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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

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January news

A new year begins, September Publishing’s second spring. As books make their way from printers to the warehouse, we are putting the final touches to ebooks, and our marketing and publicity campaigns.

The season starts with Alice Stevenson’s London Perspectives Colouring Postcards, on 4 February, which features gorgeous artwork taken from her 2015 book Ways to Walk in London.

Next is How to be an Alien in England, Angela Kiss’s affectionate update of the George Mikes’ classic. A wry take on our national personality.

Published on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, is Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted – a powerful and beautifully written book about how women are inspired by Celtic landscapes and storytelling to rise up rooted, like trees.

Tickets are still available for the Times Plus event An Evening with Anthony Loyd, on 11 February, where he will reflect on his memories of Bosnian war of twenty years ago, which he wrote about in My War Gone By, I Miss It So, and discuss his recent return to the region.

Anthony will also be talking about his book on 7 March, at Words by the Water in Cumbria. Bruce Fogle will be there too on the 9th – talking about his childhood summers Barefoot at the Lake, by a slightly more chilly Derwentwater.

In acquisitions, Hannah has signed Christopher Nicholson’s first non-fiction title, Among the Summer Snow, which will be published in 2017. A magical, unique journey in search of summer snow patches in the Scottish Highlands which becomes a meditation on the lure of the mountains themselves.

Christopher Nicholson Snow Landscape (2)

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December news

Alice Stevenson appeared at The Piccadilly Waterstones Christmas Customer Evening on 3 December.

Anthony Loyd wrote a powerful article about returning to the Balkans 20 years after the end of hostilities which appeared in The Times Magazine on 28 November. For those who subscribe, there is also a very moving video. Anthony will be appearing at The Frontline Club’s BookNight with Anthony Loyd on 9 December, 7pm, and you can book now for his Times Plus events An Evening with Anthony Loyd, on 11 February 2016.

Mark Thomas will be reading from 100 Acts of Minor Dissent on 12 December, 1-2.15pm in St Austell, raising funds for Mid & East Cornwall Green Party. 100 Acts was included in Philosophy Football’s round up of new political books, singled out as one that makes politics fun and a pleasure to be a part of.

He is also appearing all over the country, from Cardigan and Falmouth to Whitstable and Doncaster, with Trespass – his latest show on dissent, cities and public spaces. He also has some rather fetching new merchandise.

Domestic Extremist Mark

Finally, September founder Hannah MacDonald spoke at the FutureBook conference on Friday 4 December about author-centric publishing.

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Winter 2015 – publishers’ blog

A year since we started, it’s hard not to think in terms of lists, 4 books launched, 11 new titles commissioned, almost 10,000 books sold … But these numbers do little to reveal the work that’s gone in, the pleasure that the publishing journeys have brought, the joy of finally receiving physical copies, the pride the team and authors have felt at the five-star reviews and endorsements. The individual emails and exchanges highlighting the transformative power of a book.

Charlotte, Sue, Rebecca and I have a great deal to thank our authors and their agents for; they have participated in countless festivals, talks, bookshop appearances, workshops, gigs. They took a punt on publishing with a small start-up, but we like to think it has been rewarded.

There have been mistakes (struggles over illustrated ebook files, a terrible typo ‘navel’ for ‘naval’) and triumphs like multiple rights deals for Barefoot at the Lake and a full-page Guardian piece for P. J. Kavangah’s The Perfect Stranger.

Patrick Kavanagh sadly died in August of this year, swiftly, after a morning spent ridding the track to his house of nettles. He had no fear of the unknown and was buried next to his first wife Sally, as he wrote would happen in the opening pages of his memoir. He had celebrated signing his contract with September, ‘fifty years after it was first published!’, with a friend and a pint in his local pub, high in the Gloucestershire hills, where he now rests.

Working with such writers is a privilege, and one we share with each new reader we find.

Thank you to all our supporters and here’s to another enriching year!

Hannah