What do you think it takes to start your own business in the publishing world, or in the third sector? Courage? Money? Vision? A touch of crazy?
Let’s say you did just that. Let’s pretend that you woke each and every day with an idea that just wouldn’t go away. A vision of a publishing house, a place for development and belief, for LGBT writers; for communities without voice, a safe haven of expression to know you’re not alone. And you can’t forget about it, much as you might try, because you know that to pursue something like that has a 90% chance of failure. And no one actually likes to fail, do they?
So you take a leap of faith. You start your own publishing house; you take a business course and form your own little company. And slowly, very slowly, it begins to pay off. You begin to attract authors; you deliver projects with community groups. The thing actually starts to grow. You become the largest LGBT publisher in the world; you become the community interest company that Councils, and AGE UK’s all over the country want to employ to work with their members.
You make a difference. You give people hope. Your vision is now a reality.
But in the really big, wider picture, you’re still small fry. And you need your dedicated followers to stick with you. You need them to buy your books; you need them to let other people know so they commission your projects and you continue to produce anthologies from previously voiceless groups.
But something gets in the way. A big, fat, greedy, corporate entity.
And they want to take your product, the thing you’ve invested everything in, your baby, and they want a huge chunk of the selling price. Sometimes, as much as 95% on an eBook. That doesn’t leave much for you to continue to grow your publishing house; to donate to the charities and groups with whom you’ve worked. Worse yet, they somehow manage to avoid paying taxes. In a world when Benjamin Franklin said it was one of only two sure things in the world, this conglomerate of consumerism is proving Mr President wrong. And you? You pay your taxes to Uncle Sam; you fill out your self-assessment form to HMRC. You struggle to stay afloat in an economic climate that is inhospitable at best, and soul-crushing, at its worst.
What’s the point of this particularly vague blog? I’m asking you to consider supporting the little guy, over the convenience of Prime delivery. I’m wondering if you can delay gratification, and let the anticipation build, whilst you wait for delivery from overseas, direct from the publisher; to support UK charities by buying direct from the community interest company.
The world over, there are tiny little independent companies, social enterprises, and voluntary organisations, who struggle on a daily basis to continue. To ensure they can pay their staff. To maintain their services for vulnerable people. To provide an independent choice. What can you do? Choose ethics over expediency. Select charity over convenience. Support the little guy, gal or gender fluid individual in their endeavours to make the world a better place, rather than lining the pockets of their stock holders.
Shameless plug (premature for me, but not for my publisher):
Consider buying your LGBT books here: Bold Strokes Books. I hear there’s an especially good anthology released on the 1st May, which you can pre-order here: Girls on Campus, which has been delightfully authored and edited. The next time you pass by a lovely little local bookstore, an independent, pop in and peruse. A prime example of which is the wonderfully eclectic Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham, proud to be a UNESCO City of Literature. And if you want to know about a fantastic community interest company that turns ordinary people into published authors, visit here.
What’s your story?