Tag: start-ups

Let frustration be your fuel: 7 lessons for start-ups from Salomé Magazine

Salomé is one of the newest publications to hit the independent press scene. Launched in April this year, Salomé is the literary magazine for emerging female writers, and gives self-identifying women the platform, confidence and experience to get their writing published. Jacquelyn Guderley, the magazine’s founder, shares lessons she’s learned along the way.

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Strength in numbers: Why bringing independent publishers together works

I once worked for a start-up in which, with the grand total of four years under my belt, I was the person with the most publishing experience. Like many others in publishing, I found the challenges of growing a company to be immensely satisfying—but also, at times, a little scary.

Joining the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) helped immensely. I attended its Annual Spring Conference and exhibited on its collective stands at the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs. I met and learned from some experienced publishers, both formally and informally, and our business improved in many different ways.

Caring and sharing

Fast forward some ten years and I now head up the IPG. Our Conferences, stands and membership have grown much bigger; we now have more than 600 members, and our recent Harbottle & Lewis Independent Publishing Report estimated their combined turnover at £1.1bn. But the IPG’s spirit remains the same today as it was all those years ago: friendly, collaborative and generous. Our new members are always struck by the camaraderie of independent publishers and their willingness to share experiences and help one another.

They really value the sense of togetherness. As children’s publisher Big Sunshine Books told us recently, “it’s wonderful to feel part of something bigger.” It is easy to feel isolated as a small publisher, so it is heartening to know that others are grappling with the same issues as you. I left my first IPG Conference armed with a wealth of practical information and a list of people I could turn to for advice. Many of them are good friends today.

Larger publishers can gain just as much as smaller ones from connections, conversations and the chance to look outside their own businesses. Getting together can be especially valuable and reassuring amid challenge and change—as when we organised a meeting a week after last June’s Brexit Referendum to identify the issues arising. And learning from one another can be done virtually as well as face to face. Through the new IPG Skills Hub, we are giving members access to free online training in many areas of publishing, provided by fellow IPG members.

Telling it like it is

One of the best things of all about bringing independent publishers together is the honesty that results. IPG members will talk not just about what has worked well for them, but just as importantly, what has not. It was seen to hilarious effect when a panel of experienced publishers owned up to some of their biggest mistakes at an impromptu session at our 2016 Annual Spring Conference. Setting fire to tables, printers’ sabotages and an unfortunate misspelling of a title called Let’s Count were among the entertaining anecdotes. Just as anyone who organises awards ceremonies will have drawn lessons from this year’s Oscars shambles, so we can all learn from the failures of others, as well as the successes.

Bridget Shine is chief executive of the IPG.


The business of books: Defying classification

Patrick-headshot-jumper_2This week’s guest in The Extraordinary Business Book Club house was Patrick McGinnis, author of The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job (Penguin, 2016). His premise is beautifully simple: add a little entrepreneurship to your work/life balance to enjoy the buzz, meet the interesting people and get the upside when things go well while still keeping the security of the steady job  (although as Patrick discovered in 2008, and as anyone in publishing could have told him, ‘security’ and ‘steady jobs’ are not what they used to be).

From a publishing perspective, there was one thing that really struck me about Patrick’s book: it hits something of a schism in the genre or, as Patrick put it, it’s ‘intra-category’. When someone says ‘business book’, it’s worth finding out whether they’re a manager in a big corporate or an entrepreneur before you assume what they mean by that. When I worked in a big company I read ‘business books’ on leadership, management, building teams and so on. Now I turn to books on mindset, productivity, and how-to guides to the more arcane digital marketing techniques.

(It’s not just in subject matter that books for the two audiences differ: there’s a fundamentally different set of values and assumptions behind them too, which makes straddling them tricky. Patrick noted: ‘In start-up world, failure is considered to be very wonderful and we should talk about it, it’s part of the process. In corporate world… you never lead with failure. That was something that was a learned skill for me.’)

Foyles put the book in the start-up section, guided perhaps by the use of ‘Entrepreneur’ in the title, but the whole point is it’s blending these two business paradigms – corporate and start-up – with no consideration whatsoever for the poor bookseller who has to decide which shelf to put it on.

I’ve noticed more and more handwritten labels in stores and libraries over the last couple of years in an attempt to keep up with the category implosion but they’re fighting a losing battle: 512 new categories will be introduced into the BISAC list this year.

Is it metadata meltdown? Maybe. But it’s also the natural result of an industry in vigorous and disruptive growth: more books, more nuanced categories, more online-centric discovery, more headaches for the poor guy in the bookstore.

future of the bookAlison Jones (@bookstothesky) is a publishing partner for businesses and organizations writing world-changing books. She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers. www.alisonjones.com. 

5 Questions for Miral Sattar from Bibliocrunch [INTERVIEW]

Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Miral Sattar, founder of BiblioCrunch.

Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.

1. What’s your background and how did you get involved in the publishing industry?
I’m an engineer by background, love to write and publish, and also love help other people publish. So, obviously, a natural fit for me would be to combine all three into my own company.

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From small eggs grow mighty IPOs: cracking open the Chegg story

Anna FahertyThis is a guest post from Anna Faherty, an experienced publisher and an award-winning writer and lecturer. Anna teaches on the Kingston University Publishing MA and also works on print and digital projects across the publishing and museum sectors. Her online training courses are used by a wide range of professionals, including global publishers. Follow her on Twitter at @mafunyane.


Textbook rental company Chegg announced last week it was hoping to raise $150m in an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. So what’s the inside track on the company that was most recently valued at $800m?

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