Needless to say, in order for a book to be published, the author needs a publisher. The author is generally introduced to a publisher by their agent. This part of the agent’s job is similar to an estate agent – matching up wonderful manuscripts looking for a home with awesome publishers willing to give them one.
My publisher for Help I’m an Alien is Troika Books which is the brain child of Martin West.
Troika Books may not be the largest publisher in the UK, but with Martin at the helm I know I am in safe hands.
Martin West his long career in children’s books at Oxford University Press and Blackie before launching his own list: Happy Cat Books. In 2005 he founded Catnip Publishing Ltd. and in 2006 it was shortlisted for the Independent Children’s Publisher of the Year. Martin later joined Ragged Bears in 2009.
Troika Books was launched in Spring 2013.
Martin kindly took a few minutes away from publishing Help I’m an Alien to answer a few questions for me.
- Why did you decide to set up Troika Books?
I was spending a lot of time helping authors with self-publishing their writing. To this end I set up a company to provide distribution and sales. As I had the infrastructure in place I later felt it was time to join in with publishing my own list, with authors and illustrators of my choice
- How many titles do you aim to publish a year?
As many as my budget allows. That was the plan. But it became clear that I needed to give writers space to develop their ideas rather than to rush into publication, that you have to work at the illustrations to get them right and be constantly checking text – time spent copy editing and proofreading is vital. And a good typesetter is invaluable. Cutting corners is a waste of effort. So publish less and do it well.
- What is the greatest challenge facing a small publisher like yourself?
Finding time for everyone. Finding money to fund what I want to do. Finding new, non-traditional ways of selling. How to promote my list and get the books bought.
- What are the qualities that make a great book?
The way a story is put together – plot, pace, dialogue. Are you desperate to pick it up and continue reading? Does it make you sob, or laugh. Don’t want it to end? And think of those things that will stay with you for ever – Alfie’s special stone, Bonting, that gets lost on the beach, Rosemary Wells’ Noisy Nora slamming doors, from picture books I adored sharing with my family because these were like things happening in our lives too.
When I wrote Help I’m an Alien, I had no idea if anyone would publish it or if they did, who would be my publishing partner in crime. I’m thrilled that it turned out to be Martin West.
I feel very privileged that of all the manuscripts in the world, Troika Books have chosen to publish mine. Help I’m an Alien is out now and there are two more books in the series to follow.
Head on over to the Troika Books website to find out about the rest of their amazing books.