1 What's your company called?
The Curved House. The name was inspired by a Louise Bourgeoise sculpture of the same name. Apparently curved walls are maternal and we are all about nurturing people—and books and businesses—so it's a nice fit!
2 What services or products do you offer?
We offer a full range of creative services: everything from designing websites, books and branding to producing videos and animations, developing publishing strategies and developing authors. We also run one to one web and social media training with the Society of Authors, which has been hugely popular with both authors and their publishers; the last series sold out in less than two hours.
We also have publishing interests that provide platforms for partnerships. Curved House Kids is a children's education company that works with businesses and organisations to create visual literacy resources. Our most recent partnership is the Principia Space Diary with the UK Space Agency, and Visual Verse is our online anthology of art and words around which we run events and promote writers whose work we admire. Last November we ran an event with WordFactory at its monthly literary salon, and produced a special issue with indie publisher Limehouse Books.
3 How can you help IPG members?
We function as a creative support crew. Publishers can outsource bits and pieces of the publishing process, like design, typesetting, project management and web development, get us in to train authors to use the web and social media, or bring us on board at a higher level to help grow their profile. We know how to use design and digital platforms to grow businesses, and the most rewarding thing for us is to help others do the same.
4 What do you enjoy about working in publishing?
Books are like a secret weapon: they inspire, teach, provide an escape or embody big ideas. We get to work with amazing people on these secret weapons that ultimately empower lots of other people. That is hugely motivating and makes it pretty easy to get up in the morning.
5 What do you think is the single biggest opportunity and the single biggest threat for independent publishers right now?
The single biggest opportunity is agility. Smaller, independent businesses can get new titles to market as soon as an opportunity presents itself. I guess the biggest threat is cashflow, as it is with most businesses, but indies have the luxury of being able to diversify quickly to counter this risk.
6 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
Before starting The Curved House I [Kristen Harrison] worked for a large publisher, and was very much in a big business mentality when I started out on my own. The IPG has shown me how smaller businesses can run, and has opened up my network to some incredible, inspiring people. It also offers personal and genuine support, which is so important when you are running a business on your own.Visit the Curved House website