Q&A with Liberties Press

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Today I welcome Seán from Liberties Press, Ireland’s leading independent publisher, to my blog. Founded in 2003, they publish non-fiction, fiction and poetry. I am delighted that they have agreed to take part in this series.

Liberties appeared on my radar when they published Jan Carson’s debut novel ‘Malcolm Orange Disappears’. I hope to review Jan’s next book, a short story collection titled ‘Children’s Children’, in the coming weeks. You may check out my thoughts on another of Liberties’ titles, ‘Citizens’ by Kevin Curran, by clicking here.

Without further ado let us find out more about a publisher who believes that,

“important as it is for a publisher to produce an attractive book, to the highest editorial, print and design standards, it is equally necessary to make sure that that book reaches as many potential readers as possible, in whatever format they like to read, and wherever they are in the world.”

1. Why did you decide to set up Liberties Press?

To publish the best writing, both fiction and non-fiction, from Ireland.

2. What sort of books do you want to publish?

We started with political biographies (Garret FitzGerald and President Michael D. Higgins) and practical guides, then moved into debut and emerging fiction (Declan Burke, Caitriona Lally, Frankie Gaffney and Kevin Curran).

3. How do you go about finding and signing authors?

We receive hundreds of submissions every year – all of which are assessed and responded to – and work with all the leading literary agents in Dublin and London.

4. Is your experience of marketing what you expected when you started out?

They say that a book hasn’t been published until someone’s read it: producing a wonderful book is only half the battle. It’s a great thrill to see people buying – and reading – a book you’ve worked hard on. As with everything else, the more effort you put into marketing, the greater the rewards. We’ve also tried to be innovative in terms of who we sell to: we’ve worked with many of Ireland’s leading companies and state agencies.

5. There are a good number of small, independent publishers out there publishing some great works. Do you consider yourself different and, if so, how?

We’re no longer the new kids on the block, and are delighted to see a new crop of publishers coming through. (This didn’t happen during the recession, when several publishers closed their doors for good.) Despite what some people think, bookshops, book publishers and book printers have a bright future. I hope the quality of the design, promotion and editing of our books speaks for itself, but we don’t rest on our laurels. We’ve run popup bookshops, and have a direct link with customers through Liberties Upstairs.

6. Latest trend or totally original – what sells?

We try to do both. Our fiction is cutting-edge, I hope, but in non-fiction, the tried-and-tested subjects have plenty of life left in them, whether it’s the 1916 Rising or the Euro 2016 football championships.

7. Ebook or hard copy – what do your buyers want?

E-books have rarely made up more than 5 percent of our sales. I believe they will go the way of audio books: a niche market. People like to unwind with a book – and keep it afterwards – and that means hard copy. The people pushing e-books were the ones selling the devices. E-book-only publishers haven’t fared as well as they had anticipated.

8. Do you consider Liberties Press niche or mainstream?

Mainstream but maverick: we want to sell books to everyone, but hope you’ll be challenged by what you read.

9. Collaborative or dictatorial?

Publishing is a collaborative process – which is something authors would do well to remember. If you want the best from everyone, be professional and pleasant. No prima donnas! As for my personal style, you’d have to ask my colleagues!

10. Plans for the future?

We’re proud to describe ourselves as Ireland’s leading independent publisher, and are seeing significant growth in the UK and US markets. The first ten years of a business are about survival; over the next ten, we’re focusing on growth. The growth of Liberties Press in the coming years will be driven by returning emigrants, bringing their skills – and interests – back to Ireland.
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Thank you Seán for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about this press, including details of their books, on their website by clicking here: Liberties Press

Keep up to date with all of their news via Twitter: Liberties Press (@LibertiesPress)

Children's Children Front for Web    Citizens For Web

If you are an independent publisher and would like to be included in this series please check out my introductory post: Shout Out to Independent Publishers

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