Independent publisher Galley Beggar Press will launch a new short story list in 2015 to help lesser-known writers, for whom “getting a collection out there is still something of a battle”.
Galley Beggar Press co-founder Eloise Millar told The Bookseller that “publishers have an obligation to publish more widely and ambitiously when it comes to form”, and indies could help publish more short story collections that bigger publishers were not willing to take a chance on for commercial reasons.
The list will publish two short story collections a year, and unlike the main Galley Beggar Press list, which leans toward debut authors, “there will be a wider range of emerging and more established authors”, said Millar.
“I think that many of the mainstream publishers do sterling work, and have amazing lists (Picador in particular has some fantastic authors) - but the fact is that the decision-making process of the bigger houses can be very risk averse, which is not the best way to sponsor literature,” said Millar. “This can be depressing. But it's also left a gap in the market which independent presses are more than willing, and able, to fill.”
The first title released by Galley Beggar Press will be Wrote for Luck by D J Taylor, who has previously written novels and biographies, including the 2003 Whitbread Biography Prize winner Orwell: The Life (Vintage), and who is the first non-debut Galley Beggar Press has taken on.
The publisher decided to launch its short story list, which does not have a name but design-wise “will be quite distinct from our novel range”, after the success of its digital singles club, which sends out a digital short story once a month by an up-and-coming author.
Millar said: “Given the success of this, as we slowly expand, it seemed quite natural to turn to develop this project with short stories into a paperback range. We also felt that it would be exciting to try something slightly different.
“The short story has had an amazing year, what with George Saunders winning the Folio and the media storm around Hilary Mantel's collection - but the fact is that these are two literary giants, and for other writers getting a collection out there is still something of a battle. Which is where the indies - such as ourselves - can come in.”
Galley Beggar Press was the original publisher of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, which it took on after McBride spent 10 years trying to find a publisher. The book has won a number of awards, including the 2013 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the 2013 Goldsmiths Prize, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award and the 2014 Desmond Elliot Prize. In April this year a paperback edition of the book was published by Faber in partnership with Galley Beggar Press.