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Publishing Means Business

CHAPTER FOUR

Going over to the Other Side

The New Breed of Author–Publishers

SOPHIE MASSON

Introduction

It’s a challenging time in the publishing industry, for authors as much as publishers. Industry changes have greatly impacted creators as much as traditional publishers’ profit margins. But challenges can also bring unexpected possibilities, and one of the most interesting is the rise of the author-directed small press.

This development comes to us against a background of remarkable growth in small press publishing generally. In 2008, Nathan Hollier (commenting on a report on small Australian publishers conducted the previous year by Kate Freeth on behalf of SPUNC) indicated that only 122 publishers had been identified as ‘small and independent’. The report surveyed 46 of these publishers. Eight years later, Jan Zwar’s working paper Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry, which surveyed Australian publishers as part of Macquarie University’s three-year study of the Australian book industry, included statistics from Thorpe-Bowker. These statistics showed that 251 Australian publishers had released between 6–20 titles in 2014—figures which could be taken to indicate the approximate number of small publishers currently in operation. Add to this figure some of the 1,156 publishers who released 2–5 books in that year and the figure is substantially higher.

The jump in numbers emphasises both the speed of change in the industry and the lowering of entry barriers, both financial and technological, to starting a publishing company. It’s not just numbers, though; the literary reputation of small presses has grown exponentially in recent years, to such an extent that, in a recent article in the Australian Humanities Review, Emmett Stinson (2016) proposed that ‘a fundamental shift has occurred in the mediation of literary production, which is now principally undertaken by small and independent publishers’.

Within this flourishing of small press is a growing phenomenon: that of authors who, not being content just to write books, also start their own small publishing companies. And it’s not just aspiring authors doing this, but also established authors with long careers. Perhaps initially driven by frustration at being rejected by conventional publishers, these author-directed start-ups soon expand into something well beyond self-publishing, taking on other authors’ and illustrators’ works and building reputations as small, independent publishing companies, such as Paul Collins’ Ford Street, producing high-quality books. Self-publishing has received scholarly attention: research from Macquarie University indicates that over one quarter of Australian authors surveyed had self-published a book (Longden, Zwar and Throsby 2015). But growth in contemporary author-led small presses has not attracted equivalent attention. And yet it brings up some interesting questions: what effect does ‘going over to the other side’ have on author-publishers’ experience of the industry? How does it affect their writing career and self-image? How do they negotiate the social spaces and traditionally binary intersections of creativity and production, business and art?

Author-Led Publishing: A Short History

The author-directed small press is not a completely new phenomenon. The most famous classic example is The Hogarth Press— Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s publishing enterprise, which, from 1917 to 1941, when it was absorbed into Chatto and Windus, published over 500 books and launched the careers of writers such as T.S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, Vita Sackville-West, Robert Graves, E.M. Forster, and many others. It also helped to bring non-anglophone literature to English-speaking readers, with Virginia Woolf herself translating Dostoyevsky, for instance. The Press’s success also gave Virginia Woolf a new publishing outlet and the freedom to write exactly on her terms. One of the interesting things about looking back at the Hogarth Press is that, as pointed out in John H. Willis’s book Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: The Hogarth Press, 1917–41, it was founded at a tumultuous time in the publishing industry, when a decline in readers and rising production costs forced the contraction of publishing lists. Of course, the Woolfs had the independent means to support their printing, which was a costly enterprise and a labour-intensive process at the time. They knew of many talented writers who were not getting the breaks they deserved, and founded the Press in part to provide opportunities, much as many small presses (whether author-directed or not) are doing today.

Jump forward 70 years to 1987, when Australian poet Michael Sharkey, writing in Meanjin, recounted the story of two small presses he, his wife, artist Winifred Belmont, and another poet friend Tony Bennett founded in 1979. From Sharkey’s narration another story emerges, one of the difficulty of running a small press under great financial constraints. Fat Possum Press, founded by Sharkey and Belmont, and Kardoorair Press, founded by Bennett, both operated from a regional base in northern NSW; both focused on poetry, a literary field in which small-press publishing has been perhaps most active in Australia until recent times. Because of the perceived commercial unsustainability of poetry, it has long been accepted by poets that small press is important to poetry’s ability to reach an audience. However, even then, financial considerations loom. As Sharkey (1987) ruefully observes:

Winifred Belmont and I ploughed our own cash into Fat Possum Press, which we wound up in 1986, while Tony Bennett funded Kardoorair Press through a co-operative membership: Kardoorair continues to operate and produce substantial volumes.

Despite the difficulties, however, Sharkey remained positive about small-press publishing, observing, moreover, that ‘the point isn’t to compete with the mainstream publishers on their own terms.’ (Ibid.)

The Contemporary Scene for Author-Directed Small Presses

Twenty years on from Michael Sharkey’s observations, and 90 years after the founding of the Hogarth Press, the author-publishers interviewed for this chapter are working with similar opportunities and challenges to the earlier situation, yet distinctively different. Capitalisation remains a crucial factor, but the initial cost of setting up a small press has been reduced considerably, in large part due to the opportunities afforded via developments in digital technology not only for ebooks, as is often assumed by commentators from outside the industry, but for print books, too. A diversification in production formats, such as print on demand, ebooks and audio books, has also expanded commercial options for small-press publishers. Access to the marketing and publicity opportunities afforded by the internet, including the creation of professional websites and social media pages, is also an important factor. The ease and ability to work with authors over distances via the transferral of digital files is also a benefit of new technologies. But balanced against these opportunities are some perennial challenges: as Nathan Hollier’s summary of the Freeth Report (mentioned earlier in this chapter) indicates: distribution, marketing, funding and time constraints continue to be key areas of concern for small publishers.

However, for author-publishers running small presses there are additional challenges. An author might start a small press in a flush of enthusiasm and goodwill for other authors who might be struggling, but the questions identified in the introduction remain: what effect does ‘going over to the other side’ have on their experience of the industry, and how it does it affect their writing career and self-image. How they negotiate the social spaces and traditionally binary intersections of creativity and production, business and art is also a major issue. As an author-publisher, balancing my work as an author published by big publishers and my work as a director of the small press I co-founded, Christmas Press, which mainly publishes the work of other authors and illustrators, I have encountered these questions; but I wanted to get a broader view and see how other author-publishers view them.

I interviewed nine Australian author-publishers with one British author-publisher added to the list by way of comparison. Five of the Australian interviewees—Paul Collins of Ford Street, Dianne Bates of About Kids Books, Kathy Creamer of Little Pink Dog Books, Naomi Hunter of Empowering Resources and one other respondent, who chose to remain anonymous, are operating solely within children’s and youth literature; of the other four, Julian Davies, of Finlay Lloyd, publishes literary adult fiction; Raghid Nahhas publishes literary fiction and poetry, in translation; Keith Stevenson, of Coeur de Lion, publishes adult speculative fiction; Anna Solding, of MidnightSun, publishes a list that ranges from adult fiction—both novels and short stories—to young adult novels and children’s picture books. Meanwhile, Mary Hoffmann, of Greystones Press, in the UK, specialises in adult fiction and non-fiction as well as young adult fiction.1

The length of time that their small presses have been operating also varies—from starting in 2006 to launching in 2017: the latter being the case for three of the five children’s publishers. It is interesting to note, incidentally, that children’s publishing is fast becoming a growth area for author-directed small presses. This could be explained by an apparent contraction in publishing in that traditionally stable sector, as indicated by the falling incomes of children’s authors reported in Macquarie University research findings in 2015 (Longden, Throsby, Zwar 2015).

Motivations of Author-Publishers

In an article in Overland, Mark Davis comments that small publishers are frequently motivated by ‘social and cultural values that are pursued irrespective of their ultimate market worth. The wilful altruism of small publishers cuts across the belief, central to economic libertarianism, that people are motivated primarily by rational self-interest.’ (Davis 2008) Author-directed small presses are similarly ‘wilfully altruistic’. Several of the interviewees had prior experience in publishing, including magazines and books, before starting their own small press, but others had no previous experience of ‘the other side’ and had to learn on the job. The fact all were authors, however, clearly informed decisions, particularly in the initial stages. Thus a concern about the narrowing of options for authors in the current publishing climate was a major reason for author-publishers to start their small press:

The scope and tone of the content of picture books has become more and more circumscribed and conservative. There is little or no room any more for the ambiguous, challenging, open-ended, subtle … and there is a horror of ‘quiet’ books. (Anonymous, October 2016)

On our website we say, MidnightSun Publishing has grown out of a disenchantment with the established publishing houses in Australia. We know there are plenty of fabulous manuscripts about unusual topics floating around, but publishing new and unknown writers poses a big risk. MidnightSun is prepared to take that risk. (Solding, May 2016)

I suspect my disappointment with publishers never acknowledging receipt of manuscripts or responding with rejection is a large part of it. I’d like to see publishers go back to being respectful of authors. (Bates, October 2016)

Many of my writer friends were finding it harder and harder to get publishing contracts for novels. I’m talking about really good, long-established, prizewinning writers … Many, many good books never see the light of day. (Hoffmann, October 2016)

I wanted to offer a counter-model, however modest, to commercial publishing. Our aim was to make well-designed paper books while encouraging and supporting the sort of inventive writing that the big presses were too risk averse to back. (Davies, October 2015)

Meanwhile, Naomi Hunter reported that it was her previous publisher going into liquidation that prompted her to start her own company, which republished not only her own book but those of other authors whose works had also been affected:

We learnt about Jedidah Morley, who had written a book called You’re Different, Jemima, which had been illustrated by Karen Erasmus, who illustrated my book, A Secret Safe to Tell. It was to be published by the same publisher, but they went into liquidation just days before it was to be sent to print. We had just connected with an Australian Foster Care agency who had purchased over 500 copies of A Secret Safe to Tell, and we thought we could use the money this generated to help Jed publish You’re Different, Jemima. I had always had a vision of developing Empowering Resources, a banner under which I would publish my books, but very quickly we had launched into publishing other people’s work. (Hunter, October 2016)

For writer and editor Raghid Nahhas, who has published several bilingual translations of Arabic works into English, and Australian works into Arabic, in both book and magazine form, began translating, publishing and marketing his own books as a matter of necessity after the decline of the publishing industry in Beirut, once a centre of the Arab literary world:

Dealing with publishers there would now cost you an arm and a leg. Not only do they want to sell you the number of copies you require, but also they force you to buy some 1000 copies and to forfeit any rights for a period of five years. I wanted to publish my recent Arabic books there (a logical thing to do), but aside from the few who never respond to you, some leading ones were difficult to deal with. I can see now why even some of the greatest of Arab writers opted to self-publish. (Nahhas, October 2015)

Negotiating New Relationships and Spaces

Distribution, finance and time constraints continue to challenge small press generally, and this is no different for author-directed small-press enterprises. Keith Stevenson encapsulated these problems when he observed of a previous publishing venture: ‘We had some critical successes but those didn’t really turn into profitable outcomes. That’s been a challenge for every small press I know and it was a constant struggle.’ Many small publishers would also agree with Anna Solding that one of the biggest challenges is to overcome the perceived prejudice against small press, and get noticed in the mainstream press.

But for many author-publishers, there is another distinctive and particular issue, which I will now discuss. In my book The Adaptable Author: Coping with Change in the Digital Age, I reported on how changing author-publisher relationships meant, amongst other things, an increased willingness of established authors to work with small press. These authors provided favourable comments centring on the much more personal attention they could expect from small publishers, as opposed to larger ones (Masson 2014). But therein lies the paradox for author-publishers: when you have been primarily on the author scene, and have worked mainly as an author presenting work to publishers, how do you respond to work being presented to you, especially by authors you know personally? How do you negotiate this new relationship and new space? It is something that has to be worked out individually, yet also needs an agreed professional framework that may in some cases go beyond contract terms, and in all cases requires a great deal of diplomacy. At Christmas Press, for example, there have been occasional uncomfortable moments when experienced authors have submitted substandard work or work outside the (very clear) parameters of our publishing list; at times there has been an implication that the Press should take on a work, without the usual business considerations. It’s a little dismaying to realise that it’s not only aspiring authors who, as Kathy Creamer observed, ‘do not always read the full criteria for submissions’ (October 2015).

Paul Collins lists ‘finding suitable books, and getting authors and illustrators to promote their own work’ as key challenges, and Dianne Bates observes that despite the apparent plethora of submitted manuscripts, what surprised her was ‘generally how mediocre the writing and storytelling is. But perhaps I’m too fussy. I know that I am seeking quality material.’

As a small author-directed press, it’s imperative to stay totally professional and to avoid being seen by fellow authors as a more indulgent, even easier, outlet than other publishers, and that includes feedback after submission:

We’ve learned not to engage in too much discussion with those who have submitted manuscripts/portfolios that did not meet our criteria; and also discovered that expectations with regards to timing for publication by new writers/illustrators are invariably unrealistic. (Creamer)

However, the challenges of negotiating those new spaces are balanced by stimulating discoveries and pleasures, as is apparent in these observations from interviewees:

I’ve found helping other writers realise their projects as well as possible an intriguing and valuable experience. It has given me a greater perspective on writing, publishing, and bookselling. Perhaps the keenest pleasure has been learning at close quarters how other writers think as they respond to editorial input. (Davies)

I love finding new talent and nurturing writers from the beginning. The pleasures of seeing a project through from manuscript form to the final product, a beautiful and thought-provoking book, clearly outweigh the challenges. The buzz of opening a box from the printer to see a new book for the first time is very special and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that feeling. (Solding)

Pleasures are creating books, working for myself, thereby having very flexible working hours (I work seven days a week, but that’s my choice), the joy of knowing a book is selling really well, or selling overseas rights, taking on books that major publishers have rejected and seeing sales go through the roof! (Collins)

One of the most rewarding of the books we have published with Christmas Press has been Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, which was translated by Stephanie Smee, and launched our new fiction imprint Eagle Books, in 2016. The great adventure novel by Jules Verne, recognised in his native France as his finest work, is a book that was very close to my heart as a young francophone reader and which had a permanent effect on my literary interests and creativity. To be able to publish Stephanie Smee’s sparkling, perfectly-pitched English translation—the first in over 100 years—and bring this great French classic back to the anglophone world, was a deep pleasure which overrode every production challenge we encountered. It could be said that this was our Hogarth Press moment.

Changing Self-Image?

For nearly all the interviewees, continuing to see themselves as an author, while also publishing other authors’ works, was still an important part of their self-image, but it was acknowledged that actually being able to work at their writing could be a struggle:

Working as a publisher2 did, unfortunately, have a negative impact on my career as a children’s illustrator and author, as running the end-to-end production process, with just two people, there wasn’t much time to be innovative, especially with the artwork. Once you have your working model it was too tempting to continue with the same, rather than experiment. (Creamer)

I guess it (publishing) gave me a profile in the local community, which helped when I put my work in front of publishers. But there are probably easier ways of doing that so I wouldn’t really recommend it as an ‘author career path’. And I definitely think of myself as an author first. Another reason for going digital and focusing on short stories is how much time publishing can take up. (Stevenson, October 2015)

It has made me self-conscious about how difficult it is to write something unique and publishable! When I sit down to write a narrative of my own, I feel I have at least a dozen other publishers, directors, sales and marketing people and editors sitting on my head watching every move I make. It has possibly prevented me from exploring my more original and creative side. (Anonymous)

And Anna Solding admitted that:

I don’t think of myself as a writer first and foremost any more. Publishing has taken over my life, but I have let it happen and I love my job passionately so I’m certainly not complaining. I work with interesting people who all love books, so that has to count for something. Last year (2015), I was fortunate enough to be awarded two writers’ retreat residencies, one month in Finland and one month in Perth, which were both fantastic months when I felt like a writer again.

However, for some interviewees, the balance between author and publisher has not been difficult and the two occupations have simply complemented each other and provided unexpected opportunities for the authors’ own works. Raghid Nahhas wrote: ‘I don’t believe it is a question of fitting together or complementing each other. Some people, like me, have varied interests. As such, the struggle is to find time to achieve in every case.’ Meanwhile, Julian Davies revealed that ‘Although this was not my intention in starting the press, Finlay Lloyd has finally provided a means to publish my own books in an inventive, unconstrained way, free from the commercial imperatives of the big presses.’

Similarly, Paul Collins saw no conflict between his work as an author and his work as a publisher:

I don’t think it (being a publisher) has had any negative impact. I can publish my own work if I wish. All modesty aside, my titles are among Ford Street’s best-selling books. Trust Me!, which I edited, is our number one top seller. Wardragon (fourth of the ‘Jelindel’ books) comes in at second. And I still write for other publishers. In 2015 I had six books in the Legends in their Own Lunchbox series (Macmillan) and in 2016, two short-story collections in collaboration with Meredith Costain (Scholastic) and three plays (Pearson), due.

The pleasure of publishing their own works, which had been rejected by big publishers but under their own imprint had gone on to do very well, was cited not only by Julian Davies and Paul Collins, but also by Anna Solding, whose first MidnightSun title was her own novel, The Hum of Concrete, which was shortlisted for several major awards. However, it’s a very fine line to tread, and Paul Collins raised a point that resonates with most author-directors of small presses (as opposed to straight-out self-publishers):

Be careful publishing your own work. If you do, ensure you get it professionally edited. Make it the best you can. And publishing your own books works if they’re selling, but if they’re not, you risk bringing down your brand, and appearing like a vanity press.

I would add that for us at Christmas Press, a director-created- and-owned title (Two Trickster Tales from Russia, where both author and illustrator were in-house) was a very useful way to test the waters in the publishing world because no other creator’s work but our own was at risk. The title’s success gave us the confidence to proceed with a list based on the work of other authors. This was also an advantage cited by Anna Solding, who reported that her novel’s success meant ‘we were off to a promising start and felt that perhaps we could keep doing this.’

Interestingly, as noted earlier, Solding went on to say that, since, she has put her own writing aside to concentrate on the work of other authors.

Straddling both worlds, that of the author and that of the publisher, can be uncomfortable at times, but it can also give some valuable insights:

I think it is easy for creators to be a little bit blind to the broader landscape of their particular field. We tend to think what we have created ourselves is pretty darned excellent, and this is not always a useful position to take. We have to have a broad view, a realistic view of our own creative shortcomings, and be prepared to take a whole lot more hard knocks as publishers than as individual creators. (Anonymous)

Being a publisher gives me a better perspective on the other side of the industry. I knew that “margins were tight” but not that the phrase meant the publisher gets only 44% of the cover price and the writer 10% of that! (Hoffmann)3

There are many different kinds of authors, just as there are many different types of publisher. Both need to have a love of words, but a publisher is about finding good work—regardless of their personal preferences. A publisher also has to respect the voice of the author, not just dive in and rewrite them in a way that sounds right to them. Some authors can do that. Some can’t. (Stevenson)

Learning the Hard Way

When it came to advice for other creators considering setting up their own small press, interviewees cited tips from things they had discovered after making mistakes or missteps. Learning the hard way is very much part of the process of building a sustainable, thriving press, but it is interesting to note that the interviewees were willing, indeed glad, to pass on the benefit of their experience and insights, even if this could help potential competitors. This could be seen as a feature of small press, generally, with its less-corporate structure, and of author-directed small press, in particular. Amongst authors and illustrators, particularly within children’s/young adult literature and genre fiction, including speculative fiction, crime and romance, the sharing of information is not only common but integral to the author-directed small-press scene, and perhaps author-publishers carry that generosity over onto the ‘other side’.

Learning the hard way, through experience, Anna Solding observed that it is about ‘learning to wear many different hats; as editor, publicist, sales director, head of marketing and the one who is ultimately responsible—whether things go fabulously or the complete opposite’.

Her advice suggests that potential author-publishers should do their research and understand the business they are entering into:

Become deeply knowledgeable about the gritty business of publishing. I don’t really think that just being creative is a key criterion for being a publisher. Publishing is mostly about dollars and cents, about design that does or doesn’t work, about the minutiae of typesetting, about chasing up slow creators, about guiding, goading and inspiring creators without offending them, about distributors taking massive margins, about sitting up late blinking at spreadsheets that never add up. (Anonymous)

One side of understanding the ‘gritty business’ was stressed by Mary Hoffmann, who said that at Greystones Press they had initially been so focused just on book quality that they had neglected other matters:

Don’t plan your publications before you have found out how much it is going to cost you to produce each book. Then work out your publicity, marketing and sales strategies and set yourself a period of time within which you must be making a profit.

Paul Collins warned against a common misstep in new author-publisher enterprises:

Don’t print too many copies. I know the more you print the cheaper the unit cost, but if you wind up with 2000 books in storage, it doesn’t matter how little they cost you—you’re still stuck with 2000 books (and hopefully not paying for storage!)

Julian Davies recommended ‘having a broad and perceptive curiosity about all aspects of writing, typography, design and book production. I can’t stress that enough. Small publishers should be self-critical and nimble enough to reinvent what they do imaginatively.’

Keith Stevenson felt that informed preparation well before setting up an enterprise was key: ‘Start by volunteering with another small press so you can learn the ropes and get to know the pitfalls. Then decide if it’s really what you want to do.’

Pre-launch preparation was also foremost in Dianne Bates’s advice: ‘Like any new venture, you need to do your homework: for example, check out printers, designers, distributors, book clubs and library suppliers before you take the first step. Having some capital behind you is also a must!’

Naomi Hunter stressed having a clear vision for your press and working with people who share it: ‘Keep the vision in mind and don’t stray from that. With all of that in mind, don’t be afraid to take risks. Make them smart, calculated risks and then go for it. Don’t let little failures hold you back and keep striving.’

And finally, Raghid Nahhas spoke of considering himself, as translator and publisher, ‘a trustee of other people’s work’ with all that implied for a publishing enterprise, while Kathy Creamer reminded author-publishers to ‘ensure that it remains fun and enjoyable and does not become over burdening. And make time to be creative!’

Conclusion

The emergence of the author-directed small press within the rapid growth of small-press publishing in the last decade means that more creators are ‘going over to the other side’ and experiencing the publishing business from a new position, largely unfamiliar. From the admittedly small sample of author-publishers surveyed for this chapter, it seems clear that setting up a small press appears risky, but that it is also viewed as an opportunity. This is similar to what other small press participants have reported in other studies such as Freeth’s and Zwar’s, but for author-directed small press the extra challenge of balancing the two roles —author and publisher—impacts positively and negatively on personal, creative work and on relationships within the authorship community and the wider publishing scene. The respondents’ answers to questions identified at the beginning of the chapter, on the effect that ‘going over to the other side’ has on the creative and professional careers of author-publishers, their experience of the industry and ability to maintain the balance between two aspects traditionally seen as binary, present a complex picture of changing roles and relationships within the industry. This can be seen as a source of tension but also a catalyst for innovation, and it will be interesting to see how author-publisher growth will influence future perceptions of authorship and publishing in the small press sector and beyond.

Works Cited

Davis, M 2008, ‘Literature, Small Publishers, and the Market in Culture’, Overland, Autumn, no. 190, pp, 4–11.

Hollier, N 2008, ‘Australian Small and Independent Publishing: The Freeth Report’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 165–174, Viewed May 15 2017, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12109-008-9078-7

Longden, T, Throsby, D & Zwar, J 2015, ‘Book Authors and their Changing Circumstances’, Macquarie University Department of Business and Economics, Viewed September 20 2016, http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/our_departments/Economics/econ_research/reach_network/book_project/authors

Masson, S 2014, The Adaptable Author: Coping with Change in the Digital Age, Keesing Press, Sydney.

Masson, S & David, A 2014, Two Trickster Tales from Russia, Christmas Press, Armidale.

Solding, A 2012, The Hum of Concrete, Midnight Sun, Adelaide.

Stinson, E 2016, Small Publishers and the Emerging Network of Australian Literary Prosumption, Australian Humanities Review, no. 59, Viewed October 10 2016, http://australianhumanitiesreview.org/2016/03/18/small-publishers-and-the-emerging-network-of-australian-literary-prosumption/

Willis, JH 1992, Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: The Hogarth Press, 1917–41, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Zwar, J 2015, ‘Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry: Case Studies of Trade and Education Publishers’, Macquarie University Department of Business and Economics, Viewed May 15 2017, DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.24585.03685


1All interviewees, including the one person who chose to remain anonymous, have given their full consent and permission for their words to be quoted. Interviews were conducted in 2015 and 2016. All interviews were conducted by email. Some were published initially in a series entitled Double Act, published on my writing blog, Feathers of the Firebird, www.firebirdfeathers.com, in October 2015, with one, Anna Solding’s, published in May 2016. The interviews with Mary Hoffmann, Naomi Hunter, Keith Stevenson, and the anonymous respondent were conducted in October 2016, solely for this paper, and were not published in any form in the Double Act blog series.

2Before starting Little Pink Dog Books, which is based in Australia, Kathy Creamer co-owned and operated a publishing enterprise in the UK, Creative Characters Partnership, with her husband and business partner Peter, who is also a director of Little Pink Dog Books.

3The figures Mary Hoffmann quotes form only one individual example of profit margins. In Australia small-press publishers, whose books are handled by third-party distributors, generally get a lower percentage of RRP than that quoted here.

Publishing Means Business

   by Aaron Mannion, Millicent Weber and Katherine Day