1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
We’re book packagers at the moment, but intend to publish in the near future.
3 What's the story of the company?
Too colourful to relate here—but here’s the publishable gist of it.
The two book packaging companies I [Peter Sackett] run, Firecrest Books and Firecrest Publishing, have been around for 18 and ten years respectively, so have reached a level of stability they didn’t have in their earlier years. Between the two companies we’ve sold more than 3 million books in 35 languages in licensing or co-edition print deals. We produce highly illustrated, non-fiction and educational books that straddle trade and library markets for five to 12-year-olds and for Young Adults.
Nowadays our auctions are held in China, no longer in Europe or the US. We print in India and China, and our content marketing and digital work is done in India. But all our design is still done in England, and all our art is still commissioned with European artists, because that’s the quality and style of art that ‘travels’, doesn’t date and is appreciated and admired throughout the world.
4 How's business?
Steady. But that’s not good enough. I’m going to do something about that!
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
The freedom of making my own decisions.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
In the UK, I think the closing down and cutting back of public and school libraries has got to be stopped. Without the encouragement to read through local and school libraries, the book-buying public will diminish and we’ll all suffer as a result—including future generations of would-be readers who will miss out on the benefits of reading good books.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Plan like a magician plans his tricks. Preparation is everything. If you are well prepared you can create your own little bit of magic. That’s with the benefit of hindsight—I didn’t, and everything I’ve achieved has been a struggle.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
The best of both worlds—being independent and yet belonging to a family of like-minded individuals who are happy to help each other. It’s been a long and eventful journey for Firecrest to get to where we are, but who’s to say our journey is coming to an end? It might be only just beginning, now we have the resources of the IPG to hand!