Thursday 11 October 2018

Review of “Independent Publishing: the joys and tribulations” – a talk by Karin Koller

Karin Koller began her talk by stating that she was an enthusiast rather than an expert in the world of independent publishing.

Soundswrite Press was set up in 2005 with the aim of publishing occasional anthologies of poetry written by members of Soundswrite, a women’s poetry group. Since then, a total of four anthologies, three collections and four pamphlets of poetry have been published. Careful attention has been paid to the aesthetic aspects of the books, and I'm delighted that three of my poems are included in the 2015 anthology.

Outlining the processes involved, Karin Koller made everything sound quite straightforward, and offered advice for anyone considering setting up their own press. She recommended using a print-on-demand service and stressed the importance of investing in a proof copy. She also suggested looking at publications by other presses for design ideas.

Quirky Press, as its name suggests, was established to publish unconventional books and pamphlets. The first publication in 2015, was Somali Lullabies featuring illustrations, English translations of the lullabies, and a CD. This was followed by A Handful of Hungarian Earth - one family’s story of the 1956 Hungarian uprising told in letters written by Anna Koller Eady.

The latest Quirky Press publication is Leonie Orton’s memoir, I had it in me. Leonie Orton is the youngest sister of Leicester-born playwright Joe Orton. Part of the publishing process involved dealing with challenges relating to copyright in order to include quotes from letters written by Peggy Ramsey, Joe Orton's agent. Quirky Press also experienced problems with the print run, and future independent publishers were advised to allow plenty of time to check for, and resolve, any errors before the launch date! Approximately seven hundred copies of the memoir have been sold, and there is now a Kindle edition. Extracts of the book are also available on the British Library website.

Karin Koller is clearly enthusiastic and, after publishing fourteen books, has a great deal of expertise. Once again, she is taking on a new challenge: Take Three will be published in 2019 by Soundswrite Press, and will showcase debut collections of poetry by three women poets.

About the reviewer
Karen Powell is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and magazines including Welcome to Leicester: poems about the city, The Interpreter’s House and Silver Birch Press.

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