1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
Military aviation, primarily around the Second World War, though we are looking to widen the scope.
3 What's the story of the company?
In May 2009 I picked up and replaced the phone three times to call my existing publisher with a book idea. Looking back I guess it was the mid-life crisis phenomenon creeping up on me. I loved the book creation process, and by setting up a publishing company I reasoned I could feed that passion and, possibly, earn a living. I gave up work and published the book myself. It did OK, as did the next couple of books, and we started to build a reputation. It has been difficult but extremely rewarding with some hard lessons along the way, but I have been fortunate to receive excellent advice from certain people in the industry.
4 How's business?
Business is going well. We are publishing six or seven books a year and seem to have established a sound reputation within our niche. Now it is a question of whether to seek to grow further or consolidate for a few years.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
I have a passion for the subject and there is a story I want to tell. I make the decisions. I reap the rewards. I take the hits. There are highs and lows, but it is always exciting and motivating.
6 What is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
For us it is reaching our potential market. Do we invest in reaching people direct, or in persuading the trade to take our books and carry out more generic marketing? The optimum divide for keeping the business profitable seems to be somewhere in the middle, but I am still trying to pin it down.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
When finances allow, bring in specialists to add their particular value. It allows you to focus on what you are good at. Pay your specialists on time. Early on, however, keep a close eye on cash flow!
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
The access to industry knowledge has been very useful. I have already tapped into IPG specialists on matters such as rights contracts. I always come away from conferences with new ideas, and simply meeting people at events is always interesting and stimulating. The members’ passion for books is certainly motivating.
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