Easy like Saturday morning

For me, Saturday morn­ing means Guardian Review, writ­ing my blog, and catch­ing up with my work on AllExperts.com. In today’s blog, I’d like to con­cen­trate on the last of these.

The act of read­ing reviews is addict­ive. In part, I want to see which writers are set­ting the world alight. But I also take a good look at the pub­lish­ers of those lauded books, and if ever I see a small press — which is sel­dom — anoth­er part of me (prob­ably my hand; apo­lo­gies for this awful sen­tence) punches the air.

This morn­ing, there is yet more cause for cheer. Nicholas Clee (whose edit­or­i­al is pub­lished in both the Guardian Review and the Bookseller; read it — his last — in full) has this to say about small presses versus that Goliath, Waterstone’s:

Waterstone’s has brought the first print­ing of the paper­back edi­tion [of a her­al­ded, small-press book], out at the end of this month, to put into one of its three-for-two pro­mo­tions. In anoth­er sign that Waterstones’s is tak­ing this area of the mar­ket ser­i­ously, the chain has giv­en a mem­ber of its head office staff the role of liais­ing with small pub­lish­ers and self-pub­lished authors.

This is great news. The cooper­a­tion of Waterstone’s (owned by W H Smith) is cru­cial in get­ting a book noticed. Too often, authors pub­lished by a small press are lim­ited in their out­reach because Waterstones has a rather ‘Who the hell are you?’ atti­tude to small presses. It’s dif­fi­cult to con­demn this atti­tude because, in the long run, it prob­ably makes busi­ness sense for Waterstone’s. They aren’t a char­ity, after all. But it is a frus­trat­ing pos­i­tion for an author in which to find him­self. So news that Waterstone’s wants to make a def­in­ite con­nec­tion with small presses is cheer­ing news indeed.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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