I’ve said that the last two printed poetry pamphlets from Calder Wood Press would be the ones I published in December 2015, by Nuala Watt and Lindsay Macgregor. Being decisive was always something I had going for me, and it definitely helped me in my career as a manager and later as director of a national organisation. I very seldom had to second-guess my decisions, and I actually enjoyed the process of decision making. But a couple of my friends who are also publishers have recently asked me if I’m definite about Calder Wood Press. Well, yes I am. Publishing, at least the way I did it, takes up a great deal of time, and it paid me nothing for my time. That was fine though, because I didn’t do it to make money. Some of my titles made small ‘profits’ over costs, which I used to subsidise the costs of others. On paper I came out ahead, but if I’d costed my time, maybe at a nominal £20.00 per hour, it would have amounted to a considerable deficit. In effect, I subsidised publishing from my pension, and that was never going to be sustainable, the way living costs are rising.
But it was the time itself which mounted up. Selection of content, sequencing, design, typesetting, administration, printing, promotion, marketing, social media and all the other overheads ate into my writing time. And I’m a writer first and foremost; not a publisher. I need time for my own writing, and that’s what I’m concentrating on in the immediate future, although I have a couple of other things I want to do now that I have the freedom to do them. My writing has diversified into short stories, and fiction, songs and drama are becoming increasingly interesting. Who knows what else I might move into, in this phase of my life? And although I’m not getting any younger, my energy levels and enthusiasm for writing are not diminishing.
I still have some spare ISBNs, and I’ll maybe do some e-book versions of titles which didn’t sell well in printed form. There are options ahead, but for now I’ll keep them open.