or, ‘what Jamie thinks you should do, and in what order, to make books happen in this crazy modern world’

Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

Those familiar with my output on the subject of small press publishing will be bracing themselves for a lot of financial talk in this article, at least one graph, and maybe even a couple of indecipherable formulas — so let me reassure you straight away, that won’t be the case. …

“Question Mark“ by Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, photographed by Leo Reynolds

Last week I posted ‘A One-Page Business Plan for a One-Person Publishing Company’, and since then there’s been the usual deluge of comments, queries and requests in my inbox. Rather than answering everyone individually, I thought I’d collate all the extra information into a new post — so here we go. Hope this clears everything up!

A couple of people asked for the RRP formula as an actual formula… it’s tricky to express such things elegantly on Medium, but here goes:

{ ( [ your hourly rate inc. salary and other overheads × hours needed for project ] + print…

Or, how you can make £24k a year from small press publishing, ethically and sensibly, with minimal headaches and a 20-hour working week. No, really.

Though it’s been a few years since I ran Valley Press entirely on my own, for some reason I find myself coming back to the ‘solo publishing’ scenario again and again; this article being no exception. The plan below doesn’t have any new research or ideas — it’s simply another way of explaining what I’ve been going on about since I first started writing about this topic. …

Indie publishing has always delivered its fair share of horror stories; sadly, most of them involve booksellers and percentage points, rather than spooky clowns, sexy werewolves and so on. Here are some tips from Valley Press director Jamie McGarry on how to sell to the big boys and still come out on top.

When small press publishers meet up, online or in person, one topic never fails to arise: the difficulty of dealing with large bookshops, specifically when they request (or demand) books be supplied at a 40% discount from the RRP. …

In this sequel to the now-legendary series ‘Small Press Publishing for Profit’, Valley Press founder Jamie McGarry shares his answer to a rarely-asked question: if your publishing house had fifteen full-time staff, what would they all do?

Now we just need the publishers… (Photo: Benjamin Child)

Last year, when I wrote ‘Small Press Publishing for Profit’ (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), I was looking back to the birth of Valley Press, focusing on how to make a reliable living as a one-man band ‘indie publisher’. …

The ideas in this post, written in September 2016, served me well for a couple of years, and got me to the point of being able to take on some permanent staff and turn my business into a Limited Company. I hope you find them useful.

I’ve heard the following piece of wisdom many times, from far more successful and educated people than me: “build your plans around survival; consider anything above that a bonus.” So that’s where we start.

Survival for me is £1800 a month. That’s not quite subsistence living, but I don’t want my family to suffer…

A follow-up to this recent post, which examined the performance of thirty-one small press publications, looking at units sold vs. profit for each. Below, I answer some questions that have arisen since the original article.

Can I ask where the *other* genres, besides single-author poetry collections, appeared on your graph?

Good point — I’m so obsessed with poetry I forgot to comment on the rest! Here’s an expanded version of the chart, with novels in yellow, short story collections in orange, and poetry anthologies (i.e. not single-author) in dark green:

Tentative findings: novels generally will sell more units, but are…

A post in which Valley Press founder Jamie McGarry attempts to apply some of the thinking behind ‘big data’ — and data analysis in general — to the world of small-press publishing, using only four charts (we promise).

Mention ‘big data’ to a high-flying publishing CEO and they will rub their hands together gleefully, in anticipation of the impending riches coming their way. Mention it to a small press owner, and they may sigh and change the subject (or look profoundly baffled, depending how much time they’ve spent reading business articles lately).

These are sensible responses, because ‘big data’ needs…

The long-awaited fifth and sixth installments of a series in which Valley Press founder Jamie McGarry reveals his tried-and-tested formula for making a living as a self-employed literary publisher. This week: what to do after you’ve broken even, and how to re-invest the results.

A prosperous-looking young publisher speaking on a panel at the Northern Short Story Festival. (Photo: Raj Passy)

Back in the spring, I wrote a series of articles explaining how someone could make a living as a self-employed publisher of literary books. Here’s a bullet-pointed summary of my proposal, so far:

The fourth installment of a series in which Valley Press founder Jamie McGarry reveals his tried-and-tested formula for making a living as a self-employed literary publisher. This week: pricing books, print economics, and overheads.

A complete selection of titles published by Valley Press between 2011 and 2015 — some big, some small. (Photo: David Chalmers)

This series began by explaining how a ‘small press publisher’ could make £3 from the sale of a single book priced at £8.99, and having reinforced that, went on to describe how to build a business around the £3 — by producing each new title in nine working days, and selling an average 200 copies of these titles to a growing ‘tribe’ of eager readers.


Jamie McGarry

Founder @valleypress. Have mostly written here about small press publishing, but am starting to branch out. Stay with me, people!

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