Setting up a publishing company

There are several organisations you can turn to for help and guidance when setting up a publishing company, ranging from trade bodies, to those offering courses, to online forums where you can contact others who have been through a similar experience.

If you are interested in accessing training courses, the Publishing Training Centre (PTC) should be your first port of call. Its aim is to provide cost-effective training for publishers in the UK and overseas. Although most of its courses are targeted at improving and teaching core editorial skills, it offers other courses covering publicity and management issues.

It offers a two-day course called ‘Introduction to publicity and promotion’, which covers areas such as planning and budgeting for a publicity campaign, liaising with reps and agents and how to organise launches, press conferences and exhibitions. You can contact the centre by calling 020-8874 2718, or by checking out the website. The PTC also has several useful links to other publishing bodies and services that may be able to provide relevant information.

Networking helps

Sheila Bounford is executive director of the Independent Publishers Guild(IPG), the membership organisation for independent publishing companies. The IPG aims to promote knowledge about publishing and provide its members (which number more than 360) with a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. Membership costs £100 a year.

As Bounford explains, a lot of change in publishing is driven by retailers, who are stocked by the bigger publishers and who tend to overlook the smaller, independent ones. She believes that it can be particularly beneficial for smaller publishers to belong to a peer group, so that they are better placed to make contacts.

;“We don’t offer a formal advice line as such, but we can put our members in touch with people who are appropriate for them to talk to. For example, we could give them a list of freelance sales agents, or introduce them to people who have published similar books. We also arrange events where like-minded people can meet up,” says Bounford.

Online forums

You can access online forums such as that provided by the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), which is open to anyone in publishing or a related trade. It was originally intended for the 18-35 age group, but over 35s can join as associate members. The SYP aims to be a forum for discussion, a contact point and a source of information and an annual subscription costs £25. The SYP also organises regular events to help facilitate contacts within the industry.

It can be notoriously hard for smaller publishers to make their mark, so consider breaking into an under-published niche area to increase your chances of success. The Publishers Association, the trade organisation for book, journal and electronic publishers in the UK, has some useful information on its website that is free to access, alongside a list of useful publications and organisations.

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