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we told you it was good

Thank you, Vive le Rock!! Get your copy here.

VLR review

 

 

 


partying on!

Life as a small, independent publisher can be tricky. It’s a hand-to-mouth existence where the success or failure of our titles can really impact on our work. So you’ll excuse us for making a song and dance (with some suitably up-tempo tunes playing in the kitchen) about the fact that our first print run of A Marvellous Party has completely sold out!

It’s incredibly satisfying to see a book by a first-time author on a small press make such an impact. We’re very proud that A Marvellous Party was longlisted for the Polari Prize, prouder still of the feedback we’ve had from readers who’ve identified with Ian Elmslie’s story, and absolutely over the moon that he chose to send the money from the sales of the last few copies to the Food Chain to support their valuable work.

We’ve spent the last week or two discussing with Ian what we do next, and we’re very happy to announce that a second print run of A Marvellous Party is on its way. We hope to have it in stock again by the end of the first week of December, but you can order it through our online shop right now!

It fits perfectly in Xmas stockings.


back on track

We’re very happy to announce that our online shop is now up and running exactly as it should. Last weekend, it suffered from a pesky cyber-gremlin which put a kink in things for a few days, but that’s been dealt with and we’re taking orders as normal. Huzzah!

The shop remains the best place to purchase any and all of our books. Whether you fancy a copy of City Baby – now in its FIFTH print run – one of the last two copies of A Marvellous Party, or getting your mitts on But after the gig… which is selling like the hottest of cakes, that’s up to you. And if poetry’s your bag, it’s only right to let you know that we’ve sold almost 400 copies of more bees bigger bonnets, and have just a handful of copies of the second print run left.

Buy one or more of these books (or any of our other publications) from us this weekend and we’ll throw in a free Ignite car sticker with your order. Because that’s the way we roll.

Treat yourself, or get the perfect Xmas present for a friend. You know it makes sense.


tick tick tock

It feels as though we’ve been sending copies of But after the gig… out in the post since the dawn of time. In fact, it’s just over three months. Amazingly, it’s still two weeks till this roustabout of a book is officially published. Really.

Our thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy so far, and to the people who’ve got in touch to say how much they’ve enjoyed it. We’re hoping to get some magazine reviews soon, but for now our favourite review is this one, from Jason:

I heard about Tezz’s book through a tweet by Ginger Wildheart when both Discharge & the Wildhearts played the Rebellion fest. Tezz’s story could be read by anyone who likes biographies of bands or band members, whether or not they like or have even heard of Discharge. The guy’s story is like no other. How he’s still alive is testament to his ‘pick yourself up & carry on’ attitude.  There’s stories which had me in tears of laughter when I’m thinking this shouldn’t be funny. People who live a life like Tezz’s rarely have a happy ending, yet here he is back in Discharge doing what he knows & loves best. Well done Tezz.

But after the gig… is on sale here.


hustle and bustle

Sometimes, if we’re honest, we get ever so slightly frustrated by the difficulty of gaining traction on the publicity treadmill – we know we’re turning out great books, but it’s a full-time job in itself to try and get that news out to the world – but those days are more than compensated for by the success we have, and the great feedback we get from our readers.

So, we’re delighted that the latest addition to our stable, the Tezz Roberts autobiography But after the gig… is flying out of the door. We’ve already sent copies to over a dozen different countries, and it isn’t officially published until the start of November! We’re also overjoyed that Ginger Wildheart tweeted that it was absolutely his kind of book and he read it in a day. That’s precisely the response from readers that we were hoping for.

Meanwhile, our disappointment that Ian Elmslie didn’t make it onto the Polari Prize shortlist was outweighed by our pride that A Marvellous Party had been part of their longlist, and that orders for it continue to come in. We’re incredibly close to selling out of the first print run of this wonderful book, so if you’ve been meaning to treat yourself to this romp of a tale, you’d best get your skates on. Rest assured we’ll post copies out as soon as we can – the good folk at our local Post Office get worried if they don’t see us every couple of days.


And now, back to plotting how we put more books and more great stories in the hands of more people. We love our work.


holiday time

It’s been a busy few weeks here at Ignite Villas. Ian Elmslie‘s book A Marvellous Party was longlisted for the Polari Lit Prize (we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed he makes it onto the shortlist next Tuesday) and as if that wasn’t excitement enough, our latest publication arrived from the printers ten days ago, and has been flying out the door ever since.

Thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy of the Tezz Roberts autobiography But after the gig… and a huge thanks to those people who’ve read it already and have started giving feedback (spoiler alert: they loved it).

If you’re intending to buy any of our books, please note that we’ll be taking a well-earned break from Wednesday 25th July to Tuesday 7th August. While we will still be popping online to answer emails, we won’t be able to post out books till we’re back in the office. So, either get your order in quick (and send us down the Post Office laden with books on Tuesday) or wait till early August. The choice is yours.

Whatever you do, and whatever you buy, you’ll be getting a great read. Guaranteed.


quality not quantity

It can be tricky keeping on top of everything when you’re running a small, independent publisher. There’s the admin you get in any job, of course, but to that you can add liaising with authors, posting out orders, reading new manuscripts, and trying to maintain your business profile in the ever-changing sands of the social media world. Trust us when we say that last one’s a minefield, and takes up far more time and effort than it should.


All in all, though, we’re doing quite well. As this last week shows. First of all, Ian Elmslie made it onto the Polari Prize longlist for his delightful memoir A Marvellous Party. As he deserves to be – it’s a brilliant book. You’d expect us to say that, of course, but don’t take our word for it. Read the reviews by readers and in magazines. And then do yourself a favour and buy a copy. You won’t regret it.

This week we also sent the files for our latest book to the printers. But after the gig… is the keenly-awaited autobiography of UK punk legend Tezz Roberts, and it’s an absolute belter. It’s fair to say that Tezz has lived on the edge, and we know that the book will both entertain and amaze you. Advance orders are piling up, and we’ll be shipping those out as soon as the book arrives at Ignite Villas (currently, that’s the 9th July). You can order a copy here.

We may not bring out many books, but when we do… oh boy, they’re good.

P.S. As always, red text is a link straight to the shop page. 🙂


and again….

Here’s some good news! Our book City Baby – which is the autobiography of GBH bassist Ross Lomas, for those of you who somehow didn’t know – is going to be re-printed. That’s the fifth print run for this searingly honest, laugh-out-loud, lump-in-your-throat romp of a story. The fifth! That’s quite an achievement for a small independent publisher.

On top of that, we’ve created a Kindle version of the book for folk who prefer to do their reading in a modern, digital fashion *and* a special North American edition was published by our friends at Bazillion Points. All of which goes to show just how far a good story can travel.

If you haven’t got a copy of City Baby yet, or would like to buy another for a friend, we’re down to our last ten copies (at least till the new print run comes in). Just click on the red text to open the link to our shop. First come, first served!


change

Last week we went to listen to author Kit de Waal talk about her experiences of publishing  – and yes, it has taken us this long to write about it – but that’s because there was plenty to think about and reflect upon in what she said.

First, the bad news. It’s depressing to hear that so little has changed with the ‘big five’ publishers, that they’re still centred on (and understand) London and, all too often, exhibit  an inherent bias against work from the regions or from working-class writers. We’re not suggesting that people who work for big publishers are actively seeking to suppress alternative voices, by the way. There’s no need to embrace a conspiracy theory to explain what’s going on. However, it is fair to say that if they’re asked to evaluate a piece of work when they know next to nothing about the world it’s set in, or don’t recognise the language it uses, then it’s next to impossible for them to offer an informed opinion, and far more likely it’s going to leave them cold, bore them, and end up on the ‘reject’ pile.

Ah, you say, but isn’t this where independent publishers like ourselves come in? Thanks for asking. We wondered when you would.

The good news is that the advent of desk-top publishing and digital printing has been a game changer. It’s easier than ever now to get a book into print. That means the playing field’s been levelled out, right? Well, no. For starters, we don’t have the marketing budgets or the publicity contacts of the big five. Their budget and these contacts mean they’re more likely to get their books reviewed, and make sure the public know about their books, which helps them sell, which reinforces their belief that they’re choosing (and publishing) the books that people want to read.

This isn’t a moan about how hard life is for us at Ignite Villas. We’re very happy with what we do. We’ve achieved respectable sales for all of our books, and every single one of them has turned a profit (sometimes a very small profit, but a profit nonetheless, and you can help that by shopping for our books here). That’s not just important for us, it’s important for our authors, too. As is the fact we share those profits with them, because putting money in their pocket matters to us just as much as it matters to them. 

We’re doing fine. Now just imagine what we could do if we had the contacts of the big five.


that there amazon

We always suggest that people buy their books from local bookshops, small independent stores, or direct from publishers like (ahem) ourselves, but we also recognise that for some people the ease of browsing for the books they want via a huge online retailer is just too convenient. That’s why – despite our reservations – it makes sense for us to have a ‘seller account’ with Amazon.

Those of you who buy our books there may have noticed the prices have gone up a little. The reason’s simple: when we set them, we take into account Amazon’s fee (the amount they charge us for listing the books). Over the past couple of months it’s become clear that the fee they actually charge us is significantly higher than the one they claim we’ll pay. To keep things viable, we’ve had to pass on a little more of that cost than we were before.

So now you know. Prices of books on our website remain exactly the same – and since you’re here reading this, wouldn’t it make sense to buy our books here, too? (wink).

Happy reading!

 


down time

We love January. OK, that’s a love tempered by January’s obsession with dressing itself up in something cold and wet and dismal, while it piles on the guilt about our festive excess, so calling it love may be taking things too far. Maybe it’s something more like affection. Affection for the fact that – for small independent publishers, at least – January also means the opportunity for a little down time. Down time after a busy year of editing, typesetting, publishing and – above all – promoting books.

In the summer, we launched Ian Elmslie’s wonderful memoirs (if you haven’t read them yet, where have you been??) and in the autumn we followed that up with another volume of poems from Steve Pottinger (we recommend that too, natch). Right now, we’ve earned the right to sit back a little and take things easy. We’ll still keep things ticking along, though. Over the festive period we created a Kindle edition of A Marvellous Party for those of you who prefer that option – we’ll always choose ‘real’ books ourselves, but we understand the attraction – and if Kindles float your boat, you can buy that edition here.

While you’re doing that, or going to the gym, or trying to ignore that bottle of wine waving at you from the fridge because you’re doing dry January, we’ll put our feet up, have a little breather, and get on with drawing up our plans for 2018. 

They’re going to be good ones. Happy New Year!


winter words

It’s very festive at Ignite Villas right now. Not because we’ve festooned the place with decorations (we haven’t), and not because we’re busy wrapping presents (we’re not), but because yesterday’s snowfall has transported us from the oh-so-familiar West Midlands to somewhere wonderfully new, where nothing looks the same.

We’re looking at it all through the window, naturally, while munching mince pies and sipping a whiskey. Such is our devotion to our work, though, that we’re tearing ourselves away from that to inform you that Ian Elmslie has been (and is being) a very busy man.

On Monday, he’s one of the guest readers at the final Polari Literary Salon event of 2017, at the Southbank Centre in London. If you’re kicking around the big smoke, you really should make a beeline to the south side of the river and treat yourself to a ticket to this. All the details are here.

Sadly, we can’t be there as we’ve a prior commitment with a sizeable number of mince pies and a bottle of Baileys. We’ll be enjoying those as we listen to Ian’s new audio extracts from his book, which are now up on Youtube. They’re really something special. We haven’t worked out which our favourite is yet, but this one – about the day Ian met Armistead Maupin – has to be up there. Pour yourself a glass of something warming, and have a listen.

Enough of the humbug. Let’s have more of the ho ho ho.


jingle jingle jangle

Thanks to all of you who’ve supported us by buying our books over the past few months. As the nights draw in, we hope you’re all happily curled up with your copies of A Marvellous Party, a fine fine place, City Baby, and co. There’s some great reading to be had between those covers!

Thanks, too, for spreading the word about us. Letting your friends know how much you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, and sharing your recommendations on social media, blogs, and the like really makes a difference to a small independent like ourselves. With Xmas coming up, what better time to point someone towards a book you know they’re going to love?

Oh, and our books make wonderful presents, too. Just saying…


once more…

…unto the launch, dear friends, once more. Less than a month after the hugely successful evening at Gays The Word in London, where we officially welcomed A Marvellous Party into the literary world, we’re venturing forth into the glittering world of celebrity-packed book launches again.

This time we’ll be celebrating the publication of a fine fine place – the latest book of poems from Ignite author Steve Pottinger – at the Lych Gate Tavern in Wolverhampton city centre, on the evening of Sunday 15th October. Free entry, good company, great beer. Oh, and copies of the book will be available to buy.

If you’re in the area, it’d be lovely to see you. If you can’t make it, a fine fine place is also on sale here.


fine, very fine

We returned home to Ignite Villas on Friday afternoon, still floating on the excitement of Ian Elmslie’s book launch in London the previous evening (you can read more about that here, by the way) and found a note pushed through the letterbox: your books have been left next door.

It’s a busy time here: A Marvellous Party successfully launched, and now – fresh from the printers – the copies of Steve Pottinger’s latest volume of poetry ‘a fine fine place’.  The confusion over a missing box has now been resolved (thanks for popping back with it, mister courier) and they’re now all with us. which means they can be with you very soon, if you choose. It’s very simple: just follow this link and we’ll process your order as soon as we possibly can.


Can’t say fairer than that. And now, time to crack on with our next book. More news on that later….


reflection

There are times when being a publisher is a grind, a hard slog. It’s not unique to publishing, of course, any job has its downside. Set against those times, thankfully, are the moments which make it all worthwhile.

Yesterday’s book launch for A Marvellous Party – held at Gay’s The Word bookshop in London – was one of those moments. We’ve always known, from the moment Ian Elmslie sent us the draft of his manuscript, that he was a natural storyteller, with a fascinating story to tell. What we had no way of knowing was that he’s also a wonderfully gifted performer.

Listening to an author read three excerpts from their book so engagingly, with such an easy facility for bringing the characters to life – allowing you to imagine Armistead Maupin or Quentin Crisp are actually in the room and you’re eavesdropping on their conversation –  and all that in front of a packed house, well, that was an absolute privilege. A joy.

As one of the Gay’s The Word staff said afterwards: in thirteen years of listening to authors do book launches, last night was the best he’d heard. Praise doesn’t come better than that. Nor, Ian, was it ever more deserved.

A Marvellous Party is on sale here.


party

This is going to be one exciting week. On Thursday we rattle down to that there London to launch our fabulous new book A Marvellous Party at Gay’s The Word bookshop. It’s not officially published till October 1st, but this is our chance to celebrate the glorious response it’s had from everyone who’s got their mitts on it so far. Boyz magazine loved it. And our readers have, too. Here’s just some of the reviews:

‘I’ve just finished your wonderful book. I am in floods of tears that may never stop.’
‘Loving this book so much. So easy and enjoyable to read. Such warmth.
‘A life-changing book.’
‘The best book I’ve read in years.’
Bloody addictive. I’ve never read better in descriptive text.
‘It is rare that I finish a book and feel it has been a defining moment in my life as a reader. I loved every single word.’

A Marvellous Party would be worth your time and your money whenever it was published. In the year when the LGBT community is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moves to full equality, it’s an absolute must-read. 

At Gay’s The Word bookshop this Thursday evening, Ian Elmslie will read selected extracts from his marvellous memoir. There may – just may – be a re-union performance from Katrina and the Boy, too, which will look a little bit like this. Will this be the most culturally significant and fun happening in London town this year? Quite probably. We’ll see you there.

All the details you need for this event are here.


what happened

Ah well, guess that’s the end of summer, then. *sigh* Time to get back to the grindstone… Which means a stock-take at Ignite Villas, and the discovery – a very pleasant discovery – that over the past few months, while we’ve had our eye on other things, the fourth print run of City Baby has been quietly selling like the proverbial hot cakes.

What that means is we’re now down to the last box of this punk-rock nugget of a tale. A mere 24 copies. Wow. If you want a copy, we suggest you get your skates on (metaphorically speaking).

Suddenly, the end of summer doesn’t seem so bad.

 

 


more marvellous

It’s been just over three weeks since we got A Marvellous Party from the printers. We’re very pleased to say that – in those three weeks – with sales via our website and through author Ian Elmslie getting out and about with the book, we’ve already sold almost 200 copies of this our latest publication.

On top of that, we’ve had the first magazine review – a glowing, full-page spread – in Boyz. There’s been a meeting at Birmingham New St station to pass more boxes of books from publisher to author, while enjoying coffee and pastries. Ian has been invited to read from A Marvellous Party to an LGBT youth group in London, and exchanged stories of experiences.

All this, and we’ve only just begun. Thanks to each and every one of you who’ve bought a copy of this heartwarming book already. So much done, and there’s still two months till A Marvellous Party is officially published. Wow!


marvellous

The party has landed! A Marvellous Party – our new book, written by Ian Elmslie – is now here. In fact, it’s not just here – as any self-respecting party should, it’s got out and about already. Copies are in the post to flats and houses all over the UK, they’re making their way to Spain and Germany, and a big boxful are flying out to the States as I type this blog.

A Marvellous Party arrived on Tuesday, with the rain. This meant a lot of scurrying from pavement to hallway, hallway to pavement and back again till all the boxes were safely squirrelled away in Ignite Villas. Two hours later, we were on a train to London, taking a goodly number of books down to an impatient and excited author. On arrival, we learned that three boxes of books take up more space than is ideal on an evening rush-hour Tube, that dragging 35kg of weight from tube train to escalator to the bottom of a flight of stairs (stairs?? oh god…) is overrated, that whichever exit to the surface you use will be the one furthest from the bar where your author is waiting, and that the pint of beer you have once you’ve got your breath back may well be the best thing you’ve tasted in your life.

Since then, we’ve been fulfilling all the advance orders and plotting publicity campaigns. This morning, we finally had the chance to sit down, draw breath, look at what we’ve achieved, and revel in a sense of great pride at helping bring this beautiful, delightful, entertaining, book into the world. It really is very, very good.

Oh, and if you’ve missed out so far, you can get your copy here. Be sure we’ll pop it in the post as soon as we can.


passion

There’s one thing driving force which underpins everything we do here at Ignite: our love of stories. We’re absolutely passionate about work which has something to say about the world, about how we find our place in it, and – above all – about the extraordinariness of our everyday lives.

Conventional wisdom would look at the time and effort we put into creating our books, the hours, days, and weeks we spend working with our authors so that the end product is something remarkable they’ll always look on with pride, and ask ‘is it worth it?’ Our answer is a simple and resounding Yes! Sure, the bottom line is important – and we should point out here that every single one of our books has turned a profit of some sort or another – and of course we’d love to see the hourly rate for our work come somewhere closer to reflecting the effort we put in, but putting our heart into each and every one of our publications is absolutely central to who we are and what we do.

Human beings have always told stories, and listened to stories. They’ve shared their experiences over a beer, or across a garden fence, or round a campfire. It’s one of the better things our species does. We take huge satisfaction from Ignite’s involvement in continuing that tradition, and in giving a platform to voices which might otherwise remain unheard.

Just over a year ago, Ian Elmslie came to us with his manuscript for A Marvellous Party. We read through it, and knew this was very definitely a story worth the telling. Since then, he and Ignite have worked together to hone his tales into 320 wonderful pages, and in the next few days we’ll be sending the book files off to the printers. Shortly after that, a pallet packed with cartons filled with copies of this brand-new book will arrive at Ignite Villas and we’ll start posting them out.

Those of you have ordered copies already – which shows you’re just as excited about this book as we are – can expect A Marvellous Party to drop through your letterbox soon after July 15th. It will be marvellous. It’s a party, it’s a celebration, and it’s a reflection on what it was like to grow up as a young gay man in 20th century Britain. It’s a beautifully written, candid tale of love and loss and carrying on. It has much to say about fame, and stars, and our shared human condition, and it’s much, much more besides.

Be ready to clear your diary, to sit down and read this book. Trust us, you’re going to love it.


new broom

Welcome to the new all-singing, all-dancing Ignite website! We hope you like the new look (it’s easier on the eye for those of us who have to surf cyberspace in our reading glasses) and we think the cleaner, less cluttered appearance reflects what Ignite is all about. Yes, flim-flam can be entertaining, but we’re aiming for content over that.

All the great reads you’d expect from us are still there, so if you’ve been meaning to grab a copy of one of our books for your friends, it’s just as easy to do so. (If you find any issues, please let us know!)

Oh, and we’ve some great new books in the pipeline for 2017. So watch this space!


up for a prize

It’s always nice to have some good news to share, and we’re proud as punch to announce that Ignite author Carl Stanley is one of the twelve authors on the longlist for this year’s Polari Literary Prize.

If you haven’t yet got your hands on a copy of Carl’s book Kiss & Make Up, you’ve been missing a treat. Candid, hilarious, and outrageous by turns, it’s a glorious romp of a read, the story of a schoolboy from Smethwick who ends up as make-up artist to the stars. Interwoven with this – and what gives the book so much of its power and appeal – is a familiar tale of estrangement, conflict, and reconciliation, a tale which Carl tells with skill, sensitivity, and wit. Oh, and there’s the unforgettable meeting with Mrs Thatcher, too…

Kiss & Make Up is available via Gay’s The Word bookshop in London, Prowler in London and Brighton, and from all good bookshops, as well as online retailers, and – of course – via our website. A Kindle edition is also on sale.

We wish all the longlisted authors the best of luck! The Polari Prize shortlist is announced at the end of July.



australia

This time last week we found the largest box we could, packed it with copies of City Baby, took it to our local agent for an international courier, and sent it on its way. A few days later it arrived safely in Perth, Australia. Which is kind of handy, because that’s where we hoped it would end up.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Western Australia, this is your chance to get your hands on a copy of City Baby – and get it signed by the author, too. Because on Wednesday 24th, UK punk legends GBH kick off their tour of Australia and New Zealand at the Rosemount in Perth, and the chances of getting Ross to sign a copy of his book after the gig are somewhere between high and excellent. As long as one of you has a pen.

After Perth, the tour heads on to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Canberra before nipping across the Tasman Sea to play in Auckland and Wellington. Books will be on sale at each and every gig, and the merchandise stall will happily take cash or card. If by some chance the stock sells out, you can still order a copy of the latest edition from our website. Just click here. But we can’t promise Ross will have signed it.

A great tour just got that little bit better, Australia. Lucky you.