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New Year 2016 – publishers’ blog

In December I met a wonderful NYC-based publicist Lauren Cerand in a St Pancras station cafe that was twinkling with Christmas. She described September’s list as very ‘voicey’ (a word much used in the NY literary scene right now, she said). I thought it summed us upped beautifully … so I have been overusing it ever since.

Now we’re in January and it’s pretty chilly in September’s basement office as we still wrestle with the downsides of indie publishing (queuing at the post office, swearing at VAT deadlines), but we are relishing the expanding upsides of independence. This spring feels all about new growth; new opportunities and new voices.

In February and March we launch new books by two strong women – Angela Kiss and Sharon Blackie.

Inspired by her countryman, the classic humourist and bestselling author George Mikes, Angela has written a funny and affectionate portrait of the English.

Sharon Blackie’s book on the untapped power of Celtic Women is a rousing, inspiring exploration of Celtic landscape, myth and modern day challenges.

Both women are very different heroines – speaking with very distinct voices.

We are actively looking for authors speaking in new styles, of lesser known lives or areas. The diversity the publishing lacks – something much discussed in the UK publishing industry right now – will only come if books are published from a broader base of writers. How else will more people see the publishing industry as being relevant to them?

We are also actively looking for young non-fiction authors who wish to develop their skills and editorial relationships over time. The art of non-fiction is under-appreciated and discussed and we wish more people channelled their desire for literary self-expression into non-fiction.

Our current intern Allison from the Kingston University publishing MA has also been talking about how the majority of graduates on the course see their destination as fiction. There’s clearly more to be done by the non-fiction publishers of the world in encouraging young writers and young employees to realise the potential of the genre.

And finally … January has also seen our first set of royalty statements. More than half show advances earn out and royalties owing. This is good news for authors and good news for September as we commission further authors with strong track records (like Christopher Nicholson of The Elephant Keeper and Winter who will be writing of his summer search for snow in the Scottish Highlands in a new book for 2017).

Onwards. And – particularly if you’re Christopher – upwards.

Hannah