If you’ve got an office with the water-coolers and the sofas, and have staff, you have to sell a heck of a lot of books to maintain that situation. I’m not paying staff, I don’t work from an office: I have almost no overheads. My expenses are printing bills and small author advances, usually around £200 against 10% royalties, sometimes a little more. Small presses don’t have big risks. If a mainstream publisher publishes a book and it doesn’t sell, it’s considered a mistake. If I publish a book and it doesn’t sell, hey, nobody’s lost their livliehood, nobody’s drowned. It was something I thought was worth doing. You see, I don’t see it as my business to sell thousands of books. It sounds a bit naive, but I see publishing as a continuation of my reading and writing. They blur into one another. I am just sharing what I enthuse about.
James Tookey interviews Charles Boyle, author and founder of CB Editions.