It’s a special bonus Small Business Update today, because Ellie Levenson’s book, “Election”, published by her own publishing company, Fisherton Press, launches today! I joined in with a Kickstarter campaign to publish this book, and I received my own copies a few days ago (pop over here to my book blog for photos and a review). So it seemed fitting to publish this update today. When I originally interviewed Ellie in November 2013, she had only just set up the Press and hadn’t been going long enough to be able to answer all of my starter questions. She did, however, have this to say about where she wanted to be by now: “Having launched our first few books and hopefully seeing orders for them roll in! And preparing a big launch for our Kickstarter crowdfunded project, Democracy for Toddlers”. So as well as being a bonus Small Business Update, this one has bonus questions! Let’s see how things are going as the first book comes out and the reviews start coming in …
Hello, Ellie! Thanks for taking a moment at this busy time to answer my questions. First of all, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
I originally thought we would have published some books by now but it quickly became apparent that these things take a bit longer than anticipated so I very quickly decided to take a bit longer about things. Our first book is now published, with three to five more planned for this year depending on when they are finished and when I think the market is right.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
So far nothing, but I am sure I will learn many lessons over the coming year.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Again so far nothing but we’ve only just published the first book. Ask me again next year.
Will do! What are you glad you did?
I’m really pleased I paid a designer to do my logo and website as I think they look professional and will be usable for some years to come.
What’s your top business tip?
So far it’s one I gleaned from a book by the Not on the High Street founders, which is don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need. So I haven’t had business cards made or had a launch party.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
It’s been tempting to diversify as I’ve been sent some great book pitches for audiences that aren’t my target and it has taken a lot of willpower to stick to my original plan, for now at least.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Just that I have slowed things down and decided to take more time over the whole process.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I’ve learned a lot, but so far I don’t wish I’d known anything in particular … but watch this space!
Any more hints and tips for people?
Your friends want to help you and will like to hear about progress and offer advice where possible. Use (but don’t abuse) their good will. On the other hand, also feel able to say no to friends – I have had some pitches from friends that weren’t right for the company and have had to politely say no even though they are people I would like to work with or feel I should work with. Also, if someone is messing you around early on they will continue to do so, and therefore call time on a working relationship as soon as it isn’t working rather than waiting to see if it improves – it won’t.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Hopefully with a few books published, learning what works and what doesn’t, refining our processes, sticking to quality not quantity, perhaps even turning a profit…
It’s all very exciting – this first book is a good one, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this new publisher develops over the next year!
Fishterton Press‘s first book, The Election, by Eleanor Levenson and Marek Jagucki, is out now. and is available direct from Fisherton Press, from Amazon and from Ellie Levenson’s local independent bookshop, The Big Green Bookshop.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.