The Hatchet Green Backstory
When we launched in 2010, the first book that we published (seen below left) was an anthology of environmental writing from the 1700s to the 1920s – about what is, today, Britain's smallest National Park. Coming soon, the debut publication for our new 'Hatchet Green Arts' series will showcase the work of contemporary artists and makers from Scotland's Northwest Highlands and Islands, and include contextual essays, artist and craft maker profiles, and an extensive listings and directory section, too. Scheduled for publication in early 2019, North-Northwest (below right) is our most ambitious project yet.
In 2012, we published our first social history title – John Wainwright's 'The Last to Fall: The Life and Letters of Ivor Hickman', which received well-earned positive reviews from Spanish Civil War historians. Although we like to build lasting relationships with authors, we later assisted the author in his preparing of an updated edition for him to publish via his own Micro Press that he went on to establish.
The cover proof for Wainwright's 'The Last to Fall' (below) conforms to the Hatchet Green Press house-style used for the large majority of our publications. Although our house-style for design has been subtly refined over time (as can be seen from other titles on this page), we occasionally depart from it on a book-by-book basis, dependent upon a publication's intended audience or current genre trends.
Design is something that we take great care over. Each author's needs are different, but when formatting pages our rationale is based upon the desire to produce elegant publications that allow for both ease of reading and clarity of style. Text is generally set in Garamond (Trajan and Myriad Pro preferred for covers) and all of our books are set in-house, before being sent out for printing and finishing here in Scotland.
Below – checking the proofs for Risa Stephanie Bear's volume of collected poems titled 'The Grace at the Heart of the World'. The cover illustration by Sally Seymour (partner of the late John Seymour, father of the self-sufficiency movement of the 1970s) was also used for the frontispiece of Bear's book. We do not out-source our editorial work, preferring to oversee the entire publishing process ourselves.
The authors we work with are not just located in the UK. Risa Bear lives as a subsistence farmer near Portland, Oregon, where she works one acre in the Willamette Valley. A former tree planter, forest fire fighter, and timber cruiser, she also holds an M.A. in English and M.S. in Arts Management. ‘Grace at the Heart of the World' was the first collection of her poetry to be published here in the United Kingdom.
More than any other literary form, probably poetry requires the most attention to layout and line-by-line formatting, arranging a consistent and pleasing 'look' to the ways in which it may have been written (e.g., blank verse, short line poems, staggered line styles, etc.). Our house style for formatting poetry is based upon the standard long-established by Faber & Faber – it is elegant, timeless, and just 'works so well'.
Powerful images can be the key to the success or failure of a book, which is why we commission talented artists and photographers to produce images that make our publications stand out and be noticed – and we thrive on the challenge of getting that just right. If you are an artist or photographer and think that your work might make a valuable contribution to our future titles, please feel free to get in touch.
We put a lot of thought into commissioning illustrators who are the 'perfect fit' for an author's voice too. Dru Marland's work (above) for Palmer and Peberday's 'Fat Cat To Hungerford', again features as both the cropped cover image and full-page frontispiece. The choice of photographers we work with is crucial too. Farley Starling (at Bread & Shutter) provided the portrait of the authors' aboard their narrowboat.
In marketing our books, we send out review copies to targeted press and media, as well as investing in quarter page and half page advertising in selected print media. We are also adept at devising attention-grabbing media campaigns. Our marketing materials include postcards, greetings cards, and other ephemera connected to a publication too, all helping to get the word out there and increase its visibility.
Often, one of the big challenges for Small Press publishers is getting their books on physical bookshelves in High Street bookstores. Although we sell via the major online booksellers and our own website too, we are committed to maintaining a relationship with booksellers to make this happen. From our debut publication onwards, Waterstones and targeted independent booksellers have stocked our books.