Spotlight on Publishing: Buried River Press

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about how the imprint was started?

We launched Buried River Press in spring of this year, and have published seven titles to date. The imprint draws on Robert Hale’s success of over seventy-five years of independent publishing experience, and represents our growth into the more commercial paperback market. It offers great stories and skilled storytelling from the pens of new and established writers, curated for readers who are looking to be excited, inspired and informed.

2. It’s such an intriguing name, too – where did that come from?

The imprint is named after the Fleet, the largest of London’s historic subterranean rivers. The Fleet is located, like us, in the heart of Clerkenwell, and it seemed only right to draw on the literary heritage of the area.

3. What’s the best thing about being part of an indie publishers, and what are the challenges, too?

We get to work incredibly closely with all colleagues in the book world: authors, agents, booksellers, and our distributor. It’s motivating to see the impact that a successful campaign can have on all of these contacts, and to join the authors and their books on the journey through the publication process. Making our books discoverable is a challenge – it’s difficult to secure shelf space in bookshops and to get publicity coverage, especially for emerging writers. This means that we have to be more creative in how we reach out to customers, booksellers and publicity contacts, all on a very tight budget.

4. And what will 2015 bring for Buried River Press?

We have a fast start to the year scheduled, with eight books publishing. Out in January is The Barchester Murders, by G.M. Best, an historical murder mystery with Anthony Trollope at the centre of the action and featuring some of his most loved characters. It’s exciting to publish this in the bicentenary year of Trollope’s birth, during which I’m sure there will be much discussion of his works and legacy. I’m looking forward to the publication of Three Strange Angels by Laura Kalpakian in March. This wonderfully written book tells the story of Quentin Castle, a junior partner in his father’s 1950s London-based literary agency, who is sent to L.A. to accompany home the body of a brilliant but wild novelist. The few days spent by Quentin in California have a lasting and devastating effect on his life.

5. How do you think publishers will cope with the tough industry conditions in the next few years?

Everybody knows that the industry is changing rapidly. We need to become more aware of customer needs and behaviours, to connect with readers directly, and continue to be digitally progressive across all departments. I think that the negative impact on independent publishers and booksellers of recent industry shifts is levelling out slightly; there’s been a concerted effort to mediate the effect of these shifts with initiatives such as Books Are My Bag and My Independent Bookshop. Ultimately success depends on us having customer insight, and being adaptable and creative.

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Questions by Victoria, one of the Shiny New Books Editors.

Visit Buried River Press’s website here.