One of the things I try to do on Linda’s Book Bag is support independent authors and publishers as well as feature the bigger publishing houses. Consequently, I’m thrilled to be showcasing Obliterati Press, a brand new independent publisher, today. Run by Wayne and Nathan, I got them both to tell me more about their new venture.
The very first book from Obliterati, Lord of the Dead by Richard Rippon, will be released on 3rd November 2017 and is available for pre-order here.
Lord of the Dead
A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.
As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb…
An Interview with Obliterati Press
Hi Nathan and Wayne and welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thanks so much for agreeing to tell me a bit about your fabulous new venture Obliterati Press.
I know you’re both writers so would you mind introducing yourselves first please?
Nathan: I self-published a collection of short/flash fiction in 2013, and my first novel The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place was published by Armley Press in 2015, and had far more success than any of us imagined. The lead character, Gary Lennon, really seemed to strike a nerve with people. My second novel Out Of The City came out in February.
Wayne: I also self-published some work before Armley Press accepted my novel Justice is Served for publication in June 2016. I like to write in various genres, but writing modern, contemporary fiction and science fiction are definitely where I feel more comfortable. I feel that with science fiction, in particular, comes a freedom to explore philosophical ideas.
Why Obliterati as a name?
Nathan: As a music obsessive, I always try and shoehorn musical references into just about everything. One of my favourite bands, Mission Of Burma, released an album called ‘The Obliterati’ in 2006. As well as the album, I loved the title, and always thought I’d want to use it if I ever started my own press.
How did Obliterati Press come into being?
Wayne: Nathan and I first met during the Leeds Big Bookend literary festival in June 2016 for the launch of my novel within Armley Press’s designated panel appearance. The night before the event, the four Armley Press writers (John Lake – one of the partners of Armley Press – Mark Connors, Nathan and myself) went out for a curry. At some point, Nathan and I got talking about our own ideas concerning publishing and as the subsequent months went by it was something we came back to time and again. We both switched between being really taken with the idea, and being quite intimidated by it. After a while, we decided to conduct some serious research as to how we could go about it on a limited budget. We knew that we each had skills that we could bring together to make a functional partnership, whilst each having a similar taste in writing. We work well together, I think. We make a really good team.
You are a publisher ‘for writers by writers’. How would you define your ethos?
Wayne: We believe that a lot of good writers don’t get the attention they deserve or even the opportunity to get the attention they deserve. As writers ourselves, we know the frustrations and expectations of seeking publication. We want to welcome good writers and create a friendly, collaborative experience. We don’t mind taking a work that isn’t 100% polished as long as we recognise something skilful within it. We’ve got other skills that we can bring to the mix, too, and we want to use these in our ideas for promoting work. We want to spend time creating a finished product that our writers love just as much as we do, whilst also trying to stay aware of what readers want from a book.
If would-be authors wanted to submit a manuscript to you, what would they need to do and what advice would you give?
Nathan: Follow us on Twitter @ObliteratiPress and Facebook for a start. We’re not currently open to full-length submissions, but we’ll announce our submission windows via social media. We’re always open to short story and guest blog post submissions, however, in fact we’d welcome both of those.
Your current authors are all male. Do you believe men write the edgier fiction you’re looking for or is that just coincidence?
Nathan: I think that’s pure coincidence. It’s just how things have worked out for us so far. All we care about is the quality of writing. In fact, when we were setting up, we talked about how we would like to give a voice to minority authors. And that includes LGBTQ, gender non-binary and anyone else. But the most important thing will always be the work.
Wayne: Yeah, it is just coincidence at this stage. I don’t believe that any kind of writing is done best by one sex over another. I’d like a good diverse range of authors, but in terms of submissions, it’s just worked out that we’ve had more from men.
You’re quite outspoken in your views – how do you balance saying what you think and running a business?
Nathan: I try to keep my outspokenness mostly to my personal twitter account rather than the Obliterati one, which I run. Anyone who’s read my work or follows my tweets will know I don’t tend to hold back. But we both have very strong views about politics and current affairs, and I think we’d both like Obliterati to be as much a part of the political conversation as we both are personally. I don’t think it’s necessarily damaging to the business side of things, if anything it helps to give us some kind of identity.
Wayne: Social media, although obviously having negative qualities, definitely has a lot of positive things going for it, and I do believe it has helped galvanise political interest in particular. Despite the fact it gives a forum to abusive trolls, it also provides a forum for people to connect and access information. Obliterati Press is ultimately the product of two people who are outspoken and passionate and it would be impossible, I think, for our opinions and the business to stay utterly disconnected.
You write, blog, you run a website, are active on social media and are setting up in the publishing world. How do you allocate roles and keep all the plates spinning?
Nathan: We had a few long chats about before setting up. We quickly realised that each would have different roles. Wayne has far more technical and design skills than me, so he designed and runs the website. He’s also a very good editor, with a very keen eye, so he also takes the lead on that, with input from myself and the writers, and he takes care of the layout of the books.
My initial job was to find us a couple of writers to get us started, and I drew from the wide circle of writers I’ve got to know online over the years to find Richard Rippon and Dave Olner. I also run the social media accounts, as it’s something I enjoy.
Nathan, I know music has played a very big part in your life. Is there anything in the music world that you can translate into usefulness in publishing?
Nathan: I think both the music and publishing industries have become increasingly risk-averse over the years, particularly since the 2008 financial crash. There’s a sense of playing it safe. That’s something we are in part reacting against, so we’ve perhaps learned how not to conduct ourselves. There are great writers and musicians out there who are talented but are being ignored because they don’t guarantee a financial return. Those writers are who we’re looking for. When it comes to writing, I am almost as influenced by music as literature. I think punk rock is the most important artistic movement of the last hundred years at least, and its principles; not playing by the rules, finding your own identity, having no sacred cows, can be applied to all art forms.
Wayne, I know you give some of your royalties to homeless charities. Why do you choose to do this?
I wrote and self-published my book Generation Rent: The Inequalities in the Private Lettings System after a long string of rubbish experiences with landlords and lettings agents. As an ex-paralegal, I was aware of the fact that so many people out there suffer the injustices associated with tenancies and don’t know their legal rights. The book was designed to openly discuss my own numerous disputes with landlords and letting agents, and to contextualise them with the appropriate legal advice. It seemed right to give something back to campaign and advice groups like Shelter, who I’ve used many times in the past, so I decided to donate all the profits of my book to them.
What are you most excited about for Obliterati Press in the next couple of years?
Nathan: There’s something absolutely thrilling about helping someone to get their book out there, when it may not have happened for them otherwise. In some ways it’s even more exciting than getting published myself. There’s a huge responsibility with that, of course, you’re desperate not to fuck it up. But we’ve got two amazing novels from debut writers which absolutely deserve to be read by as wide an audience as possible, and it’s really exciting to be able to help them achieve that. We’ve got a couple of other things in the pipeline, but we’re really on the lookout for talented writers whose work has so far been overlooked.
Wayne: Opening our first submissions window and seeing what we get. There’s a particular excitement you get from reading a manuscript that stands out. And that’s a feeling I’m looking forward to feeling again.
Good luck to you both with Obliterati Press and thanks for being on the blog to tell us more about it.
About Obliterati Press
Obliterati Press is an independent publishing company set up by writers, for writers. You can follow Obliterati on Twitter and find them on Facebook. For more details and to find out when and how to submit manuscripts please visit the Obliterati website.