With the 2009 publishing programme now well under way, I’ve started thinking about 2010 (you have to in this business). I’ve already got one definite and one possible, but that’s all so far. I’ve got a piece in the forthcoming issue of Sphinx which describes my business model, so I’m not going to repeat it here, but one feature is that I depend on Calder Wood Press authors to help me with the promotion and sales of their work. Shrinking violets are fine – some of my best friends are S Vs – but when it comes to launches, readings etc, authors who are prepared to be a bit more outgoing sell more. And while money isn’t by any stretch the reason I publish, my financial aim is to break even on all titles within a year of publication. It can’t be otherwise, because my main income is from my pension, and my other income as a freelancer is limited (and unpredictable).
So what I’m saying is that I might stretch my net a bit wider next year, in search of saleable poets with whom I can work, and whose talent I recognise. I’m still not going to accept unsolicited manuscripts – I don’t think I could cope with the deluge that some of my fellow publishers have to deal with – and I prefer to deal with poets I know personally, so from the summer on I’m going to be twisting a few arms – in the nicest possible way of course. I would say I’ll be putting out feelers, but you know how that kind of remark can so easily be misconstrued.
I’ve been reading Chris Hamilton-Emery’s wonderful and hilarious letters at Salt Office Life, purporting to be to and from Albert D Sump, Deputy Poetry Editor at Castell and Castell. Some of the letters uncannily resemble a few that I’ve had accompanying unsolicited manuscripts.
At the moment I’m finalising details for launches of Lillias Scott Forbes’ A Hesitant Opening of Parasols and Irene Brown’s Glass Slippers. Parasols with probably be in the St Andrews branch of Waterstone’s on 6th March, and Irene’s in a shoe shop in Edinburgh on 13th March, but I’m waiting for confirmation of both.