1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
Fantasy and science fiction. Most of our titles are Young Adult, but we have a couple of High Fantasy books, and we’ve just published a terrific Middle Grade Fantasy.
3 What's the story of the company?
In a convoluted way it grew out of a period of really deep depression. I was off work, barely able to get out of bed each day, and one of the only things that kept me going was this story building in my head. It kept growing and I started to write. I finished, hired myself an editor and cover designer, then decided to self-publish because I knew a rejection letter would finish me off!
It was a really steep learning curve, but was what I needed. After that, I started reaching out to help other people—not for payment, just to be helpful. I really wanted to do more, and when I became physically disabled I decided I could offer that help best by setting up a small press.
4 How's business?
We’ve grown slowly but consistently since we started a couple of years ago. The summer months are always difficult, but we’re expecting a good run-up to Christmas and the New Year.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
Because of my disability I can’t guarantee being able to work at any given time or day, so it’s perfect for me because I just work the hours I can. I also enjoy being my own boss!
But I also love the freedom I have. The indie movement is big and growing, and I can respond very quickly to the market. I can also make decisions on things like new titles pretty quickly, because there aren’t gatekeepers slowing everything down.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
The move to digital, at least for fiction. When you look at the sales data from Amazon—as opposed to the data from the big publishing houses—ebooks continue to grow significantly year on year. I don’t think most of traditional publishing has caught up to it yet, and it will be interesting to see if the UK follows the US trend; readers here seem to be sticking to their print books a bit more. Whatever happens, the winners will be the ones who can adapt most quickly to changes in reading behaviour.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Talk to people. Go to conferences. Make contacts and use them. Be patient. And leverage what you’re good at.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
It’s hard for me to get to conferences and the like because my pain and energy levels can vary. But I was so grateful to get to go to the Autumn Conference a couple of weeks ago through the generosity of the Book Trade Charity. I got so much out it, and I’m enthused to try and get to more. The IPG also makes connections that as a relative newcomer to the world of publishing are invaluable.