Brand(ing) Independence

In praise of small presses

In: Logos

Background: There has been little formal reflection by independent publishing practitioners on how they (do or don’t) capitalize on their brand or imprints.

Aim: To discuss the unique opportunities presented by a small press’s ‘small’ identity.

Method: To document my own experience—as commissioning editor for a trade press, after co-founding a tiny start-up—in the broader context of industry knowledge acquired as editor of the Australian national trade press journal and a publishing academic.

Results: Through the creative writing of a personal opinion piece, I explore how our ad hoc personality-driven small press network may be particularly well primed to respond to challenging—and changing—circumstances.

Conclusion: That it is the nature of independent publishers, whether commercial ventures or micropresses, to be agile and adaptable; to respond intuitively to perceived opportunities; to connect directly with reading communities. That it may also be in the nature of an industry that proudly identifies and markets itself as individualistic and personality driven to not necessarily identify and articulate any such specific strategies … or, indeed, maintain them.

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