Publishing Services – seminar

Posted on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

The next conference seminar to be announced is Publishing Services. The focus of this seminar will be to consider publishers who have diversified their business models from traditional publishing to find other ways of capitalising on book content. The SYP have invited Ian Ellard who is the sales manager at Faber Academy to explain the services they provide and how this fits in the book publishing industry.

Leila Dewji is the Editorial Director at Acorn Independent Press Ltd, a high-end manuscript-to-market service. Frustrated that it had become so difficult for new talent to get published in the traditional way, and recognizing flaws in existing self-publishing routes, Leila and her brother Ali established Acorn in 2010. A testament to their quality is that they are now used and trusted not only by authors at all stages of their careers but also literary agents such as: Ed Victor Ltd., David Higham Assoc. Ltd., Aitken Alexander Assoc. Ltd. and many more.




Ian Ellard is the Sales Manager at The Faber Academy, a creative writing school run by the Bloomsbury publisher Faber and Faber. Since he joined, the Faber Academy has tripled in size, launched online courses and seen enormous alumnus success in the form of SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) and Rachel Joyce (Booker long-listed for The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry). He spends his time at work talking to writers and working out ways to use what Faber has learnt over 80 years to help people on Faber Academy courses.



How does Faber Academy differentiate their courses from an MA in Creative Writing?

We’re different to Creative Writing MAs in a number of ways:

1) Our six-month course has the same contact time as an MA, but over a shorter period. It’s more intensive, and more focused on your writing, rather than the academic side. That’s good for some people, and not right for others.

2) We do lots of different sorts of courses – long ones, shorter ones, topic-specific, general, beginners. There’s something for everyone, at whatever stage.

3) The focus is different. We’re publishers, so we’ll help with the practicals – writing more, writing well, getting yourself published.

Why should writers choose Faber Academy over completing an MA?

Only if the specifics of the course look right – We don’t think that an Academy six-month course is per se better than an MA. They’re different. There’s more group feedback, less one-to-one tutor time, for example. There’s more of a focus on getting the things written and establishing a career. It’s different. Our timings might work better for you, for example. Or you might value gaining a qualification, in which case, go for an MA.

With self-publishing becoming more popular, the publishing industry is at risk of becoming littered with rough drafts rather than polished pieces. Do you think Faber Academy will help encourage the publication of high quality literary content?

Faber Academy can only aim to get people to write the best book they can, in a way they’re completely happy with. That’s what we want to do. There’s a whole other industry dedicated to working out what is ‘high quality’ or ‘saleable’ or what-have-you. We want people to come away from a course saying, "Yes, that was helpful, I feel more confident in communicating my ideas in my own way."

Faber Academy would be a great place to complete short stories or poems written on a weekend course. Would this encourage writers to publish more short form books/ digital content?

We do a course called "Write a Short Story in a Weekend" that is exactly about that. But again, it’s completely up to the writer. If you want to publish digitally or in a new way, we can guide you on that. If you want to pursue a traditional route we can help there. If you want to write a 1000-pager, it might take us a little longer, but we can help you get it done. If you want to pop out a short story, we can definitely do that, too! We have to trust that our writers, people who come to us, know, really, what they want to get done – they just need time, structure, support.

How do you see Faber Academy developing in the upcoming years?

We’ve only been around for four years (it’s our birthday in October), and it’s great that we’re already where we are. SJ Watson has sold millions; Rachel Joyce is on the Booker long-list. We know it works. I think in the coming years we’ll have more students, different sorts of courses, and that our online course will be much bigger. But ultimately, we want to keep serving writers of all sorts. They’re good people. We like them. We’re publishers!