I've just been reading about Vala, a brand new publishing house which describes itself as a bold experiment in community-supported publishing
What does that mean?
I'm still finding out but it is co-owned by its members – workers, authors, investors (and potentially anyone reading this, if it floats your boat...) and I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of Grassroots Commissioning.
Vala's members will be encouraged to scout for potential authors and put forward ideas to an elected Editorial Board.
Being a member of Vala community membership also means having the opportunity to take part in the physical making of books. Vala want to reconnect people with production, in the same way that farmers' markets and vegetable box schemes are reconnecting people with their food...
Like the talent scouting idea and the emphasis at looking in non traditional areas for new writers. Good readers can spot good writers so it makes sense to develop new ways of allowing voices outside the publishing industry to be heard. It's immensely cheering that seven out of ten books are still sold by word of mouth recommendation.
Not so sure about everyone getting their hands dirty and making books...can't help being nervous about what the result would actually look like. Every aspect of book making requires a lot of skill from the way the type sits on the page to the choice of cover and I'm not convinced that democracy should play a big part.
But the big question - for writers and readers - is what is this ground-breaking idealistic company going to publish.
Short answer: non fiction.
Long answer: non fiction with heart.
They seem to be open to many and various ideas. Their first book will be out in November. Called Coming Home to Story, the author is story teller and former policeman Geoff Mead who shares the magic of storytelling and the influence story has on our lives.
To find out more
click on the title of this post to go to Vala's website