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Firebird Press – Interview with Dominic Gilmour

Dominic works in Sales and Marketing at educational publisher CGP Books. He has a Masters degree in Publishing from the University of Derby and a strong interest in environmental sustainability. In this interview, he discusses Firebird Press, a new venture publishing its first title on 14 May.

How did the idea to start a press come about?

It was a combination of things, really. The idea was first sparked by a conversation I had with The Badger from Bearded Badger Press. We were in the same class at university, and one day we were discussing the idea of a business model that solely used Amazon’s self-publishing arm, KDP. I explored this idea further in my dissertation, in which I investigated how publishing companies can be more environmentally friendly in their operations. One component that I explored was Print on Demand (POD). Having looked into the logistics, the concept of a POD-only publisher was one I wanted to experiment with.

I was stewing on the idea for several months before I was approached by the writer’s group, Firebird Writers, who had a body of work but needed help publishing it. I was more than happy to help, and after explaining the idea, we agreed that this business model would be the most effective way for us to operate.

What makes Firebird different?

In the hope of exploring and learning about different methods of creating and publishing books, Firebird Press does things slightly unusually. Firstly, as already mentioned, all of the books will be made via POD. This means that when someone clicks ‘buy’, their copy of the book isn’t actually made yet. The book is only made once the order has been placed, which means there are no large print runs, no excess stock and no storage fees.

We use Amazon to handle all order fulfilment and shipping, meaning there’s no running back and forth to the post office. This decision was made so we could explore the environmental side of publishing using POD; in terms of miles covered, the book is printed in the UK and is shipped straight to the customer, so it doesn’t go to a warehouse (or my garage, as would likely be the case) before heading to the customer. This method does mean that next day delivery is out of the question, but again, this is a far greener option.

Above all, our aim is to publish exceptional writing from writers of any age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or disability. We’re here to champion writing that we love, and if we think others will love it too, then this will carry the most weight when deciding whether to publish them.

To add to all of this, Firebird Press is a not-for-profit organisation. The money made from the books will get put back into making more books and communicating stories that we believe deserve to be heard and that might slip under the radar of larger publishing organisations.

Your first book is out soon. What can you tell us about it?

It is a blend of everything we love about writing. Resurgence is an anthology of short fiction and poetry, whose theme is concurrent with the title. Inside, you’ll find everything from contemporary forms to more traditional styles. We have writers spanning the decades, reflecting on their experiences as well as sharing unique perspectives and hopes for the future. There are poems that resonate on multiple levels, while others strive for simplicity and the beauty of the written word. In short, we hoped to collect a body of work that anyone can enjoy, offering an introduction to poetry and short stories to those who might not read them often, while also striking a chord of familiarity for those who read these forms more frequently.

We also wanted to make the book an object to treasure, so to add to the brilliant writing, the book is also illustrated. With the help of the brilliant Aleksandra Simonović, the book has become an object to behold, and having the illustrations sprinkled throughout gives it a feeling of unity. Aleksandra is on Instagram at @ink_erebus.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to publish a book of their own?

The best advice I have is to do it collaboratively. Having a sounding board is one of the most valuable things out there, especially when you’re taking on a project with so many components, many of which might not be your specialism. Not only that, but having someone to work with is a lot of fun!

I was fortunate enough to have the wonderful Alice Noel (@Alice_Noel) as my co-publisher, and throughout the process we helped each other to learn, solve problems and negotiate the hurdles that appeared in our path. We’re both incredibly excited to set this book free into the world, and we can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Firebird Press!

You can keep up to date with Firebird Press on Twitter at @PressFirebird.


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