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!


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….


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.


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.