Saturday, April 02, 2011

About Publishing and Change: a guest post from Woolly Wormhead.

Arbour House Publishing have been lucky enough to work with and publish Woolly Wormhead's marvellous hat knitting books for a number of years now. Sadly, the decision has recently, jointly, and amicably been made that we are not going to be publishing Woolly's books anymore.  

Woolly has written about it very eloquently on her own blog, and has kindly allowed us to repost her words here.

About publishing, and change.

Some of you may remember when I started working with Arbour House Publishing a few years ago. Having first published Going Straight through Lulu, the chance to work with a small publisher couldn't be missed.

And they have been wonderful to work with – they've allowed me creative freedom, we've had many informative discussions about layout and content, and they have enabled my books to reach a whole world of knitters who had no idea my designs existed. Being a small, ethically led company, they've taught me much about the behind the scenes concerns of publishing, much of which most of us don't see, and how that can impact the side of business that we do see. Over this time we've developed an unusual and strong relationship, one that is unique to the publishing world, and one that has allowed us to develop our strengths without compromise. And it's allowed the friendship between Susan and myself to grow.

Sadly, we now need to tell you that we aren't able to carry on as we are, and that Arbour House will no longer be publishing my books.

After much discussion, we can't find a practical way to go forward. Because of our unique relationship, which allows me to maintain the rights to my work, I'm a low profit author for them. With all 3 books due for reprinting, and a 4th one due for release, the investment needed to keep all books in print at a reasonable wholesale cost would have been difficult. Had the investment been made, neither of us would have earnt anything from the books for many months, if not years, with Arbour House running at a loss for a period of time, and that to me didn't sound like the best business investment. Arbour House aren't a big corporate publisher, they are small, independent one with limited funding, funding that I felt would be better spent elsewhere. After tentative discussions with Susan, we both agreed that this was the best way forward. It's best for both businesses, the risk is reduced, and there won't be a strain on our friendship.

The last week or so has been difficult, but as the dust has settled, it's clear that we've done the right thing. Susan and her family are coming over in May for a visit and it's going to be lovely to spend time together and have a real holiday without the need to talk about business.

Going forward, I've been working on a plan or two. I was thrown into a bit of a tizz for a few days, trying to get my head around the available options but it's starting to come together. And ironically, I'll be going back to POD, at least for a while.

CreateSpace is an Amazon owned company, with very competitive printing costs for full colour books. They will get my books onto Amazon, into certain distribution outlets in North America, and wholesale to stores will also be possible. As much as it seems like a backwards step, going from a small independent to a corporate giant, it's the best thing to do right now. Sometimes, we're not in a position to make the decisions that please our inner moral code.

I'm not sure yet whether this will be the long term plan, but for now, it will keep my books available in print. There are a few more things that need to be done before they will be available for sale, and once those are done, I'll be able to direct you to where you'll be able to purchase them.

This change has bought about a huge amount of work, most of which isn't visible on the surface. I hope you can appreciate our reasons, and bear with me while I get a few things straightened out.
From: Woolly Wormhead, 
Susan, Gavin and Ingrid, the Arbour House team

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Anonymous Woolly said...

It is so sad that we're not able to carry on as we were, but it is the right thing for us to do.

And I'm very, very glad that we have been able to agree and work this out amicably! That's one of the silver linings in all of this - that we've been able to part on the best of terms :)

Thank you for everything you have done for me, for all of your help and understanding.

10:27 am  

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