Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Birth of a Publishing Company 3

Today is the day we've been working towards with excitement and also much preparation. You always need to be ready for a birth, and this morning our new publishing company was born. After much discussion between the eager couple a name had been settled on in readiness for the big day and it's Ward Wood Publishing.

Of course the mother and father of this new publishing company aren't a real couple: we're business partners, so the important step we needed to make involved signing a partnership agreement. I was delighted to sign my name under that of Mike Fortune-Wood, who brings years of publishing experience to the new company.

I have long admired Mike's expertise with graphics and web design as well as the production side of publishing. He's also the business manager and particularly easy to work with. The book covers he designs are admired by many, me included. I'll be in charge of all things editorial and dealing with promotion, and we'll both be involved in book launches and events.

The company is new but Mike has experience with Cinnamon Press and I've spent my whole working life in writing and publishing, so we're far from new to the business. The signing of the partnership agreement should have been followed by a champagne celebration - a champagne breakfast at that time of day - but Mike was driving back to Wales and I didn't want to risk losing him straight away! So instead there was a good deal of chatting, laughing, and discussing ideas without alcohol in the London sunshine.

Those of you reading this to find out how to set up a publishing company will want to know how to arrange a partnership agreement and author contracts. We had author contracts which we could modify as we have both worked for publishing companies before, but you can get a model contract from the Society of Authors and tweak it for your own needs. There are partnership agreements available online but most are too complex and would need a lawyer to sort out any amendments. Mike purchased a more simple partnership agreement suitable to our needs.

Soon our website will go live and the first three authors are looking at their contracts as I write this. I'm pleased with the first books we'll be aiming to bring out this autumn and can only let you all guess how it makes me feel to have made this step today. It's the realisation of a long-held dream now that Ward Wood Publishing is born.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Birth of a New Publishing Company 2

I promised to keep you all informed about the stages in setting up a new publishing company, and although things may sound quiet we've been extremely busy behind the scenes. By later this week I'll be able to issue a press release to give details about the company, the co-owners, and some information about the first authors.

The reason it all seems quiet is that so much needs to be done privately to set up a publishing company before the public launch. We've put together a partnership agreement and also an author contract (more about how to do this in future posts in case you're thinking of starting a company yourselves). My business partner has been working hard at designing a logo and building the website offline.

All of this takes time and good collaboration, and I'm pleased to find we work really well together. My partner is in charge of the website, graphics, production and the business side of things. I'll be dealing with the editorial side and promotion, and we'll both be involved in book launches.

So what have I been doing all this time? The first thing I needed to do was approach authors as the first submissions have been by invitation only. The authors have been incredibly discreet, waiting for the public launch so they can tell others that their books have found a home.

I was delighted to find three exceptional books by three strong and original voices which will start our list. As you can imagine I've been reading manuscripts and working with the first authors selected to edit their books where necessary.

This means that when we sign our partnership agreement tomorrow we shall be ready to launch the company with authors already selected. I can't wait to give you all more details and it won't be long now.

In future posts I'll be talking about how I selected the authors, which should be helpful to writers seeking a publisher. Apart from pleasing the editor there are production factors to take into consideration, such as why some publishing houses ask for books of specific lengths.

So watch out for The Birth of a Publishing Company 3 (it's starting to sound like a movie)!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Shuttle and Sampson Support Homeless Charity Anthology

I had two bits of welcome news to make up for the election chaos this week. One is that I have poems in the Seeking Refuge anthology and will be reading them at the launch this week. The other is that my old tutor Andrew Motion got married on Saturday, so all good wishes to him and his wife.

Andrew was a fabulous tutor and one of those rare life-changing people who cross our paths. He gave me belief in myself as a writer and helped me identify the strengths and weaknesses of my own style without trying to change how I wrote.

Penelope Shuttle and Fiona Sampson are two of the well-known poets supporting Seeking Refuge, the latest anthology from the Camden and Lumen Poetry project in aid of the homeless. Each year Ruth O’Callaghan organises regular open mics with all proceeds going to the Cold Weather Shelters, and readers can submit the poems they perform for inclusion in this prestigious anthology.

Jan Fortune-Wood selected the best poems from last year’s open mics and edited Seeking Refuge, which has been published by Cinnamon Press this year. The standard of the poems is high, and the collection also makes poetry accessible, so the anthology is a perfect gift as Jan indicates: ‘This is real poetry with a real purpose – accessible, entertaining, varied and able to make a difference. Seeking Refuge is both a great way to get into poetry and a fantastic way to support an essential charity housing London’s homeless.’

Seeking Refuge is already available from Inpress Books, and as all proceeds go to the Cold Weather Shelters it’s worth getting a copy and a few extra to give as gifts. The launch, on May 9th in the Lumen venue, is sure to be a vibrant and sociable event, with the selected poets reading their Seeking Refuge poem, and copies available for purchase.

Please share this information and review the book on your websites to raise as much as possible for the Cold Weather Shelters. This project supports two worthwhile causes – poetry with the open mics, and the homeless in the shelters. It’s also good fun to come along and read and you can submit poems to be considered for next year’s anthology. Every penny raised at events and with the anthology goes to the homeless.

You can find the Seeking Refuge anthology on Inpress Books here and you can see more about it and also find how to take part in the open mics if you look at the Camden and Lumen website here Hope to meet some of your there.
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