Tuesday, 5 November 2013

My opinions on The Future of Poetry Publishing, which I was too excited and unrequired to divulge at the Northern Lights Writers' Conference

Jamie and I on our way to the Waterside Centre
I've been thinking a lot lately about the improvisational nature of the Emma Press, so I was delighted to be asked to be on the panel at the 'D.I.Y. Publishing' talk in Manchester a few weeks ago, and even more delighted when it transpired that Jamie would also be there, along with Wes Brown of Dead Ink.

The talk was part of the Northern Light Writers' Conference, organised by the lovely Richard Evans, and it took the form of a Q&A led by Leeds writer SJ Bradley. Jamie, Wes and I each explained our route into the small publishing world before tackling questions about the importance of energetic authors, how to get reviews and press coverage, and how to find an audience. Here's a nice excerpt from Desmond Bullen's review of the Northern Lights Writers' Conference:

'The opening panel’s reservations about self-publishing (quite apart from E.L. James’ literary infelicities, her success is the rarest of exceptions to the general rule) might have blanketed the D.I.Y. Press panel with the damp of caution. That it did not owed much to the tripartite enthusiasm and youthful momentum of Wes Brown of Dead Ink Books, Jamie McGarry of Valley Press and Emma Wright of The Emma Press.'

It was very enjoyable, and I was so excited to be on a panel at last that I completely forgot to steamroller the event with my list of the strengths of small poetry publishers. I think they're still worth an airing, particularly given the concerns raised at a recent Byte the Book event on the future of poetry publishing, so here they are:

The Future of Poetry Publishing: the secret weapons of the small poetry publishing world

  1. Commissioning apparently uncommercial titles. The received wisdom that there's no money in poetry is oddly liberating, because there's no sense of there being an obviously lucrative strategem from which we diverge at our own peril. We could try and copy Faber, but why not instead do what Faber can't, and take a chance on strange little books and booklets which we love and believe in? Why not publish an illustrated pamphlet of poems about Angela Lansbury, which is so bloody gorgeous that even people who never saw Murder She Wrote love it at first sight?
  2. Unconventional book design. You'll never see so many self-consciously classy-looking books as in the poetry section of a bookshop. The idea is, I guess, that poetry is a serious artform and everyone wants to look like Faber, with their iconic typographical covers. But Faber sells books because they are Faber, not because of their cover design! Unless you have a poet with a name like 'Harry Styles', a text-only cover is not going to help sales, and nor will an image of mist and some fences. Instead, how about giving ...
  3. individual attention to each title, from the cover to the marketing. It doesn't make sense to apply the same methods to every title, especially when you're a tiny publisher. The cover and interior design should express the character of the book, and I firmly believe that when the publisher manages this then the whole book stands out for being the thoughtfully-crafted object it is. You won't fool anyone into thinking you are Faber, but you can convince them that you're a more fascinating proposition altogether. I was told by a bookseller that The Flower and the Plough was too bright, handmade-looking and small for mainstream bookshops, but people at fairs and markets still reach for and buy it. See also: how Sidekick Books launched their Angela Lansbury book.
  4. Developing authors. Once again, because there is no money in it, allegedly, why bother cutting corners? Shoving a poet through a sausage machine is pointless when there's only pence to be made anyway, and there are so few household-name poets that it's better to develop some potential superstars rather than attempt to poach Simon Armitage from Faber. Jamie writes on the Valley Press site that he spends the majority of his time editing, and so do I, along with the powerhouse that is Rachel Piercey, who thank god is on my team. If all publishers waited around for perfectly-formed poems and poets to fall through their letterbox, readers would miss out on a plethora of delights. 
  5. The personal approach. Bigger publishers rejoice in business-y names, or the surnames of men no-one remembers anymore, but smaller publishers are labours of love and still intimately connected with their founders' personalities and idiosyncrasies, so why pretend otherwise?
So there you go, my thoughts on poetry publishing, as untold to the audience at the Waterside Centre in Sale. Despite the repeated received wisdom, I do happen to think there is money in poetry publishing, but that's the subject of a future blog.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Notes from the Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour

While Jamie's been publishing books up in Scarborough at a rate of knots and also planning our engagement party (yes, this is happening), I've been on tour. Poetry tour. This still feels a shocking state of affairs, given my fear of public speaking and still-fresh memories of dreadful Latin reading competitions, but I'm learning to deal with it and with every show my nerves are slightly better.

My flier design for the tour
Needless to say, it wasn't my love of performing which led me to plan the Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour. Rather, it was my enjoyment of all the conversations Rachel (Piercey, my co-editor and co-conspirator) and I had with the poets from The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse when we met up with them to introduce ourselves. I wrote about one aspect of the experience over on the Erotic Review, but what I didn't mention was how dazzled I was by all the poets' thoughts on eroticism. It felt like a natural – albeit terrifying – step to create a show around them and to take their poetry to a wider audience, so we started planning a tour: a small one in case we didn't get Arts Council funding, and a larger one for if we did.

Amazingly, we did. Thanks to a couple of very helpful discussions in the Arts Council London office, tweaking my application to emphasise the way we were trying to reach people who might not usually attend poetry shows, my proposal was accepted and we were able to go ahead with the 10-date tour and actually pay the poets and ourselves. I'd cut it quite fine with my application, so I was plunged instantly into a whirlwind of tour admin at the same time as planning the launch of the anthology and now, just under 2 months after receiving the funding, we're already halfway through the tour.

Jon Stone performing at the Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
We kicked off straight after the launch party with a tiny gig on September 28th in the shop window of Penny Fielding Beautiful Interiors in Walthamstow, home of mildly erotic poet Ruth Wiggins, before heading to Bethnal Green, stomping ground of Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving, for a larger show at the Gallery Cafe. Then we had a couple of weeks off before resuming the tour in Brighton, Belfast and Stratford-upon-Avon, all in the space of 6 days, visiting local poets Hugh Dunkerley, Stephen Sexton and Richard O'Brien respectively.

Introducing the poets at Bookfinders, Belfast
And it's been going well! We've had audience sizes ranging from 8 to 39, and people have emailed us afterwards to describe the erotic epiphanies they've experienced as a result of the show (kidding). I've loved seeing how the people respond, and I've even begun to relax enough in between introductions to actually listen to the poems myself. The best show so far might have been Belfast, which Stephen Connolly from The Lifeboat helped me organise. The audience was small but so responsive that they burst into spontaneous applause at some poems, much to the EP crew's delight. The open mic section at Stratford-upon-Avon was also very exciting, as the local poets really embraced the theme. I'm still frantically promoting the remaining 5 dates, but after that I will begin thinking about my next tour, because there must be a next tour, and it must be even bigger! Jamie is currently planning his VP50 (Five Years, Fifty Books) nationwide tour, so between us by next year we should have accumulated some pretty extensive experience and our subsequent touring powers will be pretty spectacular.

- - -

The Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour is stopping by London (31st Oct), Norwich (2nd Nov), Reading (3rd Nov), and Oxford (8th and 16th Nov). Full details here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Making No Marks: Behind the Scenes in the Valley Press Pamphlet Department

In August 2013, Valley Press entered Phobia, Form, Sea Swim, Destroyed Dresses and Couples into the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, which also gives an award to recognise an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form. This week, the shortlist for both awards was announced: to Valley Press, the judges awarded the special prize of no mention whatsoever.

Fortunately I'm an excellent loser, and in that spirit, I am posting the thousand or so words I wrote in my entry form for the award (composed over many long, candlelit evenings - but not as many as it took to produce the pamphlets!) To find out about more successful pamphlet publishing operations, see here, otherwise read on...

Please give a brief description of your pamphlet publishing programme from Jan 2012 to June 2013, with a statement of your publishing philosophy, aims, strategy and future plans with regard to poetry pamphlets.

Pamphlet publishing programme - Between January 2012 and June 2013 I published five pamphlets, all poetry, varying in length between 26 and 38 pages. I had an open submission policy during this period, though only one of the five was a true unsolicited submission: two were commissions where I contacted the authors directly, and two were established writers who contacted me with a specific project in mind.

Publishing philosophy - I run Valley Press full-time, as a (theoretically) profit-making business, without funding, with each new print run funded by sales of the last one. With this in mind, and so much at stake, you may ask: why did I choose to publish five of the ‘slim volumes’ this competition is celebrating?

I am passionate about pamphlets. When I started publishing, I found some resistance to this form; buyers at the chains didn’t think a poetry pamphlet could be successfully stocked, and as a result, my sales agency didn’t include pamphlets in their catalogue or represent them to the trade – though I’m pleased to say I later changed their minds on this issue, based on the success of my pamphlet programme from Jan 2012 to June 2013.

The three main reasons I pursue pamphlet publishing are as follows: a) they are ideal for young poets who have a growing reputation and an existing fanbase, but – crucially – not enough poems to merit a full collection; b) they are ideal for short-form projects by established authors, ideas that would lose appeal if stretched over a full-length book; c) if priced and displayed correctly, they can be ideal impulse-buy items for readers who wouldn’t buy poetry ordinarily, or haven’t a lot of cash to spend on new books. Also, there is the great economic plus of pamphlets: they inevitably require fewer resources (less investment in cash and time) than a longer publication, which is great for me. All of the pamphlets entered have made a significant profit; enough to justify my time working on them, at least.

As for the content of the pamphlets, I am looking for poetry that can appeal to both a complete novice – perhaps someone who has never bought a poetry book in their life – but also people who are passionate about poetry, and have been regularly spending money on poetry books for decades. This may sound like an ambitious goal, and it is, but hopefully as you read the pamphlets you will agree I have achieved this (though perhaps with varying degrees of success).

Aims/Strategy - My primary aim, once I had found my five pamphlets, was simply to sell as many as I could – you can read how I went about fulfilling this aim in my answers to the next two questions.

Future plans - I plan to continue publishing pamphlets in the future; I am currently pursuing several poets for 2014, and I don’t plan to change my approach as described above and below.

Please provide a brief statement of the design and print criteria you employed in publishing poetry pamphlets in 2012 and 2013.  This will be looked at in conjunction with your submitted pamphlets.

The most distinctive feature of my design and print criteria for pamphlets is that it does not vary at all from my approach to a full-length collection. I use the same printer, the same format (all my pamphlets have spines, important for bookshop display), and spend the same amount of time designing the covers for my pamphlets as I do any other book.

This means, instead of forming a ‘series’ of covers, each of my books has a unique cover and design, which illustrates either the mood, the topic or the themes of the book (ideally, all three). Initially I concentrate on finding a high-quality photo or illustration, then I choose a font and arrangement of that font to complement it. For the back covers, I use review extracts where possible, otherwise samples of the poems (or both). My most successful pamphlet cover is probably Destroyed Dresses, where I used an old dress-pattern packet, front and back, erasing some (but not all) of the original text and replacing it with text relating to the book.

With regards to internal design, I simply attempt to display the text as clearly, and with as much ‘class’, as possible. If I didn’t make this clear earlier, I do all the design work on these pamphlets myself – this is how I am able to make a profit.

My 2013 pamphlet Couples had a special design feature – the author had written the poems in complementary pairs (or ‘couples’), so I set the book with the poems in their pairs facing each other, usually justified towards an equal margin in the spine. I also split up the acknowledgements and contents pages to keep this theme consistent. The cover photo for Couples was staged specially for that cover; I actually appear on it, as an ‘extra’ in the background.

Please provide a brief statement of your sales and promotional strategy and activities for poetry pamphlets in 2012 and 2013, giving examples of achievements.

Email newsletter: Many of my general promotional efforts are aimed at increasing the subscribers of the Valley Press email newsletter, with a particular focus on getting regular buyers of new poetry titles to subscribe, and value the newsletters as entertainment in their own right. In this way, I have a direct route to these buyers, and can explain to them in an unhurried way why they should purchase the pamphlets. I have doubled my newsletter subscribers every six months since I launched the business (today, more than 600), and I feel most of my website sales (and thus, most sales of the pamphlets) are a result of this.

Social media: Valley Press has a presence on all the main social networks, and fortunately, with the pamphlet authors being on the younger end of the age spectrum, so do they. As such, I make sure everyone on my networks and the authors’ is aware of each publication; not by posting a link over and over again, but by sharing samples, news, or original creative content related to the title.

Web advertising: All five of my pamphlets had a particular marketing ‘angle’, which I could exploit on services such as Facebook adverts and Google adwords. For example: I aimed Destroyed Dresses at young women interested in literature and/or vintage items (the book has a vintage feel), and I aimed Couples at people with an interest in – or suspicion of – all things romantic (it was released on Valentine’s Day).

Events: Readings, or chat-show style events, are another essential angle for promoting pamphlets. With some help from me, the authors have done a dozen readings each since the publication of their pamphlets.

Yours sincerely,
Jamie McGarry
Editor, Valley Press

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Under the Covers, Pre-Wakefield

This weekend sees Valley Press host an afternoon at Wakefield Literature Festival, and in honour of this, writer-in-residence Steve Dearden interviewed me (Jamie McGarry, if we haven't been introduced) for a feature he calls 'Under the Covers'; asking what book I'm currently reading, and three books which have influenced me as a publisher. Here's what I said:

I am currently reading Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim - a long title I know, but it seems a shame to trim it down, especially as that's how it's expressed on Amazon.

This is a perfect book to very slowly make your way through over a period of months. Like my usual reading material of poetry (or short non-fiction), the lyrics make brief, impressive reading, matched by the 'attendant' content, which is nothing short of brilliant. Sondheim has been working at the very top of the art world for what must be sixty years, and you don't go through that without picking up some essential wisdom. Everything he says is to be picked apart, savoured and considered, and is relevant to people working in all areas of art, not just musical theatre. I may never finish this book - and I mean that as a compliment. I'll probably just start again at the beginning.

Three books that have influenced me, as a publisher:

Tony Harrison, Collected Poems - this eggshell-blue hardback arrived in 2007, when I was just getting seriously into poetry, realising its power and that it was a medium worth spending your life on. My student finances couldn't stretch to buying the book, so instead I would walk innocently into Waterstones each time I passed, and read a new poem or two from their copy (which I eventually did manage to buy).

Leaving the content aside (for today), the production of this book was a big influence on me. It felt important, monolithic even, like the book could appear in the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is due to the paper, the cover, the font, the typesetting - everything. It really is a work of typesetting genius - no poem is stretched or distorted, and they are able to jump from obscure German calligraphy to small caps in the middle of a poem without causing any distress.

In the last few months, I have acquired the font used in this book (Adobe Minion)... and the strange thing is, it appeared on my computer one day without explanation or announcement. I have, however, chosen not to investigate this, and to test it out on John Wedgwood Clarke's new collection, launched the day before our Wakefield Lit Fest event.

Philip Larkin, Collected Poems - the green-covered version with yellow and light-blue text, where the running order of the original collections are preserved, and all those second rate works from the first CP are removed. Small, neat, tidy and beautiful, this is perhaps the most effective Faber poetry cover design from their 'just the name and title' Pentagram series, and was another great influence on me in terms of typesetting and design. Perfectly proportioned in every way, this book's design again manages to make its content seem even more important than it already is (if that's possible).

My Tony Harrison book is signed by the author; unfortunately me and Phil didn't have a crossover period, but I did managed to get this signed by Jean Hartley, whose Marvell Press insignia is all over it - her story is a constant reminder that small-press poetry publishing can make a lasting difference, and (occasionally) does count/matter in the grand scheme of things.

John Glenday, Grain (or, all recent Picador poetry titles) - when Picador were working on, say, the first edition of The World's Wife, they were doing fantastic, flawless work. Then they got better. Grain is an example of a book I bought just because I was overwhelmed by the quality of the design - so perfect is this particular book, with its double-sided colour cover and thick, wonderful paper, it actually never leaves my desk. It's always there, so I can pick it up any time and remind myself what I'm working towards at VP.

P.S. An honorary mention must go to The Flower and the Plough by Rachel Piercey, illustrated by Emma Wright - buying this book led me into a conversation that led to a marriage, and the sheer attention to detail (and beautiful illustrations) within this slim volume are very much responsible for that.

According to anecdotal evidence, I've been studying book design (and copying it on old exercise books) since I was six years old - so you can see how far gone I am down the road to publishing obsession, with no sign of turning back. Luckily for you, the readers, I suppose!

The VP event at Wakefield will take place at The Orangery, 4-6pm on Sunday 29th September, and feature readings from Kate Fox, Adam Strickson, Paul Sutherland, Sue Wilsea, Tony Howson, James Nash, Miles Salter, Helen Burke, Norah Hanson and Mike Di Placido. See you there!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Poetry Book Fair Report (Valley edition - with a bit of EP/VP back-story)

In Emma's Poetry Book Fair report, she promised you a report on this year's Fair from a 'veteran' - she must mean me! - thus laying down the challenge of following her fantastic 'rookie' post, and adding something new and interesting. I have chosen to dodge this challenge, and in the spirit of our now almost-month-old union, cover entirely different ground... to complement, rather than compete with, my dearly betrothed. Which is exactly the point of all this 'engagement' business!

I realise that besides the somewhat jokey first couple of posts, neither of us have offered comment yet on the actual reality behind the engagement. Here then, briefly, is the story: I read an article on Emma and her new Press on the Bookseller website, way back on the 3rd February. So impressed was I by the attitude (both textual and graphical) on her site, I was moved to spend some of my always-scarce money on a copy of her first title.

This was apparently just enough to insert Valley Press into her subconscious, so when she set up a market stall in May, she wrote to ask if I wanted her to sell some VP books on her stall - I did, of course, and she shifted quite a few! We then started a tentative email exchange, asking questions about each other's approach to survival in the Wild West world of self-employed poetry publishing; these emails continued indefinitely, and became longer and longer, as we discovered a vast variety of shared interests and opinions even beyond publishing (for example, we're both mega-fans of Swedish songster Jens Lekman).

What also happened was this: although I don't always live up to it, I have a pretty clear idea of how a perfect small press would/should operate in 2013 - Emma and her Press not only matched my ideal, but surpassed it; and not just sometimes, but every day, in new and surprising ways. Her energy, enthusiasm and commitment cannot be adequately described in words, nor can her god-given artistic and design talents (you'll see plenty of evidence of those in the coming months, if you haven't already). By the time we finally met up in August, I knew I simply had to find some way of harnessing these powers - rather like a cyclist hanging on to a juggernaut to gain speed - and for some reason, she was totally up for it too. So, we came up with the idea of the two presses getting married, sharing as many resources as possible; and even a blog, which you're on now. What the future has in store is anyone's guess, but I look forward to finding out!

So onto the Book Fair: you've heard from Emma how it was absolutely packed, and in a smaller space than last year - leading to an atmosphere of heady excitement and fevered book buying. In terms of hard cash, I took home about twice as much as the 2012 event, which I credit to two things. Number one: my use of a conversation-starting sign, which I then turned round to reveal the answer...

Number two: the efforts of Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Jo Brandon, who not only gave a world-beating reading from their books (and others), but actually ran the stall for some quite considerable periods of time, while I wandered about and fraternised with Emma. They sold about a dozen copies of each of their books in the end. Here's what Matthew looked like during his reading:

Very expressive! And here's Jo, and me, in a picture that could have been taken at any reading we've done:

All these photos are courtesy of that long-lensed genius Marcos Avlonitis. (You can see the full set on Facebook if you like.) That about wraps up my thoughts on the Poetry Book Fair 2013 - except to answer the question: will I be back next year? to which I would reply: does the Pope love hats? (Yes, he does, and yes, I will.) Keep an eye on this blog for more exciting posts soon.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Poetry Book Fair Report (Emma edition)

I've been running the Emma Press for nearly a year now, and I still take a great deal of pleasure in counting up my firsts. First book, tick. First printed press coverage, tick. First anthology, (nearly) tick. Last Saturday I had my first book fair, which felt significant in a way my first craft fair hadn't. My biggest fear before Aunt Elsie's Spring Fling back in May was that I'd be unable to arrange my stall properly, but the scenario overall had been experimental and therefore pressure-free. The Poetry Book Fair, on the other hand, felt like my formal introduction to the poetry world, and I was anxious that I should come across well, as a capable and approachable publisher instead of a people-repeller with a suspicious circle of tranquility around my table throughout the day.

As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about, at least as far as circles of tranquility are concerned. The PBF was rammed, a brilliant showcase for the vibrancy of the poetry scene. The main hall in Conway Hall was packed with a huge variety of different poetry publishers, and after midday there was a steady stream of people shuffling around the room, poring over hand-bound, saddle-stitched, letterpressed, limited-edition publications, and coming in and out of the readings room.

I was sharing a table with the cutting-edge Egg Box Publishing, which meant I had the pleasure of chatting to publisher Nathan Hamilton during the quieter moments of the day. These were few and far between, however, due to the afore-mentioned ramming, and I spent most of the time chatting to visitors at my stall and putting faces to names, including Chrissy Williams, one of the organisers of the fair and an excellent poet, and Lorraine Mariner, who I knew worked at the Poetry Library but I hadn't realised was a poet, published by Picador. I also met Jamie for the first time since our engagement (moment preserved for posterity, right), and proudly attended a reading by two Valley Press poets, Jo Brandon and Matthew Hedley Stoppard.

After the fair had closed, the readings from different presses continued in a pub across the road, as did the introductions and poetry publishing gossip. I left buzzing and wishing that something like the PBF occurred more frequently, to get the gorgeous publications out into people's hands and to share the infectious atmosphere of industry and creativity which makes the poetry scene so exciting.

Coming soon: a Poetry Book Fair report from a veteran and, from me, another first: the EP's first wedding fair, next Sunday!

Friday, 6 September 2013

First Responses From The Literary World

Since announcing our engagement last week, Jamie and I have received many lovely messages from friends of our presses, and even been dubbed 'the most important celebrity wedding of the year ' by one perceptive onlooker. We continue to be extremely excited about our betrothal and hope to be able to share our plans for our forthcoming nuptials with you all very soon, but in the meantime here are some of the responses from the literary world.

"A wonderful marriage of minds!  - And publishing talent!  North meets south, boy meets girl, beautiful books meet beautiful books; hopefully leading to the begetting of more beautiful books… As a Valley Press author I couldn’t be happier to witness these delightful nuptials with The Emma Press." 

"Congratulations to the Emma Press and Valley Press on their marriage. Small presses with such similar values are a match made in heaven and I think, in these uncertain times, a willingness to partner up, vow to stick together for richer, for poorer and share the best of themselves is a decision that I, as a poet, want to shower with confetti. I wish them all the very best for a fruitful, fertile union."
  Kate Fox

"This is fantastic news - a true meeting of minds, enthusiasms and plans for the future. The Emma Press and Valley Press are both dynamic and forward-thinking publishers with lots to share and celebrate. Can I be a bridesmaid?" 

"Let's all toast Emma Press and Valley Press and wish them a long and fulfilling coadunation. It's immensely gratifying to see the institution of marriage returned to its roots as a means of forging alliances, consolidating power and sharing spoils. It's also very sensible of them - poetry needs cooperatives and collaborations more than it needs individualistic fervour and queue-jostling. This way, we all get a slice of the cake. By which I mean the wedding cake, but also the metaphorical poetry cake. Two cakes, one marriage. Good luck to them!" 
–  Jon Stone

If you want to add your own thoughts, let us know in the comments box, or tell us in person at the Poetry Book Fair tomorrow. Both Valley Press and The Emma Press will have stalls, so come on by for a chat!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Emma and Valley 'Engaged To Be Wed'

Today, representatives from The Emma Press and Valley Press have announced the unprecedented news that the two small presses are ‘to be married’, in a secret ceremony at an as-yet-undisclosed location.

‘We’re keen to stress this is not a merger,’ says Valley publisher Jamie McGarry, ‘nor are any actual humans getting married. This has come about as we realised the two presses shared a great number of goals and ideals, and we wanted to think of a formal way of working together... without losing our individuality.’

Emma Wright, publisher at The Emma Press, said: ‘I first came across Valley Press when Jamie bought a book from me and we shared a brief but friendly email exchange. I looked him up and found that our approaches to publishing and our route into it were remarkably similar. You could say it was love at first (web)site.’

The Emma Press and Valley Press are both small, independent publishers specialising in poetry and characterised by their personal approach to publishing. Vows exchanged at the ceremony are expected to include the following:

* I plight thee my book news and event write-ups, to publish on our shared blog from this day forward. 

* With my combined catalogue I thee cross-promote, and with all my worldly knowledge of sales and marketing opportunities I thee endow.

* I do swear to share a stand at bookfairs and co-host events, while retaining my own identity and separate list, in the presence of the Nielsen ISBN Agency I make this vow.

Both presses will appear on a panel about DIY Publishing at the CIT Northern Lights Writers’ Conference at the Waterside Arts Centre near Manchester on 12th October 2013.