It’s easy to feel little when you are a small publisher – going to book fairs and looking at your panel of twenty novels lost in the vast space dominated by the Penguin, Random, Harper Collins, MacMillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette and all their glossy titles.
Thankfully I belong to the Independent Publisher Conference (IPG), a guild of small, innovative, hard-working publishers who are filled with enthusiastic zeal and wholeheartedly believe that their books have merit with consumers. I have to confess, joining them has been a boon – I no longer feel alone, or wonder why I think I can match the big boys at their game (actually, I frequently wake up wondering why I think I can do this).
I remember my first trip to the London Book Fair, full of gusto that quickly shrank as I saw the reality of hundreds of thousands of new titles and realising that ours would struggle to find air, never mind sunlight. It’s difficult to have faith in such conditions – but thankfully, I seem to have an optimistic core and a huge belief in our authors and readers. Authors themselves need massive self-belief to think that readers will give the eight plus hours it takes to read their work. Yesterday it felt like all that core belief paid off. I was at the IPG’s autumn conference and three times other delegates said they had heard of Hookline. I was stunned. “Really!” I asked the first. The second got a smile. However, the third person almost got the biggest hug I could muster (thankfully, I stayed cool, as though such recognition was normal).
It may not be much, but to me it was like a mention in the Sunday Times (which will come one day – I promise).