Publishers unite to launch Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales

Publishers unite to launch Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales

Several publishers in Wales have joined forces to form a new umbrella organisation to represent the sector, called Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales (CCPW).

CCPW was launched in recognition of the absence of a single voice for Wales’ publishing sector. It was founded by a core group of publishers from across the country: The University of Wales Press, Welsh Academic Press and Firefly Press in Cardiff; Llanelli-based publisher Graffeg; Crown House in Carmarthen; Y Lolfa in Talybont; Honno in Aberystwyth; Cardigan-based Parthian Books; and Atebol, which has offices in Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Cardiff.

According to Penny Thomas, publisher at children’s indie Firefly Press, conversations about setting up the organisation began “two or three years ago”, however “with time pressures being what they are in indie publishing, it’s taken a while to get off the ground”. Peter Gill, founder and m.d. of Graffeg, says CCPW “has been established by a wide range of publishers who reflect the diverse nature of the industry, from children’s books, fiction, poetry and art, to educational, academic and sports publishers”. He adds: “This organisation is for all of us, and I look forward to working with my colleagues over the coming years.”

CCPW intends to develop publishing from Wales and promote it to the world, establishing a clear identity for the sector. It will also be a platform to showcase the country’s writers and illustrators, as well as its publishing across all genres. It will work bilingually, representing Welsh-language and English-language publishing. David Bowman, publisher at Crown House, explains: “Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales’ aim is to be the recognised, authoritative voice for the publishing sector in Wales, representing all Welsh publishers, both for our collective benefit and for the advancement of the sector. The organisation will support members to expand our reach across the globe, and will foster an ambitious and professional environment in which the sector can thrive.”

 

Peter Gill and Penny Thomas

Speaking for publishers

Thomas feels there was “an urgent need for a strong, publisher-led voice to speak for and represent publishing from across Wales at a UK and international level, and within the country itself”. CCPW’s work will differ from that of existing organisations such as the Books Council of Wales and Literature Wales as it is “a publisher-run membership organisation, speaking for Welsh publishers”. Thomas explains: “The Books Council and Literature Wales are both Welsh government-funded organisations charged with supporting the book trade and promoting literature respectively. The publisher voice has been missing to date.” This view is echoed by Natalie Williams, director of the University of Wales Press, who adds: “This will be the first time that the actual publishers in Wales have a collective voice, and that there is representation for the sector as a whole. The Books Council supports literary works, Literature Wales supports literature. This organisation supports the publishing houses and their needs.”

CCPW has the backing of the Books Council of Wales, which has offered support to the group. Helgard Krause, c.e.o. at the Books Council, told The Bookseller: “I am delighted that publishers in Wales are establishing Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales and look forward to working with this new organisation. Now more than ever, we have to continue our advocacy work in support of publishing, books and the value of reading. To have a partner which is industry led and represents the sector in Wales in its entire breadth is to be much welcomed, as it will further strengthen our work.”

There has also been help from Publishing Scotland and Publishing Ireland, which have been “incredibly supportive” and shared their experiences with the CCPW founders, according to Ashley Drake, managing director of Welsh Academic Press and St David’s Press. He adds that the establishment of CCPW “brings Wales into line with our neighbours and friends in Scotland and Ireland, who both have well-established and independent national publishing associations” and that “Wales finally has a voice in the publishing world”. Parthian’s reading engagement editor, Kathryn Tann, expands: “As publishers, our voices are important, but from Wales they have often felt much too quiet. Collaboration can only be a good thing, strengthening those voices into something that can shout much more loudly about the brilliant books and authors we represent. A unified body, as Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales will be, is something I’m very much looking forward to, and I hope the move helps to spur on progress which, alone, we could only take so far.”

Atebol m.d. Owain Saunders-Jones states: “Wales has so much creative talent to offer. It’s critical as a nation that we have the confidence to not only foster that talent locally to support local communities in a sustainable way, but also to seek opportunities to reach its full potential.” CCPW’s official website, cyhoeddi.cymru, went live today (21st May). On it, the organisation shares its six main objectives (see below).

Looking ahead 

CCPW is now consulting widely with all Wales-based publishers on aims and plans for the future, and a membership model is being developed. Membership is open to eligible publishers with headquarters in Wales and there will be associate membership for affiliated organisations. Input or feedback on any aspect of forming and running CCPW is invited via email, at post@cyhoeddi.cymru. The next stage for the organisation is to appoint a part-time administrator to assist the founders with getting it on its feet as it looks to elect officers and begin planning events. 

Williams says: “This is just the start of our new organisation and the founding members are keen to extend a warm welcome to all Wales-based publishers to join us. We aim to bring publishers across Wales together to unify the sector, and to take a big step forward in boosting Wales’ publishing presence on the world stage. We are very grateful to the many publishers who have given their time during lockdown to bring this to fruition, and we can’t wait to see what we, together and independently, can accomplish through the strength of Cyhoeddi Cymru/Publishing Wales over the coming years.” 

 

Natalie Williams and Owain Saunders-Jones

 

Six key objectives

  1. To give publishing in Wales an identity — Creating solidarity among the publishing sector in Wales, focusing on our common ground. Creating a community based around our shared passion for what we do and our ambitions as a collective.
  2. To put the Welsh publishing sector on the global map — International in outlook, both in aspiration and in representing the sector abroad. Promoting the talent of Welsh authors, illustrators, editors, publishing houses and others to Wales and to the world.
  3. To champion and grow the publishing sector in Wales — Promoting access to print, digital and online content. Ensuring that the value of rights is recognised by everyone, including authors/illustrators, to encourage the flow of investment into the sector. Representing and securing a strong voice for the publishing sector within the Creative Industry/Creative Wales Welsh government focus. Building and demonstrating a compelling case around the importance of Welsh publishing. Understanding the economic importance to individuals and communities within the micro, small and medium business sector. Promoting the value of the “Welsh pound” and the Future Generations Act when it comes to awarding public sector contracts relevant to the publishing sector, and recognising the wider impact on communities when investing in and developing the sector. Advancing publishing excellence, innovation, creativity, resilience and sustainability. 
  4. To encourage the growth of readers within Wales at all levels — Recognising the importance of literacy to society and increasing the volume of readers at all levels of ability. 
  5. To encourage and support the growth of the Welsh language, multiculturalism, and diversity — Bilingual in our identity and operations. Inclusive and diverse in our membership and approach.
  6. To be a unified, authoritative voice for the sector — Representing Welsh publishers when talking to other organisations including (but not limited to): Books Council of Wales; Literature Wales; Creative Wales; Welsh government and media; Welsh universities with courses relevant to the sector; and other trade bodies in the UK and worldwide. Lobbying and working with Welsh government and other relevant organisations and causes.  

You can read more content from The Bookseller's Wales Country Focus 2021 here.