Black Spring Press Group in The Times!

Black Spring Press Group in The Times!

We were featured in England's prestigious The Times newspaper last Friday!

Our director Dr. Todd Swift spoke with Richard Tyler about the struggles facing the small press ecosystem and the hope that exists with big authors like Val McDermid and Lee Child lending their support with collaboration. Small press publishing serves a very important purpose, and the hope is with more of these exciting competitions that we have upcoming we can continue to produce great stories and nurture emerging writers. 

Lee Child says, “You can have the best plot and greatest characters ever, but readers won’t get a chance to find that out unless your opening really sucks them in — your first line, your first paragraph, your first page makes or breaks the whole book. That’s why I’m excited to judge the inaugural competition from Black Spring Crime.”

Val McDermid says, “I’m constantly amazed at the innovative talent that keeps on emerging on the crime scene,” she said, “and the old journalist in me loves being first with the news. That’s why I’m doing this, and to support a small, independent press to do so makes it all the more worthwhile.” 

Small press signs up Lee Child and Val McDermid to help it survive

Todd Swift, owner of the Black Spring Press Group, says it is getting harder for independent publishers to remain viable amid fierce competition.

Child and McDermid are collaborating with The Black Spring Press Group, a 40-year-old company that has published works by Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Stanley Johnson, the father of Boris Johnson, the former prime minister.

Its owner, Todd Swift, 58, a poet, hopes that their support will help it on to a surer financial footing in the face of fierce competition for consumers’ time from the authors of books self-published for free on Amazon Kindle Direct, as well as other on-demand entertainment.

The strain on small book publishers has grown in the past year and Swift pointed to the collapse this month of Small Press Distribution, based in California, which represented more than 300 small publishers, ensuring that their books reached independent book shops across America.

“The true small presses are dying,” he said. “All that has to go right is that we have to sell more books, but last year was bad. We used to sell between £30,000 and £40,000 in December. Last year we made about £3,000. It was catastrophic. If we were an aeroplane, we lost altitude and almost crashed.

“But what is sound is the brand, the value of the books, the crime series, and that is why it is so important to have someone like Lee Child, as he is not going to back a loser, or let it lose.”

Child has judged a crime fiction competition for the press and has written an introductory essay to the accompanying anthology, The Big Bang!. The publisher chose what it believed to be the 100 best opening pages to new crime fiction before Child chose a shortlist of ten and then the winner. The anthology is out on June 1 in hardback, priced at £20, and Child has promised to “be first in line to buy” any novel that the winner goes on to write.

Read the full Times article ONLINE HERE

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