1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
Books for a more creative, peaceful and sustainable world, including storytelling, Steiner / Waldorf education resources, crafts and family activities, early years education, social ecology, conflict, training and translations of bestselling foreign language children’s books.
3 What's the story of the company?
Founded in 1981, Hawthorn published several (surprise!) bestselling creative family crafts and activity books, and then a leading global women development programme called Springboard.
4 How's business?
Both challenging and fascinating. Working with worldwide communities of interest such as creative early years education, storytelling and literacy, women and men’s development and parenting has become more about building communities of interest in an ever more creative world. Also surprises—like many of our education books becoming published in China.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
We can respond readily to questions from readers and booksellers. We have the freedom to co-create with writers and communities of interest—a women’s development pilot in Japan, for example.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
Creative leadership. There are so many copycat books out there. So how do we continue to publish books with a USP that both make a difference in the world and respond to readers’ needs?
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Start with readers’ questions, and ask booksellers you respect about the questions customers ask, so that you can understand needs that aren’t being met. A bookseller once phoned me to suggest a multicultural festivals book—so we published one and sold 20,000 copies on firm sale (those were the days!) to the US, and it went on to sell more than 200,000.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
Information, connections, good meetings, conversations, informative newsletters, a contact point at the London Book Fair and access to great people similarly engaged with good books!