This statement - known and felt by us - has been a bugbear at 8d Press for as long as we can remember; the infuriating, tear-producing, anger-instilling closed shop that is the UK and the World's literary 'industry' because make no mistake, publishing is a business large and true.
Why has it always been about fads, latest trends, famous people writing their 'memoirs', celebrities turning to novel writing 'out of the blue' and being given immediate accolades?
We've seen it all; the closed shop mentality of the big FIVE publishing houses and their many various imprints of which we are all so aware, even if we don't know it.
The publishing world is a hard cruel place; it's full of privileged, privately educated, white middle-upper class so-called 'experts' who run with the trends and cash in. Yes, they are businesses we know that, but in being what they are, the big publishing houses don't take risks on new talent (this is something we do, more about that later!).
And then there is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which has as many pros as it does cons, but that's another story. Despite what's advertised by Youtubers who want to sell you courses that cost hundreds of pounds, promising that if you follow their advice you will make a massive living writing self-published books, very few writers make a living from KDP; that's a fact that most writers never admit or share with anyone.
The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) states in a recent report (and the Society of Authors UK) backs this up, that the average yearly income for writers is approximately £8000 and this is for those doing reasonable well with backlists, agents (or not) and a total love and immersion in writing that comes from it being a 'heart-job', a love affair with words and stories and something you simple 'must do'.
Which leads to the question, if this is the average yearly income for writers, how do writers live? Well, they have jobs, full-time jobs, part-time jobs, any sort of job just to survive, and very often these are the ones with published books behind them, an agent, support etc etc. Which also begs the question, if this is the case, how come no one ever talks about this? Pride is what I say and I know. Writing is not something I would ever recommend doing unless you have the calling; it's such a shit job that I am surprised that anything ever gets written. And this also leads to the glorious pool of unknown writer talent which is out there. Who supports them? Why would they ever want to go banging on the doors of the Big Five, let alone try and get a literary agent to help them achieve publication?
Publishing in my opinion is one of those rigid industries that is almost impossible to penetrate, no matter your talent. It's all about who you know, where you're based, whether you have any capital in terms of notoriety. You can fly your own identity politics flag and hope for traction there, but unless you're in the public eye, there is not much hope for you. Publishing is also an anachronism, buried in traditions of old. The Big Five publishing houses make attempts at rewriting the rules, based on identity politics and yearly hash-tagged trends, but the financial bottom line is always present.
And so it should be, I suppose. But then again, why? Paying staff, renting glamorous offices in central London, keeping up the image is all very well, but who suffers the most? It's always the writer who gets a tiny fraction of the dregs at the end of the long arduous road from acceptance to publication.
And this is where the 'ad' for 8d Press kicks in; not so much an ad but a shout-out that we're determined to do things differently. Number One we're a small press with mighty ideas; we're basically a one/two man band. We're a kitchen-table press or a small studio press (we don’t own a kitchen table), with decades of experience in publishing/writing/advertising/copywriting/graphics/book cover design/mentoring/counselling/cheerleading and all associated branches of service.
We've got two new opportunities out there at the moment; one is our LONELINESS opportunity, as listed on Creative Scotland. Click here to read it; and our ravishingly wonderful new imprint, Little Black Books which is a by-invitation-only opportunity. Both opportunities are paid opportunities, with mentoring and support built-in as naturally as air on the top of the mountain.
Our brand, while feminist, wants to celebrate men too, so we're branching out to reach men and their stories. We're also going to move forward with supporting completely unknown talent and we're determined to find them. We want writers who have NEVER been published before to contact us with their submissions. So many people feel intimidated by the massive monolith that is traditional publishing. Self-publishing is an exercise in madness (we know!!!).
So 8d Press is the calm Madonna in the storm; a quiet presence in an overwhelming world, where, if you are an unpublished writer and you feel or you have been told that you have a way with words, you can contact us, phone us, submit to us and we'll read you work, listen to you, offer advice or maybe even publish you in a gorgeous printed book of beauty. We have a direct phone number - a mobile phone number - and we’re always available for a chat. We believe in those secret stories written by unknown writers, we believe in the forgotten, the overlooked, the rejected, the inexperienced.
We know which side of the road we're standing on, and it's on the quiet side, next to the forest and the loch.
Come and find us there.
Jo - Founder 8d Press