In an interview with the Poetry School, you said ‘I think the state should subsidise the arts for as long as the arts need subsidising to survive, but I do also think that some organisations, such as independent publishers, ought to be able to support themselves as businesses’. I agree. I just haven’t worked out how the hell to do it. Have you any idea what the key might be?
I don’t think many small publishers are actually trying to support themselves – a lot of people are running presses as a side line to their existing jobs. I've been reading the Poetry School 'Pub Chats' with independent publishers avidly and so far it’s just been me and Jamie from Valley Press trying to support ourselves fully and everyone else has said ‘Lord no, of course I have another source of income.’
I think small publishing is the kind of industry that can only become profitable with someone working full-time on it, needing it to be a successful business because this is their livelihood. I’m not sure what kind of business can become profitable without 100% effort and desperation from the founder, but that’s irrelevant because small press publishing is definitely not one of them. People won’t discover what it takes to create a successful business unless they actually try to run one. This is why my friendship and alliance with Jamie McGarry from Valley Press is so important to me: we’re both always looking for ways to develop and expand our businesses because we need them to succeed, because we have no back-up plan.