The Publishing House Mission Statement (Why We Believe Small Publishers
Are The Only Real Publishers Left)
Compared to the big
international conglomerates Publishing House is very definitely a `small
We don't have a massive sales force (actually, we don't have
a sales force at all). We don't have a board of eminent directors (since we're
not a limited company we don't have any directors). We don't have offices in a
skyscraper (we do have offices but we just have an upstairs and a downstairs).
And we don't have a PR department full of bright young things called Hyacinth
and Jacoranda. (We don't have a PR department at all).
But we have one
enormous advantage over the conglomerates.
We care passionately about
They have marketing departments which decide which books will
sell. They then commission books that the sales force think they will be able to
flog. They won't even consider a book until they've done a marketing feasability
We publish books we believe in. We then try to sell them.
Naturally, we try to make a profit. If we didn't we wouldn't last long. We have
to pay the printing bills, the electricity bills, the phone bills, the rates,
the insurance and so on.
But we've been publishing for 15 years. In that
time, we've sold over two million books. Our books have been translated into 22
languages and are sold by other publishers (including some big ones) in over 50
The conglomerates insist that every book should make a
We don't. Some of our books make more money than others. But
that's fine with us. We don't mind if the better sellers sometimes subsidise the
other books. We don't mind if a book is a little slow to sell. Like good parents
we love all our children equally - however successful, or unsuccessful, they
Despite all the talk about the need for each book to stand on
its own two feet many big publishers make an overall loss. They are kept alive -
effectively as vanity publishers - by other parts of the conglomerate. So, for
example, the TV division or the magazine division may help to subsidise the book
publishing division. We believe that book publishing can, and should, be allowed
to stand alone. We believe that small publishers are now the only REAL
The big publishers often accept sponsorship from
outside companies. We never do. We rely on the sale of books to earn our living
and pay our bills. None of our books are sponsored or carry any advertising. We
believe this helps us to remain truly independent. We publish books which
international conglomerates wouldn't dare touch.
Big publishers have lost
touch with people's needs. They are slow and unwieldy. It can take them two
years to turn a typescript into a finished book! (We can, if pushed, get a book
out within a month - while the material is still topical.)
They are too
market orientated and derivative. They produce more of what other publishers did
well with last year. We look forwards not backwards.
They pay huge
amounts as advances to film stars, politicians and young hot shot authors. Much
of the time they don't earn back those advances. They don't care because the
books are just seen as `tools' to help other parts of the empire. For example, a
conglomerate will publish a politician's dull biography as a way of putting
money into the politician's pocket.
Despite their huge marketing
departments they are often out of touch with people's needs. If we published as
many `turkeys' as they do we'd be out of business.
They worry enormously
about upsetting powerful politicians and other corporations. The big
conglomerates need to cooperate with the establishment because they are part of
We stand outside the establishment. They don't like us
much at all. They often do their best to shut us down.
But we don't give
a fig for what politicians or corporate bosses might (or might not) think of us.
We're only interested in publishing books that inform and entertain. When they
try to shut us down we fight back.
At big publishers there are loads of
men and women in suits who slow things down and interfere with the artistic
process. Literary originality and integrity have been replaced by marketing
We have no men or women in suits to tell us what to do. We
do what we believe is right.
We publish books the old fashioned
We're a small, independent publishing house. We publish books we
believe in; books we want to publish and which we hope that our readers will
want to read.
That's what we think publishing is all about.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2003