Author Mary Hoffman and her husband Stephen Barber are launching an independent publishing house, The Greystones Press, as an “alternative to commercially driven major publishers”.
The Greystones Press will cover a range of fiction and non-fiction for the Young Adult and adult markets, with non-fiction areas including literature, art, history, music and mythology. Later in the year Hoffman and Barber plan to launch an imprint called White Sapphire, which will publish translated fiction.
Hoffman told The Bookseller that she believed that for large publishers, “commercial success means selling tens of thousands of copies of a title in the first 12 weeks”. She continued: “Without wishing to knock the ‘Big Five’, I think the trouble is we have so few companies, now with a huge number of employees and big premises, and they can only really afford to publish things that will bring in guaranteed money.
“There are many really fabulous manuscripts out there by distinguished, prize-winning writers who just can’t get a contract from a big publisher that has massive overheads. That’s where we come in.”
Titles will be released in e-book and in physical format, and Hoffman and Barber are accepting submissions via the publisher’s website, GreystonesPress.com. Hoffman and Barber aim to get back to writers “really quickly”, said Hoffman, with Barber adding: “Because we are small we will be light on our feet.”
Hoffman, who said setting up the publisher had been “a steep learning curve”, added that The Greystones Press would be offering “industry standard royalty terms” but “because we are a very tiny start-up we can’t be as generous as a big publishing house”.
The Greystones Press will consult with authors on their books’ design and cover livery, with Barber adding: “We can have a much more direct relationship with our authors [than a large publishing house].”
Printing of paperbacks will be done by Clays, while The Greystones Press will use Kindle technology to publish e-books.
Hoffman and Barber have assembled a team of freelances to help with editing and design, while the publisher’s PR is being handled by Four Colman Getty.
The Greystones Press will release its first batch of titles on 23rd April, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Two of the books are by Hoffman: Young Adult novel Shakespeare’s Ghost and David: The Unauthorised Autobiography, an imagined life of the young man who inspired Michelangelo’s iconic statue.
Also being released on 23rd April are adult novel The Italian for Love by Kate Snow; Katherine Langrish’s collection of essays on fairy tales, folk tales and ballads, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles; and Jules Cashford’s non-fiction study of the symbolism of Earth’s only natural satellite, The Moon: Symbol of Transformation. The latter will be released in physical format only.
Further titles will be released by the independent publisher in October.