what you might find floating on the internet—these have been carefully proofed and corrected, and draw on all available archival sources.
I have only just emerged from a very deep editorial rabbit-hole that lasted much of the last year, and am pleased to report that all of Crowley’s surviving diaries are now in page proofs—totalling over 6,000 pages as things now stand. This was a necessary exercise in order to develop a consistent editorial standard across the entire series, as we’re about to publish the first new volume of diaries to appear in some fifteen years.
As many of you know, the second volume of his Collected Diaries appeared in 1998 as The Vision and the Voice with Commentary and Other Papers (Equinox IV(2))—we are developing a slightly revised reprint of this. We are in the final stages (indexing—or rather, reindexing!) what will be the third volume in the series (chronologically), The American Diaries (Equinox IV(3)). This will be followed by the first volume, The Early Diaries (Equinox IV(4)), which is in second page proofs. We are optimistic that The American Diaries will go to press around mid-summer.
We have also developed a new edition of The Holy Books of Thelema (Equinox III(9))—currently in final proofs except for the appendices (the joys of typesetting Egyptian hieroglyphs are new to us here). This is a high priority for reissue.
We also have a new edition of The Diary of a Drug-Fiend that includes Crowley’s corrections and final additions, with his notes and a good editorial apparatus, needing only the introduction completed. We have newly-mastered versions of several out of print “backlist” titles—Liber Aleph, Eight Lectures on Yoga, The Law is for All, The Revival of Magick and Little Essays Toward Truth, that are nearly ready to be sent to press. Some of these may be released via print on demand and ebook at a price point that will be affordable to students.
A few months ago Apple revised its specification for its ebook format to allow free online updates for purchased ebooks. This is great, as we were planning to release via Apple as their file format is very secure. This new feature will allow us to improve the ebooks as we find necessary corrections, add material, or even substantially revise ebooks to use newly-supported features in the Apple ebook environment. Ebooks will of course look very different in, say, five or ten years, than they do today. We dislike, in principle, the idea of charging twice for the same book, so this is a welcome feature. It may also permit us to release in ebook before we release a print version (e.g., before the indexing for the print book is completed—an index being less important in an ebook, which behaves very differently and has a built-in search function). It is usually considered bad for business to release in ebook before print, but we’re more interested in saving money for our readers than sticking them for the maximum possible. That said, we’d like to be able to ensure that respectably-printed hardcovers remain available, for the comparative few who want them.
The unabridged Confessions is at an advanced state—it has had final proofs read for everything but the new editorial matter, and was indexed (though it now needs re-indexing). A few years ago I was so far along that at one point I described it as an “in press” title in a bibliographic citation. That proved too optimistic, as it was put on hold to allow the key volumes of diaries to appear first. As the first three volumes of the Collected Diaries cover 1894 through 1919, they span most of Confessions (which ends with a small amount of material for the early 1920s). This approach—releasing the first three volumes of the Collected Diaries—will allow the diaries to be crossreferenced by page in Confessions, making both sets of books much more useful as references.
We may, conditions permitting, begin issuing Confessions this year with volume 1 (this first volume has little parallel material in the diaries), and try to issue further volumes concurrently with the publication of the diaries, i.e., issuing the book volume by volume. Confessions volume 1 is basically complete, and features a great many previously-unseen photographs, and some new (and surprising!) research. The book is set and laid out to match the 1929 Mandrake Press first edition typographically, and will use a binding and paper of similar quality, with a great many full page photographs.
I did make much of my research for Confessions available to Richard Spence, Richard Kaczynski and Tobias Churton for their recent Crowley biographies—this happened at different times, so that their respective books reflect a little of the new Confessions but at different stages. Their own new research is incorporated and gratefully cited in the new Confessions. But the last few years of work on the new Confessions has turned up amazing new material and research.
A slightly technical digression by way of explanation and apology is in order. Confessions, the various volumes in the Collected Diaries series, and many other projects have been delayed by a painfully long and protracted series of technical problems having entirely to do with the software platform used by O.T.O. for book production.
Since 1991, our major books have been done in Adobe Framemaker, a powerful large-document book publishing program—we began using Framemaker with version 2 before it was owned by Adobe. This program made possible the programming of extensive crossreferences and complex indexes characteristic of our bigger books, like Liber ABA (Magick) and The General Principles of Astrology. Years ago now, Adobe decided to kill off Framemaker on the Macintosh, so we moved the projects to Windows, and for a time were able to maintain and further develop the books with that work-around, unsatisfactory as it was (The Drug was produced in Frame under Windows, for example). But stability issues (crashes) increasingly became a problem, so we decided to move everything to the new Adobe book production program InDesign (which was used for Simon Iff). Incomprehensibly, Adobe chose not to provide a migration path for people moving book projects from their old book production program (Framemaker) to their new book production program (InDesign)—at least, they don’t provide one that doesn’t throw away most of your programming. O.T.O. has worked with a third-party provider of a conversion utility that—after about a year of extra programming—eventually succeeded in preserving our original cross-references. Even with this, conversion still requires 50+ hours per book of hand programming to get things working properly. And sadly, all our Framemaker indexes are lost, i.e., not convertible. Well, I did them once, I’ll do them all again—but indexing is unbelievably tedious and time consuming—and contrary to popular belief, it has to be done in your head, knowing the entire book, and not using computer aids (that works for directories, not esoteric books).
There are other books that were nearly completed in Framemaker some years ago but stalled in the press due to the financial pressures occasioned by our legal exertions in the UK. These include Jesus and Other Papers (The Equinox III(2)), The Philosophy of Magick and Mysticism, The Unabridged Commentaries on Liber AL vel Legis, Crowley on Drugs, The Book of Oaths and The Golden Rose. These books need different amounts of further conversion and indexing, and will necessarily have to follow after our near term releases discussed above.
So in short, please excuse the long delay in the appearance of books, and thanks for your patience.
Reproduced with the author’s permission from http://oto.org/news0413.html