Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Start of a New Publishing Company

In these days of social networks we’re in the habit of saying what we’re doing each day, so it feels especially hard to keep a big secret. Every day my news is that I’m working on a new publishing company due to be launched, reading the submissions, making decisions on which will be the first books to be launched and really enjoying reading the fiction, poetry, short stories and nonfiction sent to me.

But of course I can’t say who the first authors are until we sign the contracts. I shouldn’t even say the company name or who my business partner is until we’ve signed that partnership agreement. It’s all imminent and I’m on all my social networks waiting for the moment when I can reveal all. That moment shouldn’t be too long.

It may seem like an unusual time to start a publishing company, with the recession affecting the business so seriously. There are reasons why I’m doing this now with my partner (I always feel I have to add ‘professional’ to that these days as the word has been given such a different meaning). It has long been my plan to start a publishing company, so when I was approached by a partner with many years of experience and skills I particularly admire I knew it was time to move ahead and do it.

There are other reasons why I would have thought of starting a publishing company now, even if it hadn’t been a plan I’ve been formulating for years. With the recession authors are being left without outlets for poetry and short stories as well as fiction, nonfiction and other forms. Even established authors have lost their publishing companies. This can’t go on.

Authors need to find a publisher and then concentrate on working on their next book knowing that it has a home. They can’t be struggling to find a new publisher when their efforts should be going into writing. The publishers are doing a fantastic job, but we need more outlets as the companies all seem to have long waiting lists of two or even five years.

Of course this means that, as publishers, we need to be able to keep going so that we can offer a secure place. My partner is keeping me to a strict business plan and I know we can go forward and offer this outlet to authors. He also has excellent experience on the production side and his graphics are wonderful. This leaves me free to do what I do best, which includes editing and finding talented authors.

This week I’ve been reading the novel and the poetry collection which should be our first two books, both by authors who have been previously published and whose work I have long admired. I couldn’t put their books down, which is a great sign, and can’t wait to see them launched so that others can enjoy them.

This is the realisation of an important dream for me and fills me with excitement. That thrill is tempered by the need to work on this professionally, to progress with my partner at the type of work we have both done for years. This way authors will have a place for their poetry, short stories, fiction, nonfiction and plays, and readers will be able to get their hands on some excellent books. We aim to publish 10 books in the first year and submissions are mainly by invitation at the moment while we cope with the task of setting it all up.

I’ll be adding blogs about the steps we’re taking as it will be of interest to many of you to hear about the birth of a publishing company in detail.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Camden and Lumen Poetry on Facebook

There’s now a Facebook group for Camden and Lumen Poetry. This has been set up in response to feedback about the website, because people said they liked to be able to keep in touch online between events. This is particularly important for participants who enjoy the project but live all over the UK and beyond, and might not be able to get to London regularly.

The Facebook group will also let other people find out about Camden and Lumen Poetry and all members will be able to invite people from their contacts list. It’s such a worthwhile project to champion poetry and to help the homeless, and this should help spread the word. Of course, you're also welcome to join in with discussions on the Facebook group even if you can't get to Camden and Lumen events so long as it's all poetry or fiction-related.

It’s also possible to leave comments on the Facebook group page, and there’s a discussion forum if you’d like to raise some topics for debate. It doesn’t all have to be serious. Just introducing yourself and putting a link to your website is a great idea. Although many people at the events know each other well, a website link helps newcomers and let’s us all pass an enjoyable time reading each other’s work.

To get to the Facebook group go to the Camden and Lumen website on and click on the link on the left of all pages. Alternatively you can search for Camden and Lumen when you’re on Facebook. Let the conversations begin!
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