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Things you may not know about independent publishers 

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I started Guts Publishing in May 2019 and we published our first book in November 2019. Since then we’ve published nine books (more on the way) and I’m proud to say that in 2023 we were nominated for the National Diversity Awards. We were also endorsed by Arts Council England for my Global Talent visa. We’ve had lots of success and media coverage too, which I’m over the moon about. It’s an incredible experience to help people share their stories. 

Publishing is one of those businesses that seems to have an aura of secrecy, and the learning curve is huge when you first start. Along the way, here are some things I’ve learned.

There are book sales statistics online that say: 'the average annual sales figures for literary fiction are lower than 250 copies in the UK.' Although I haven't actually seen any official statistics about small indie publisher sales, that number sounds about right to me. Anthologies sell even less. If you factor in the amount of time and money it takes to prepare a book for publication, then think about the retail price, well you start to get an idea of how things work. One thing I was surprised to find out about is the 50% discount to bookshops (and that's on the low end, most want 60%). If you’ve got a calculator handy, you can see why it’s not exactly feasible for an indie publisher who publishes 2-3 titles a year to expect to make ends meet on book sales alone.

Most small indie publishers have other jobs. For me, in addition to running Guts, I also have a Publishing Coach service and I do freelance editing and consulting. My assistants and interns are funded by grants and work placement programs. I’ve worked with some amazingly talented young people who have contributed substantially to Guts Publishing. Some have even worked voluntarily (something I’m not crazy about, but it does help them get a job afterwards).

I do what I do because I love it. And I've had a lot of help along the way: small and large donations, business development grants and business mentoring from Goldsmiths College. We have built an incredible community of readers and writers in a short amount of time. In just about five years, we’ve published over 70 writers. 


I have heard there’s a buzz going on about Guts and that we’re getting to be known for books that are bold and innovative. Books you can’t find anywhere else. Books that take risks and defy the odds. Books that are unique to an indie publisher. Books that bigger publishing houses simply won’t (or can't) do.

If you’d like to support Guts, please consider making a donation.


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Thank you.

Julianne Ingles
Director, Guts Publishing

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