TWO young businesswomen who founded a publishing house are looking forward to more success after winning an esteemed award, writes David Stewart.
Heather McDaid and Laura Jones won the Saltire Emerging Publisher of the Year award for their success in founding Edinburgh-based 404 INK. Start-up funding for the new press was achieved through crowd-funding, where their campaign received £22,000.
The firm says it believes in ‘publishing little but publishing loud’ and in investing full energy and resources into all its authors.
Falkirk-born Heather attended the University of Stirling and gained an Honours degree in Journalism before achieving a Masters in Publishing in 2015. Laura, from Aberdeenshire, studied English Literature at Edinburgh University and a Masters in Publishing at the University of Stirling.
In their free time, Heather and Laura pursue their own interests, including comics and drawing, respectively. But it was publishing which brought them together, when they met working for Saraland Books.
The two also worked on the Society of Young Publishers committee, and ran the Saltire Society’s virtual book festival: ScotLitFest.
Heather says they decided to start up a new publisher because they perceived a gap in the sector:
“No one ran a publisher how we would,” she says. “We thought we could better use digital and social media and build a community around our books and authors.”
They both believe that working as a duo helps pool resources in the demanding publishing world. Heather thinks it would be a lot less fun going it alone.
The first book, Nasty Women, is a collection of pieces about being a woman in the 21st century. Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) called the book “an essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now”.
The book was funded using the website Kickstarter, where the public can invest worthwhile ventures. Despite only asking for £6000, they received over £20,000 from the public and the book was published on International Women’s Day, 2017.