The best of independent publishing for 15 years and counting
Snowbooks started in a spare room in Hackney in April 2003 and soon moved to a couple of rented desks in a business incubator on Old Street – before it was cool. We hired staff, signed up authors and our first books hit the shelves in 2004. Waterstone's – before its possessive apostrophe was banished – were our first and most supportive customer and with their backing our first books sold several tens of thousands of copies.
We've always been very interested in the business side of publishing – about being more efficient and canny than others. Early on, it pretty soon gave us a high profile. We won a Nibbie, then another one, then an IPA award too. Later, our books started to win prizes too: The Red Men got shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award and Mark Hodder won the Philip K Dick award with Spring Heeled Jack. You can find reviews of our books everywhere, from The Telegraph and The Sun to SFX Magazine, SciFiNow and The Guardian and on all shapes and sizes of blog.
Our efficiency has been made possible by our technological skill. We are publishers-turned-programmers, specializing in the gorgeously poetic Ruby language and the web application development framework Rails. With the benefit of a sizeable Arts Council grant we launched a sister company, General Products Ltd, in 2012. Through it we licence the software we've written to other publishers, in the expectation that it'll help them as much as it helps Snowbooks. Our main product is Bibliocloud, an enterprise-level publishing management system. The website you're reading right now was populated with data and images from Bibliocloud's API in a single click. The combination of sleek technological efficiency and solid creative excellence is, for us, as potent and heady a combination as it's ever been. So in 2013, Bibliocloud won us the Futurebook Best Technology Innovation award, and the Services to Independent Publishing award in 2017.
So here's to the next fifteen years. Let's hope they're as fun as the first.