Shaking off the Bad Habits…
So it’s a new year. Time to shake off the bad habits i.e. ordering staff, family, friends to buy books to help them up the bestseller list ala Charles Saatchi – very, very allegedly by the way. (Although at least the purchases were said to be split between book stores and Amazon so the internet giant didn’t clean up again – allegedly once more, you can’t be too careful). And of course make a few well appointed resolutions whether personal or business. For the sake of discussion, not to mention getting away from the embarrassment of listing some tedious personal resolutions, I’d like to stick my head above the parapet to offer a couple of resolutions on behalf of the publishing industry in general. Those being – greater efficiency and an increased amount of innovation.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that the publishing industry is wholly inefficient or scared of innovation because undoubtedly it’s not. But, and there was always going to be an inevitable but, to the same effect there are still some within our industry who seem to view efficiency as a cold and cruel mistress and innovation as monster who could endanger their ‘comfortable’ position.
Change and efficiency should not be feared or ignored. Instead it should be a constant process and integrated as core business principles. Borrowing a horrendous business jargon cliché we all have to ‘think outside the box’ when looking ahead. Do we really need to take months to make a decision on something that might be new and maybe even unproven? Yes we need to carefully evaluate new and existing affiliations and partnerships. Yes we have to monitor costs. And yes we need to have a short, medium and long-term strategy in mind. But does this mean we can’t be flexible or take the odd risk in order to take full advantage of opportunities as and when they arise? The word we’re looking for here is NO. And climbing further up my soapbox whilst relationships are vital, there is no reason for the publishing industry to be the closed shop that it sometimes is. We need to engage more diverse skills to push the industry forward.
This isn’t a tirade against the industry, quite the opposite. As a sector filled with passion, mine included, my wish for the year ahead is that we build on the heady mix of passion, integrity and expertise by not only looking at new ways to do things but also striving to do the many good things we already do, even better.
So, I’ve shown you mine now you show me yours, what are your hopes, resolutions and wishes for the industry in 2014?
Tom Chalmers set-up Legend Press in 2005, a book publisher focused predominantly on mainstream literary and commercial fiction, as well as publishing a small number of non-fiction titles. Chalmers has been shortlisted for UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Young Publisher of the Year, UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, and longlisted for the Enterprising Young Brit Awards.
In 2008, Chalmers acquired a further publishing company, Paperbooks Publishing, run from the same office, and at the start of 2010 launched Legend Business, a business book imprint. Legend Press has also launched successful self-publishing and writer workshops ventures, now separate companies New Generation Publishing and Write-Connections respectively. In 2011, Legend Press was shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year.
In 2012, he launched new venture IPR License, the first global and digital a platform on which to list and license literary rights. Chalmers also speaks regularly on publishing and business and is an Enterprise Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.