So you want to start a publishing company? • 25 February 2007 • The SnowBlog

So you want to start a publishing company?

          Oh, I wouldn't if I were you. Oh, no, no. It's far too competitive. The retailers won't talk to you. There's no way to predict whether a book will do well or not. You'll end up with a warehouse full of stock. What's the easiest way to make a million pounds in publishing? Start with two million, har har. 

And so on. Just a small sample of some of the oh-so-useful advice we got when we started talking to people about starting Snowbooks. People are very good at giving advice based on their own experiences, without taking a moment to consider the experiences and capabilities of those they're advising. If I was starting out again, here's the advice I would have benefited from. 

It's a good idea to understand your angle, and be happy to exploit it. I don't mean an editorial angle - more the point of reference from which you're approaching publishing. Rob and I, for instance, understand multiple retailing very clearly. We use that to help us create books that retailers will do well with. Other publishers use their journalistic background to great effect - Short Books, for example. Picadilly Press use the teaching expertise of their founder to fill a gap in the market. If you're a bookseller, use your bookselling expertise to inform your editorial strategy. If you're an accountant, use your financial management abilities to run a tight ship. Your past is your best asset!  


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

Many of the older posts in our blog archive suffer from link rot. Apologies if you see missing links and images: let us know if you'd like us to find any in particular.

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