Twenty-eight days later

August 15, 2023 3 min read

Twenty-eight days later

Twenty-eight days following the purchase of stock and assets of Sandstone Press what are Vertebrate Publishing’s plans for the future of this fine imprint?

Firstly, an apology. While we have tried to contact every author and agent with a holding email, we have, so far, only spoken directly with about a third of those on an individual basis. We will continue working through titles one at a time. Rest assured we are working hard for us all. It is a case of no news is good news.

Our first challenge was to move all the stock from a warehouse in Scotland to our distribution company, Central Books, in London. This is now complete. Central Books is a superb home for the Sandstone titles. They are a long-established, employee-owned business representing many publishers including our own Vertebrate titles. Sandstone could not be in better hands. Central is up and running and sending out multiple Sandstone orders every day.

We have a plan for all the front list books with titles like The Grief Nurse, Out of Mind, Pages From My Passport, Small by Small, Voices from the Hills, Lipstick and Leather, Blue Eyes and a Wild Spirit, Dead Man Driving, Kings of a Dead Worldand The Last Sunset in the West all getting proper marketing attention. Once we have these titles off to a good start we will work our way through some of the slightly older titles to ensure everything is being done to support them. We have added in more sales and marketing support to our business including a new publicist.

We have done a little work on the Sandstone website, and, once again, it has all the books listed and links out to retailers for purchasing. Thanks here to Waterstones who have been great putting many Sandstone books back onto their shelves. The bit you don’t see is the data work getting done. All the titles have been ingested into our systems and we are in the process of pushing that data out to all the places like Amazon, Nielsen, Gardners, the indie book trade and internationally that need to see it.

Other positives are that we are once again supporting events and a few Sandstone authors are out and about. Kim Hawes was recently at the Firestorm Festival and will be at the Outwith Festival next month.

We also aren’t standing still with new titles. A new paperback edition of High Risk will be at print next week and a new edition of Cairngorm John is being released in September. We are currently closed to submissions, but that is just temporary.

Authors will be pleased to know that royalties are accruing on all titles, and not just printed copies. We have done work with our audio partner and ebook partner to promote, sell and amass royalties on those titles. Working with Casemate in the US we have once again got international sales flowing.

There has been concerns about Vertebrate’s experience, particularly with the fiction list. Let me say at this point, we know books, we are the 2022 Small Press of the Year, our team is second to none when it comes to commissioning, producing, promoting and administrating a list, any list. Look to any Vertebrate title for sales performance, quality of content, editing, reach, author satisfaction or commercial success. These are the kinds of skills we will be bringing to the Sandstone titles. However, because we are book people, we do know it will be hard work. Don’t think we don’t need help, a bit of patience and some trust over the next few months.

Next job, there are plenty, but in the meantime if you want to buy a Sandstone title you are more than welcome to – your support for the authors would be greatly appreciated.