1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
Transport books and biographies.
3 What's the story of the company?
Between 1998 and 2006 I [Bill Munro] wrote several books on cars and military vehicles for other publishers. I approached a publisher with an idea for a motoring book, but sadly, before any deal could be done, the company's owner died. I was then publishing a car club magazine, which I was typesetting myself, so I decided to self-publish.
On a weekend break in Italy, my wife mentioned to the proprietor of our B&B, an expat English artist, that I had started publishing books. He told me he had written a book, and I took his manuscript home to study; it was such a good story that I decided to publish it myself. This is how we come to have two separate strands—motoring books and biographies—in our catalogue. I ran the company as a hobby until mid-2015, when gave up my day job to focus on running the business full-time. Now I plan to expand the business, building the number of both biographies and motoring titles, to a size that will give me a decent income.
4 How's business?
Growing slowly. I'm trading at a profit, but because I only have a small number of titles I'm not yet earning a living. The long lead times involved in publishing are not conducive to fast growth, unless a blockbuster comes along!
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
The freedom to select whatever genres I like.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
Probably the fact that authors' income has dropped so much, which is of course dependent on sales, royalty and cover price. If we lose good authors because we can't afford to pay them properly, I fear we may end up publishing books that have beautiful packaging but second-rate content.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Find your niche.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
It's been a game-changer. The wealth of experience and advice available is invaluable, especially to someone who, unlike some other start-ups, has no previous track record in the publishing industry.