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Northern Fiction Alliance grows sales

7 August 2017

Reports of sparkling growth from the UK's Northern Fiction Alliance show the strength provided by working together, the importance to small publishers of international rights and book sales, and how public subsidy can make a difference.

A feel-good story for the northern hemisphere summer is provided by a report in the Bookseller of the boost in book and right sales these small literary presses have received from being part of the coalition. Speaking on the first anniversary after it was formed, the members said they have grown their international networks and partnerships as a result of being part of the alliance.

Assembled by Manchester-based indie Comma Press in August 2016, the group was formed to facilitate independent publishers in the north of England to work together to help represent themselves and their authors internationally. It consists of Peepal Tree Press, based in Leeds, And Other Stories, which is relocating to Sheffield, Dead Ink Books in Liverpool and Comma Press. This has expanded to include Tilted Axis (Sheffield), Mayfly (Leeds), Saraband (Manchester), Bluemoose (Yorkshire), and Route (Nottingham).

Adam Lowe, publicity and social media officer at Leeds-based Peepal Tree Press, added that the NFA had been "essential" in raising the profile of independent publishing outside of London. "We've witnessed a tangible change in the frequency of reporting on publishing outside of London. More than just boosting sales figures, the Northern Fiction Alliance has allowed us to redress the imbalance in media coverage of the literature sector, shifting from a myopic view focused on the capital to a broader, more national one", he said.

The initiative has been funded by Arts Council England and shows how small presses, in this case focusing on literary fiction, can benefit from a helping hand. ACE is keen to promote the arts outside London, where many publishers have traditionally been located, and some of these small presses have moved in order to attract this public subsidy.