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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.