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A Small Press?

February 24, 2015

I suppose I’m running a small press, though I don’t like the word, but it’s better than running an indie press, ‘indie’ is a much abused word. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English “a small independent group not belonging or affiliated to a major company”. Unfortunately, the dictionary uses the specific examples of a pop group, a record label and a film company. Exactly, a publishing company doesn’t feature in this definition.

Anyway, many small presses in order to exist need a subsidy from the state or a charitable foundation. Nothing wrong with that, but I like to be truly independent. Some of the presses are actually not-for-profit. Ah, but I do want to make profit, so that I can not only pay my authors, but have a salary.

I’m running a press with a small number of books which aim to be big. I don’t know what you call that but that’s tough. Besides, I hate filling in forms and having to comply with rules and regulations that are not entirely helpful. There goes my subsidy!

But, surely, small presses are a good thing, they have even conferences about them. Well, in my opinion, don’t talk, but buy. The only thing which really contributes to a small press’s future is buying its books at a decent price. Ah, but there’s the rub. Most book selling outlets only make money for publishers (and authors for that matter) when they sell an awful lot of books. We, small presses, actually don’t need to sell books in such big quantities, the overheads are small, the office is a bedroom or garage, but still we need to sell books.

The ‘big small publisher’s book’ is quite a different beast, it needs a non-existing ‘indie distribution line’. Why, because they are marvellous books, after all a typical ‘small publisher’ is likely to have put in savings, pensions, proceeds of selling off whatever plus the kitchen sink. They believe in the product. The authors deserve no less.

Don’t be a person who says: “I’ve never heard of a single author you publish”. Don’t be “conservative”, join the avant-garde and support these colourful people who champion authors who may well enrich your life too.  By the way, you can start here.

A poetry bestseller