1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
We used to publish under our imprint Tattered Flag Press, but we're pretty well taken up with third-party book production work at the moment.
3 What's the story of the company?
We started out in 1995 as a military aviation publisher, the two founders having given up their day jobs. In 2001 a part of the business was sold to Ian Allan Publishing and we functioned as a packaging and production business for several years, working for various publisher clients. But they say all packagers are frustrated publishers, so in 2010 we started Tattered Flag Press, which published history, biography and military history.
More recently we have been engaged in book production work on behalf of specialist publisher clients, such as Crecy Publishing. We focus on high-end, large format and highly illustrated books, usually appealing to specialist markets in which quality content and product is vital. There's often an element of collectability about our books. Essentially we conceptualise and commission authors and illustrators around the world, source imagery, provide full editorial services, design and layout, and take a project right up to print if necessary. We've worked on about 300 such projects to date. We've started working with self-published authors too, and that seems to be a growing side to the business.
4 How's business?
Happily, the production and editorial sides are really busy at the moment. We are also planning to make a return to our own publishing in 2018, moving very carefully into a new area.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
I've known nothing else! But I guess the ability to react quickly to opportunities and to be involved in all aspects of the business.
6 What is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
Perpetual change. Social change, technological change and rapid change in consumer habits. Keeping books relevant and appealing in an age when information is instant—and free.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
In a word: independence. We can move and take decisions quickly and be flexible. We publish from the heart—but it has to be a sensible balance between the heart ruling the head and the head ruling the heart. As a smaller publisher we may not have the big marketing budgets of the major houses, but we take each commission incredibly seriously and try to form a real partnership with authors.
Beyond that, it's a wonderful, varied and immensely satisfying industry. It's generally populated by people who are genuinely passionate about books and what they do. I know comparative issues such as pay are difficult, but in a way publishing is a calling: you do it because you really want to. Stick with it—you'll get a lot out of it.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
A feeling of not being alone! A shop window into what’s happening. And massive credibility when dealing with authors and customers.
Visit the Tattered Flag Press
and Chevron Publishing