Interesting comments from Louise Walters on Twitter.
My tuppence is that while I have a lot of respect for the big 5 and their imprints but I’m not sure most people realise just how much market share they take up.
It’s a bit like when you realise how many products in the supermarket are ultimately made by the same handful of brands. I do my weekly shop in the supermarket but I try to regularly buy from local & organic shops, wee indie corner stores, an artisan bakery or maybe straight from the farm. And of course not everyone can - whether it’s due to affordability or accessibility. But we can all raise a bit of awareness.
Sometimes folk think that indie publishers maybe don’t offer the same “quality” of writing (erm - but also, have you looked at the range on sale from the big 5’s neatly secured spaces in supermarkets? There’s quite a range of “quality”). The indie publishers aren’t following market predictions, trends & so on. They are championing a few books in a year that have really grabbed them.
Ultimately, Independent publishers can’t afford the same marketing or vast print runs* to push across the whole nation simultaneously but you’ll find that many a publisher, editor, proof reader, typesetter, publicist and writer has a career that straddles both (often many of these to be honest - I’m a writer, publisher and publicist and regularly work across 4 different indies). It is an eco system that needs the big publishers - absolutely- alongside the wee one person publisher with a room full of books and hopeful book sized envelopes waiting for you to buy one of their publications. It’s full of freelancers who work across all sizes of publisher. Right now, paper & printing costs are soaring. Everyone’s costs are of course. So if you’re buying books, why not deliberately & regularly buy one from an independent publisher? It’s £5:99-£20.00 depending on the book for you, but 5 to 15 folk will have worked on it, over a good year of work. If you order through an indie bookshop you’re spreading that goodwill even further. & if you don’t want to buy the books - even ordering through your local library supports all these folk.
Side note: it is a bit more eco friendly to support indies as their speculative print runs are much smaller. Fair enough it means that if you order when they are between print runs you may have to wait 10 days for your book or maybe you’ve caught them when they’re on their annual holiday but you can wait a bit, no? Like in the 90s when we saved our pocket money for a quarterly bookshop visit.
Oh? So who would I recommend checking out? There are loads of great wee indie publishers out there.
Here’s a few:
Of course my beloved Leamington Books cos well I’m on their list.
There’s Stewed Rhubarb Press for poetry with my own self-interested hat on.
Red Squirrel Press
Louise Walters Books
To name but a teeny few - I’ll no doubt edit and add: this is not an exhaustive list, just a starting point & it’s almost midnight so I’ve just noted the first few that come to mind.
And if you really don’t find any books you like - why not just like & follow them on social media, see what they have coming out soon? You may find your next favourite book.
Happy to take suggestions too for more indies to watch.
BUY BOOKS 😊
(Or order from you library & support libraries - also good!)