Monday, 1 December 2008

End of a Chapter

Sharper readers might have noticed I haven't updated this blog over the last few weeks. That's not because I've been lazy, but because I've been in the process of leaving Portico Books.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out the effects of the current economic situation on book publishers -- Portico Books has been particularly vulnerable because of its reliance on UK sales (humour, sport, popular culture, etc don't travel at the best of times). So the decision was taken to halve the list for next year (effectively, to publish the books already commissioned) and ergo, the wage bill too. As publisher, and hence on the higher wage, for me to stay on would have resulted in me working reduced hours, which because of family committments, was not really an option. So I have, sadly, decided to take the payout, and my chances elsewhere.

I've learnt a lot in my two years setting up and running Portico Books. But the thing that has really meant a lot is that I've had the opportunity to commission, publish and work with a bunch of extremely talented and creative writers. There is no better feeling than seeing an author into print for the first time, and I hope that I have helped discover a number of writers who will go on to bigger and better things. That's been the hardest part, really -- leaving such people behind, especially those whose books are still in the pipeline. But I know that in my editor, Malcolm, I am leaving them in extremely capable hands.

As for what I'll do next, well in the short term I'll put the kettle on. After that, at some stage I'll dust myself down and attempt to get back in the saddle. Once you've got publishing in your blood, it's extremely difficult to let go. So watch this space.