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  • New World Library

    Mon, 07 Sep 2009 08:02

    New World Library creates books, audio programs, and gift products that inspire and challenge us to improve the quality of our lives and our world. Our key publishing categories are Personal Growth, Spirituality, Creativity, Women's Interests, Religion, Sustainable Business, Human-Animal Relationships, Native American Interests, and other areas of emerging importance. We are a socially and environmentally aware company and we strive to embody the ideals presented in our publications.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    New World Library: Spiritual seekers looking to improve the quality of their lives and to make a positive contribution to the world and to those around them.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    New World Library: 1) Creating community with the consumers of our content.

    2) As our core audience steadily ages, we need to create more books and CDs that attract younger people.

    3) We are always challenged to support our authors as much as we can to reach as many people as possible with their messages.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    New World Library: 1) The book has to fit within the parameters of our publishing program and our company's mission.

    2) We have to be passionate about the project.

    3) Much of it is purely intuitive: If any of our editors really love a project, and if our marketing people feel they can do something with it, it's a go.

    The Book Depository: What books are you the most proud of having published?

    New World Library: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

    Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn

    Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter by Shelly Brady

    The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff

    Visionary Business by Marc Allen

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    New World Library: The Wolf at Twilight by Kent Nerburn

    The Animal Manifesto by Marc Bekoff

    The Secrets of Great Marriages by Charlie and Linda Bloom

    Financial Recovery by Karen McCall

  • Alcemi

    Mon, 31 Aug 2009 01:19

    Alcemi believes in publishing success stories, kept on a human-scale. Editor Gwen Davies has deep experience of developing new fiction writers such as Richard Gwyn, Rachel Trezise and Tristan Hughes, who have gone on to make their name worldwide with publishers like Doubleday and Picador, while Alcemi has already had a taste of prize-winning, with Gee Willliams' Salvage being shortlisted for the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, and Fflur Dafydd named as the Oxfam Emerging Writer of the Year at Hay 09, for her novel Twenty Thousand Saints.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Alcemi: Readers of literary and general fiction within the UK. Readers who like voice-driven narratives, a strongly-controlled and consistent narrative viewpoint, lyricism, panache and dark, dry humour.

    The Book Depository: What do you think are the principle challenges/opportunities in publishing at the moment?

    Alcemi: Challenges. Getting the chains to appreciate that fine fiction often comes from the periphery: outside mainstream big London publishing houses. Trying to sell books that aren't endorsed by celebrity.

    Opportunities. Feeling flattered when our new authors get poached by London agents and publishers. Being pleased that despite being tiny, there is still a place within our massive and exemplary English publishing trade for independent publishers, bookshops and unknown authors.

    The Book Depository: How do you decide which particular author to publish?

    Alcemi: I look at a typescript to seek a balanced structure; distinct, controlled and consistent voice; playfulness with genre, without tipping over into genre fiction; warmth; psychological perception; strong settings; originality; authenticity and humour, human values. In an author, I seek sanity, flexibility, patience, trust, respect, an understanding of our respective roles, and a willingness to work hard beyond the publication date. I will probably be influenced by an author's connections, for example with the international festival scene or with journalists. I wish this wasn't the case but we are a very hard-pressed small team.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Alcemi: Fflur Dafydd's Twenty Thousand Saints which just won her the status of Oxfam Hay Emerging Writer of the Year. Hay Festival Director Peter Florence called it "the most compelling novel I have read in years," The Guardian "a wild, exhilarating read." Fflur's character of Sister Viv, the lesbian pretend-nun on Bardsey island who is host to her sect's annual conference of hermits, is not averse to stealing rhubarb, and buried her head in the political sands for twenty years for the sake of her ideals, is the perfect example of a warm protagonist in a multi-narrative novel. Viv drives the suspense because the reader falls in love with her, borrowed habit and all! The novel is a perceptive mystery with a racy plot as well as themes of excavation -- sexual, linguistic and filmic.

    Another multi-narrative novel, but with a much cooler overall voice than Twenty Thousand Saints is Gee Williams' masterly Salvage, which was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2008, and won library readers' Pure Gold Award, as well as being longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Set in Goa, the north-west Wales shoreline and a Chester hospital, it looks at possession, betrayal, violence and what single object we might salvage to save us in a desperate situation. Prof Colin Nicholson, JTB Prize Judge's adjudication was: "A controlled and gifted stylist, Williams is inventive and inspiring in her craft. Salvage masquerades as a murder mystery while exploring the less sunlit aspects of the Welsh shoreline and of the human soul. Dominant and daring in her prose, Williams relishes the act of writing and constructs five distinct characters with genres particular to each, including a wonderful Cosmo send-up for the gorgeous gold-digging nurse as well as a provocative intervention of the author herself. Salvage constantly shifts the literary goalposts from crime to romance to a metafictional crisis while never losing the immediacy of the characters or the suspense of the crime." We are really proud that Granta has just published the mass paperback version of Salvage.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Alcemi: In the pipeline we have strong male first-person viewpoints from Tyneside (Tony Bianchi's Bumping) and the world of eco-terrorism (Jim Bowen's Ashes than Dust); epic historical drama covering the Croatian wars of the Forties and Nineties, with Penny Simpson's usual marvellous emphasis on lush imagery, characterisation and "exotic" settings (The Deer Wedding), a satire on New Age commercialism and the expat business community in Bangkok, Bamboo Grove, by Romy Wood; The Perfect Architect by Jayne Joso, set in the dazzling and eccentric world of international star architects, and Refuge by Lara Clough, a novel set in the Welsh borders, which explores fantasy game obsession; male initiation into manhood and the role of crafts and the countryside in reconciling us to our destructive humanity.

    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: publishers, Alcemi

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  • Kyle Cathie

    Mon, 24 Aug 2009 00:44

    Kyle Cathie was founded in 1990 in Kyle's garage in London. Its aim was to produce the highest quality illustrated non-fiction titles. Now, 18 years on, they are widely acknowledged to be one of the leading publishers in the areas of cookery, health and gardening. Their authors are all experts in their fields and include Darina Allen, Clarissa Dickson Wright, Antony Worrall Thompson, Dr Marilyn Glenville, Richard Bertinet, Jekka McVicar and Bob Flowerdew.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Kyle Cathie: We publish books to suit a variety of tastes and budgets, but overall our books would appeal to fans of good food, those who want to live healthy lives, who enjoy gardening -- and do their bit for the planet. We are not afraid to try something out of the ordinary, and we've been known to publish quirky and humorous books, such as Gnomeland and Campervan Crazy.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Kyle Cathie: Kyle Cathie publishes illustrated non fiction, specialising in cookery, gardening and health. It's a market dominated by celebrities and our challenge is to ensure our books get the recognition (and sales) they deserve -- something that can be hard to achieve if you're up against a TV tie-in.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Kyle Cathie: We look for originality and exciting ideas. Our goal is to find the right author for the right market -- someone who can communicate their expertise in a beautiful and effective fashion. We're a small team and it's vital we're all enthusiastic about every project. We publish books we all believe in and which will be the very best in their field.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Kyle Cathie: We are proud of every book we publish, but some deserve a special mention. 50 Great Curries of India is, we think, the best book on curries ever written. It has sold over one million copies and reprints several times a year. Jekka's Complete Herb Book is the definitive book on herbs, still in print 15 years after publication and Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course deserves a place on every cook's bookshelf.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Kyle Cathie: We're bringing out Liz Earle's Skin Secrets this month, the book Liz's millions of customers have been asking her to write for many years. In it she reveals her secrets to beautiful skin. We have a really exciting list this autumn, including the gorgeous Cupcakes by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas of The Primrose Bakery and Modern Spanish Food by Jose Pizarro of Brindisa fame. Alternatively, from Green Party spokesperson Sian Berry comes Mend It, a perfect book for all those who want to be thrifty and reduce the amount of rubbish they produce. For those who are watching their wallets we're bringing out The Beauty Bible Beauty Steals by Josphine Fairley and Sarah Stacey and Drink Royally on a Budget by Joe Wadsack.

  • O Books

    Mon, 17 Aug 2009 02:50

    O Books started publishing with a handful of titles on world religions in 2004, moved on to MBS, and is now branching out into philosophy, psychology, women's studies, fiction and a number of other areas. They chose "O" partly because it is simple, and they couldn't think of anything else that hadn't been taken: "it's a symbol of the world, of oneness and unity. Giotto used it to indicate perfection. In different cultures it also means the "eye", symbolising knowledge and insight. Those seemed good enough reasons."

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    O Books: People who broadly think of themselves as "alternative", "counter-cultural", "radical", whether that's expressed in beliefs, lifestyle or activism. We engage with people who are seeking to better themselves, or the world, or looking for meaning and reasons for behavior. Who see the current recession/depression as an opportunity to re-order private and public priorities rather than a cause for dismay.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    O Books: The exponential growth in the number of new titles (helped by POD, which we don't use), the scale of returns from shops (helped by EPOS, though thinking more of North America here than the UK), related decline in midlist sales and the corresponding difficulty of doing justice marketing-wise to good books which aren't necessarily going to sell in large numbers. On top of that there's the often-mentioned raft of new delivery formats (digital) and outlets (online etc.), which all adds up to a perfect storm over the next few years.

    But then we see that as our opportunity. The Depression in the 1930s created the current publishing environment ("sale or return" and most of the best known imprints today), and the new one we reckon will end it. So we've abandoned the traditional feudal or adversarial author/agent/publisher model and are creating a more co-operative one, which tries to take the publisher cost out of the author-reader equation as far as possible. All our authors are on the same contract, talk to us and each other on a forum, they all have access to our database of marketing contacts, can see all that happens on every title, can add to it, their books are all available worldwide (over half our new authors live in North America), they will soon see monthly sales figures. We focus on getting to the readers rather than the shops (though we use traditional sales teams). We collectively add a few hundred new media or sales contacts to the database every month, several thousand marketing "activities", and spend 500 hours or so a month on improving the systems behind them.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    O Books: We don't spend time looking for authors, the large majority of our new titles come from existing authors recommending others to come to us, We're not bothered about sales, as such. It's the last consideration, rather than the first. It needs to be a strong book for its market, however large or small that market is. We're looking for the right "voice" for reaching it, a willingness to co-operate in promoting it, the ability to work with databases and systems rather than needing meetings and phone calls. It's not rocket science, and authors either like what we're doing or they don't. Most that approach us do, and if we like the book then contracts are usually signed within a day or two of getting the proposal.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    O Books: My own favourites are the ones with an alternative angle on the big questions, acknowledged classics in their area like Is There An Afterlife? by David Fontana, The Fall by Steve Taylor, Back to the Truth by Dennis Waite or The Science of Oneness by Malcolm Hollick. But the ones that sell strongly are more likely to be in the area of changing your life for the better.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    O Books: It's hard to pick any out, because of the number. With an average of 10 new titles coming out a month this year, scaling up to double that later in 2010, and maybe doubling again in 2011, there are a few hundred in the pipeline. With good reason. Old publishing divides marketing between x number of books and y number of employees, so the fewer you publish the better you can market them. We're the other way around. The more authors we have, the stronger the marketing becomes. It's a virtuous rather than a vicious spiral. If I was to choose one, it would probably be Destination of the Species by Michael Meacher MP, coming in January 2010 (listed on the website), though he breaks most of the rules as far as our authors go - I'm not entirely convinced he's managed to switch on a computer yet.

  • Myriad Editions

    Wed, 29 Jul 2009 08:41

    Myriad Editions was founded in 1993 as the producer of the award-winning State of the World Atlas series. In 2000, the company moved to Brighton and a couple of years later we published an anthology to celebrate the city. The Brighton Book, with its mix of fiction, reportage, photography and graphics, was supposed to be a one-off. In fact, we went on to publish three of the authors included in that book: Martine McDonagh's novel, I Have Waited and You Have Come, Lesley Thomson's crime thriller, A Kind of Vanishing, and Woodrow Phoenix's brilliant graphic road book, Rumble Strip. We then justified publishing two non-fiction books because they shared the political sensibilities of the atlases -- Kate Evans' Funny Weather and Michael Norton's 365 Ways to Change the World and, before we knew it, we had organically grown a completely new strand to Myriad's core publishing activity. Earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to receive an Arts Council England grant which means that we can continue in earnest what we've started -- seeking out and nurturing new writers and showcasing original, home-grown talent.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Myriad Editions: Women are voracious buyers and readers of fiction, with recent studies showing that they account for nearly 60% of book buyers and 65% of all sales. Many more women than men belong to book groups and sign up for creative writing courses, too. We set out to publish new writers and debut novels so it didn't come as a surprise to see that most of the submissions we receive are by women. But while the demographic is clearly mainly female, two of the six novels we will be publishing in 2010 are by men and we certainly hope that men will be reading these as well as those we've already published.

    The Book Depository: What are the principle challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Myriad Editions: One of the biggest challenges we face is to get books into the shops, and to keep them stocked. We're getting excellent support from local bookshops, especially the independents such as City Books in Brighton and Much Ado Books in Alfriston, but the large chains will order single copies only and it's really demoralising for authors to go into a bookshop and not see their books there. On the other hand, there are tremendous opportunities for online marketing, not just through Amazon but by word-of-mouth and blogging. The word spreads faster and further in cyberspace, and we're making the most of it by blogging, tweeting, building a fanbase on Facebook and encouraging all our authors to do the same. Online retailers give us the opportunity to get our books much farther afield and the free worldwide shipping from The Book Depository has meant that we can add some African dates to the Virtual Book Tour we have just launched for The Cloths of Heaven.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Myriad Editions: We publish books we want to read ourselves. Excellent writing, authentic story-telling, and good characterisation are all high on the list but originality of voice is key. With Isabel Ashdown's debut, Glasshopper (out in September), we were immediately struck by the poise and polish of her writing, and impressed by the elegance of the narrative structure of the book. More than anything we were won over by the characters and the compelling drama of their stories. The fact that Isabel was a new writer and a Creative Writing MA student at Chichester, and so exactly fitted our Arts Council-funded new fiction plans, sealed the deal.

    In our submissions guidelines we've always said we don't publish genre fiction -- historical, crime, sci-fi, thrillers -- but in fact we've recently been forced to bend our own rules for books that could officially be categorised as genre, but which were so brilliantly written, and telling such engaging stories, that we just felt we had to publish them. Whatever guidelines we put in place, that sense of absolute compulsion is what we're looking for, and what makes publishing such an exciting business to be in.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Myriad Editions: I Have Waited, and You Have Come by Martine McDonagh was the first novel Myriad published and I am struck as much now as then by the post-apocalyptic vision the author has created. The novel visualises a near-future better than anything else I've read and certainly beats the films that have covered the same ground. It would make an excellent film. Another book I'm proud of having published is Rumble Strip because Woodrow Phoenix opened up for me a whole new world of graphic fiction and the interplay of words and pictures. Part philosophy and part memoir, this must be the only book about driving, speed and power without a picture of another car or another person. Woodrow's philosophy is as black and white as his drawings -- reading Rumble Strip is a bit like getting behind the wheel of a very mean machine and embarking on an exhilarating and contemplative trip. Most recently, I've felt privileged and extremely proud to have published The Cloths of Heaven by Sue Eckstein. I loved the novel when I first read the manuscript two years ago but, at that time, I wasn't sure if we would be in a position to publish any more fiction. So for me this novel is closely linked to our news of the Arts Council England award and the beginning of a new era in Myriad's publishing.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Myriad Editions: We're involved in the challenging but thoroughly enjoyable process of editing The Clay Dreaming. This is a hugely ambitious novel set around the time of the Australian Aboriginal cricket team's historical visit to London 1868. It explores an extraordinary friendship between one of the cricketers and a bookish young English woman and their mission to uncover the mysteries of his ancestry. Different story lines, original documentation and various texts within texts mean that Vicky Blunden, Myriad's fiction editor, and the author Ed Hillyer have a hard task to cut down the manuscript from over 1,000 pages to a more manageable 700 or so.

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