Guest Blog Posts

Small Publishing: The Dos and Don’ts – guest blog by Isabelle Kenyon

I started writing this book because when I started publishing anthologies at the end of 2017, there were no books or advice columns out there for new publishers. I contacted every single publisher on the Northern Fiction Alliance page (around 50 UK publishers) and offered to work for free, explaining that I had already taught myself a lot about the business, but now wanted to apply that knowledge to a professional team (in a small press, you do every single part of the publishing process, but ideally, you have the budget to allocate roles and salaries, so I was intrigued to see how this worked.) Unfortunately, only two people replied and they said they didn't have the capacity to take me on.

This frustrated me because I knew I wasn't a hindrance to their day to day activities - I've always worked hard and independently. Instead, I just tried harder to work the legalities of becoming a sole trader, sorting out a distributor, developing relationships with bookshops ect., myself. A lot of those publishers now book tables from me for the Northern Publishers' Fair which I organise!

It's entirely possible to build your own niche within a busy book market. You have to be organised, determined and have a supportive network, who are passionate about the kinds of books you produce - which doesn't have to be in person. My network is predominately amazingly supportive US readers who I communicate with on social media and book bloggers who give so much of their time to reviewing my titles (thank you!!)

With this book, I wanted to help the many who are never given work experience, by talking them through the steps that I have gone down over the past two years. I've also interviewed a series of small publishers in various genres because all publishers run their businesses differently, and I wanted to show those varying models.

There is a lot more to succeeding as a publisher, and as a business, than a good idea. You need to maximise your chances of success. In this book, I take the reader through the process of branding, working with authors, the publishing schedule, marketing and distributing and how I started my business.

Important questions to ask yourself before you launch your press:

What is it about your book or your publishing strategy that encourages customers to choose you? For example, I believe that for Fly on the Wall Press, it's the quality of the books and the diverse range of voices, which we represent.

As a publisher, you need a very clear idea about what your books represent and why your publishing niche is important in the industry.

  • Why do you want to open your own publishing press?
  • What previous work experience will help you to do this?
  • What qualifications or training do you have, which will help you with your business endeavour?
  • Which future training courses do you want to complete in order to develop your business?

Especially on a small press level, you are your own best advocate and if people are interested in your books, it is usually because they are interested in you and what you stand for. To begin selling books, you must be able to sell yourself as a business owner. Have confidence in what you are doing and really define what your press represents.

Small Publishing: The Dos and Don’ts

By Isabelle Kenyon

Release Date: Friday 17th January 2020

  • Start with a good idea
  • Set up your own business  
  • Fill a niche in the publishing industry and turn your hobby into a full-time career.

If you feel passionate that you can fill a niche in the publishing industry, but you haven't managed to get your lucky break so far, this book is for you.

If you have already started running your own online magazine, small press or are publishing your own work in book form professionally, this book is for you.

With interviews from Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd, HVTN Press, Louise Walters Books, Newfound Journal, Ghost City Press, Broken Sleep Books, Mason Jar Press, Queen of Swords, Neon Books and more.

The book is available to pre-order from Fly on the Wall Press here:

Or from Book Depository:

Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts. 

Contact me here if you are interested! 

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