1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
We publish books for students, lecturers and practitioners in the fields of education and social work.
3 What's the story of the company?
We (Di Page and Julia Morris) founded Critical Publishing in 2012 after taking redundancy from our previous jobs in the same company. We met up in the café of the British Library and hatched a plan to produce books and learning materials for education and social work students and professionals that were fresher and better than what was already around. We believed we could do this by offering a more critical approach—in all the best senses—that helped our readers to think and encouraged them to analyse, evaluate, question and challenge. So our readers achieve better skills, increased awareness and greater success in their chosen professional paths. Our first textbook, Teaching Systematic Synthetic Phonics and Early English
by Jonathan Glazzard and Jane Stokoe, was published in March 2013 and we now have a list of more than 40 titles.
4 How's business?
Business is good. Initially sales were a bit slow as neither of us came from a sales and marketing background, so it took a while for us to find the most effective way to promote our books and gain credibility and a profile within the market. But sales in 2014 were very strong, and we are very optimistic about 2015.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
Being able to publish the books we believe in and the ability to get them out quickly so that we can respond to the needs of our customers. It’s also exciting to be able to shape the business and watch it grow and succeed as a direct result of our actions.
6 What is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
In general it probably has to be the ever-increasing expectation of our readers getting content for free. More specifically in higher education, there is the impact of new technologies on the way students learn.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
There are so many things, including allowing plenty of time for anything that involves IT (it always takes far longer than expected) and keeping a constant eye on cashflow. But for us, things have been very positively influenced by having a great business mentor in place. It’s so valuable to have an objective, external view of things as well as an additional source of knowledge and expertise.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
We’ve found our membership invaluable for the networking opportunities, exposure to new ideas and updates on developments within publishing.
Visit the Critical Publishing website