I was really pleased to be able to catch up with Katriona Chapman of Avery Hill Publishing to find out everything you could possibly want to know about the life of a successful indie publisher. Award winning Avery Hill is a London based publisher who seem to have an amazing ability to find some of the most creative talent around.
What was your route into publishing and comic book storytelling?
Katriona “I started out self-publishing my own art books and zines, then was lucky enough to make contact with Ricky from Avery Hill Publishing around the time that he was looking for someone to help him and Dave with Avery Hill. Like me, they had started out self-publishing zines but had moved on to publishing work by other comics creators by the time I met them. They were at a stage where they needed another team member and had seen me marketing my own projects on social media and thought I could help them with marketing and other tasks. None of us really knew what we were doing in terms of running a publishing business, so it’s been a case of just figuring it all out as we went along!”
What have been the biggest challenges for Avery Hill?
Katriona “As I say, we’ve had to work out how to expand what we do beyond small-scale selling of comics online and at cons, but luckily Ricky’s always been great at figuring out what the next move should be… whether it’s been expanding our distribution or raising our profile in North America. None of us work on Avery Hill as a full-time job, so getting all the work done that needs doing is definitely one of the biggest challenges. Recently we’ve had a huge hike in print costs and massive disruption to international shipping, so there’s always something! From a marketing perspective I’d say getting noticed by press/media outlets outside of the ones that typically deal with comics (like the amazing Broken Frontier) can be challenging. Plus, there’s the fact that comics are such a small niche in UK publishing… we’re always aiming to contribute to the drive to have comics taken more seriously and increase readership in the UK, so that the comics market in the UK can expand to support the fantastic creators out there who deserve to have their work seen and appreciated.”
There is an incredible line up of publications coming out this year, tell us more.
Katriona “The first book of the year (due out in May) is Pet Peeves by Nicole Goux. It’s a really fun, dark story of a young woman trying to sort her life out and pursue her interest in music. She adopts a stray dog and falls in love with him, but there are some sinister consequences…
“Big Ugly”, by Ellice Weaver, comes out in June… it has stunning illustration work and a fascinating story of troubled sibling relationships.
And we’re publishing a graphic novel adaptation of Macbeth by an artist called K. Briggs in July. It’s the complete text of the play, illustrated with some amazing mixed media/collage artwork that evokes Medieval art and is atmospheric. As a Shakespeare fan, that’s really exciting for me!
There are three other books due out in the autumn… I can’t reveal all of them just yet, but one is a new Owen D. Pomery book that we’re really excited about. Owen’s worked with us for years, but this is a really new genre of story for him, and the artwork is just incredible. Keep an eye on Avery Hill’s social media or sign up to our newsletter for updates!”
Difficult I know but which are your all-time top 5 bestsellers and recommendations?
Katriona “A good set of top 5 best-seller recommendations that also show a range of what we do would be:
On a Sunbeam – Tillie Walden
The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott – Zoe Thorogood
What We Don’t Talk about – Charlotte Kristensen
The Great North Wood – Tim Bird
Victory Point – Owen D. Pomery”
To catch up on Avery Hill Publishing news and publications visit their website here >
Click here to preorder Big Ugly by Ellice Weaver