A small independent press is partnering with a charity to donate free paperbacks to readers in Derbyshire as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Ethical press Inspired Quill (IQ), which began life in a student house in Leicester, weathered the pandemic due to support from the local community, and is joining forces with Derbyshire LGBT+ to donate a paperback to the charity for every 10 books it sells through its website.
Managing director Sara-Jayne Slack, (pictured, right, with business developer and editor Laura Cayuela Ferrero), said: “Surviving this long is a massive milestone as a lot of small presses go under even if they have success in the short term. Out of every 10 small businesses, eight fail within three years and the same is true of publishing.
“The pandemic has been the final straw for some because many small publishers rely heavily on literary festivals and events so their sales have been impacted, which is true for us too, but we’ve managed to keep going. To still be publishing new titles consistently and maintaining our optimism about the industry is a major achievement.”
Last year Slack was able to keep to her publishing schedule despite being stranded in a Madrid apartment for three months during the strict Spanish lockdown. Slack and her partner were staying there when the pandemic hit, but were unable to board their flight back to the UK as planned.
Slack set up IQ in 2011 because she wanted to give authors a "positive publishing experience" and see more diverse voices in print. She started out as a book blogger while at university which put her in touch with authors. IQ currently has 20 authors across the globe, with writers based in the US, Northern Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand as well as the UK.
Among its titles are Down Days by Craig Hallam, a memoir about depression published in lockdown which shot to number one in the Amazon Mental Health category and Sugar and Snails, a novel by Mansfield author Anne Goodwin, which was shortlisted for the Polari First Novel award.