Today I am delighted to welcome Kevin from Bluemoose Books to my blog. I discovered this publishing house last month when they kindly sent me a review copy of If You Look For Me, I Am Not Here, a stunning novel that you should all go and read now.
Without further ado, let us find out more about a small press which aims to engage, inspire and excite.
1. Why did you decide to set up Bluemoose?
I won a national writing competition and was whisked down to London by a Sunday newspaper to be wined and dined at The Ivy with the editorial director of Macmillan and an agent from Curtis Brown. It didn’t go well. A year later I read that all the big money advances were going to Irish writers so I changed my name to Colm O’Driscoll and sent the first three chapters off to Darley Anderson, Lee Child and Martina Cole’s agent. He tried to get hold of me by phone but of course I didn’t exist, so he wrote a letter. I contacted him but I had to be Irish for a year. I even had to tell my lads that if a posh man from London rings and asks for Colm, that’s me. The things you’ll do to get published.
He loved my book and so I signed up to Darley Anderson but at the time they couldn’t sell Anthills & Stars. Apparently nobody was buying comedic fiction. After 12 months I got the book back and moped and moped. Hetha, my wife, told me to do something about it, so we re-mortgaged the house, started Bluemoose Books, published my novel and a book by a Canadian writer, Nathan Vanek, called The Bridge Between. We made enough money from these two books to continue and here we are, 10 years later still publishing.
2. What sort of books do you want to publish?
Our aim is to publish cracking stories, period. Books that engage, inspire and are beautifully written.
3. How do you go about finding and signing authors?
Writers send their work to us, they read our published books and get in touch, hear our authors at festivals, library events, through book reviews in the national and regional press.
Some even ring up on Boxing Day.
4. Is your experience of marketing what you expected when you started out?
I’ve spent over 25 years in sales and marketing for fiction, non-fiction, academic and business publishers, so nothing is really that new, although the marketing of ‘brand names’ is quite frightening these days.
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?
There are some brilliant independents out there and we are all different. What, I think, makes Bluemoose successful is the brilliant editors we have, who all have different reading tastes and different life experiences, so when we get together and decide to publish a book, we know that there is something unique in that story and the writing that will attract readers.
6. Latest trend or totally original – what sells?
As a publisher I think you must never follow trends. That way lies madness. In my opinion you cannot predict what will sell, you may replicate what has sold and hope to sell but as an independent originality and authenticity are the two key things you look for in a new writer.
7. Ebook or hard copy – what do your buyers want?
We find increasingly that people want paper books for sharing. However, we do sell a lot of digital books too. Our analysis tells us that people on holiday or business trips will buy digital for convenience but when they come home and want to share their reading experience they buy the paperback and share. Reading is solitary but can become communal and an online community experience too.
8. Do you consider Bluemoose to be niche or mainstream?
We are stridently independent and if we ever become mainstream and just publish to keep the accountant happy, take me away in a box.
9. Collaborative or dictatorial?
Collaborative but the final editorial decisions are always with the publisher/editor.
10. Plans for the future?
We have 6 brilliant books in the pipeline for this year, and several for 2017 and 2018.
Highlights in the first 6 months of this year being:
- If you look for me, I am not here by Sarayu Srivatsa, just published;
- Tainted Love, the second novel by Anna Chilvers, in May;
- The Less than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote, a debut in July from Dan Micklethwaite.
Thank you Kevin for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about this small press, including details of their books, on their website by clicking here: Bluemoose Books.
Keep up to date with all of their news via Twitter: Bluemoose Books (@Ofmooseandmen)
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