Setting the ball rolling...
Over the last few months, alongside trying to publish two books, write a third and edit a fourth, I've been very busy with two somewhat larger projects. Both of these came about because of throwaway comments - this seems to be becoming a habit with me!
Those of you who followed the Makarelle journey will know that it came about because we were having a bit of a moan about not getting anything published and decided that rather than just complaining, we were going to do something about it. Hence, the magazine was born. When we talked about the future, Jane and I had floated the idea of creating a publishing company as another way of promoting up and coming writers, but without having such tight deadlines every three months. However, it was very much a 'we might do it at some point' idea. Needless to say, it very quickly became more than a pipe dream and turned into something we decided we were definitely going to do.
We spent a long time considering the approach we wanted to take and eventually decided that we were going to launch the company in stages. Initially, we would focus solely on authors who wanted to self-publish in a professional way, but didn't have the know-how to actually produce the book themselves and who didn't have the funds required to use other, bigger companies who offered self-publishing services. However, we were also very clear that we did not want to be a vanity press - we only wanted our company associated with books we felt were ready for publication. It wasn't the easiest set of scales to balance! We were also conscious that in the future we wanted the capacity to expand the company and that meant we needed to equip ourselves with the right set of skills. We both have plans to do editing courses in the near future so that we can offer editing services as well and expand into more independent publishing as well as self-publishing.
The other big project that has been brewing is the Brightlingsea Literary Festival. Again, it was born from a flippant comment I made to BrightWords founder, Helena Nwaokolo. 'Frinton's got one, we should have one too.' Helena obviously thought it was a good idea and a few months later asked, 'Well are we going to do this then?' A flurry of meetings followed and we quickly put together a list of possible events. All sorted. Yeah, right! Contacting authors we thought might like to be involved, organising venues, partnering with Winterfest, planning workshops, liaising with workshop providers...oh and the small matter of making sure that my own book was ready for the launch event. Even once everything was in place, we then had to create social media adverts to make sure we had an audience!
Both projects have been a massive learning curve for everyone involved, but they've also been a tremendous amount of fun and with both, we're already making plans for next year. Fingers crossed this year goes well!!