Bluemoose launches subscription model for its women-only publishing year

Bluemoose launches subscription model for its women-only publishing year

Bluemoose Books is launching a subscription model for the first time to accompany its year of only publishing female writers over 45 in 2020, after celebrating a record month in October.

The Yorkshire-based indie revealed the plans for only publishing women “over a certain age [who] are overlooked in the publishing world” back in January. 

Now the husband-and-wife publishing team of Kevin and Hetha Duffy in Hebden Bridge will launch a subscription model in January for the four books of 2020, all by women over 45. “It’s a way of launching those writers and those books but also a sustainable model for us," Duffy told The Bookseller. "Initially it will be for those four books and then we will see how it will work. We are charging £40 for the four books and a tote bag and free interviews with the writers and Q&As as well."

Anna Vaught's first novel with the indie press, Saving Lucia, will be released in May 2020 while Heidi James’ third novel, The Sound Garden, will be published in July, Sharon Duggal’s second book with Bluemoose, Should I Fall Behind, will be published in September. In October Anna Chilvers’ East Coast Road will become the first Bluemoose book to be published in Russia. 

“We had been thinking about it for a long time and just thought it was a great way to launch these books," Duffy said. "What all the subscription models do is provide a way to sustain publishing from independent publishers. It’s a way for readers to link up with and engage with publishers, it’s like a B2B model. We’re not taking away from bookshops, but I think people want to be involved in the publishing process and contribute to authors’ careers.”

He believes that independent publishers are still paving the way for literary fiction. “I think independent publishers are still doing most of the heavy lifting where literary fiction is concerned, for example the Goldsmiths Prize [which went to a Galley Beggar Press book for the second time with Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newport on Wednesday evening].”

Duffy also revealed that Bluemoose recently celebrated its biggest year-on-year increase with October’s takings up more than a third compared to 2018. “It was a brilliant October," he said. "We saw an increase of 36%. That is the biggest increase we’ve ever seen year-on-year."

He attributed the boost to books such asThe Moss House, by Clara Barley, a novel based on Anne Lister, a 19th-century landowner who lived at Shibden Hall in Halifax, whose life also inspired the recent BBC drama “Gentleman Jack”. “The Americans have gone absolutely crazy over The Moss House,” he said.

Another huge contributing factor has been the success of the Ronan Hession’s debut Leonard and Hungry Paul (recently shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Award and the Irish Book Awards). Duffy told The Bookseller: “The author Diane Setterfield contacted me to say she has bought seven copies and won’t rest until every person in her family has a copy of it. It is a book about being kind and it has really touched people - they love it."