In 2013 a small group associated with the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme decided to set up a small publishing press. We’d been thinking about it for a while, but with mainstream publishing in a state of flux, and publishing opportunities diminishing, we thought it was the time. A bit brash maybe, but we were confident that we could do something different, and make it work.
So we’ve set up Escalator Press. The group running the press is a mix of tutors and past and present students, with a pretty fine range of skills – arts marketing, publishing, administration, social media, editing, and of course writing. We’ve developed a new funding and operating model. Book production is done by the Whitireia Publishing Programme.
In 2013, Escalator Press published my novel, The Score, as its first publication (print and ebook). So it was the guinea pig book. We needed to see how well our financial model worked, how well the marketing worked – how well everything worked! And it was very successful. Not in every way – we have a lot to learn about marketing e-books, for example – but enough to give us a lot of forward momentum. For 2014–2015, there are four books in the pipeline, and we’re reading another two manuscripts.
It’s been a crash course in publishing, and we’ve got plenty more to learn. But it’s also exciting, and we’re hoping that we’re developing a model that other small-scale ventures, or groups of writers, can use.
You can read more about Escalator Press here.