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Publishing Local History

by Andy and Karen Johnson

Andy Johnson came to Herefordshire about 30 years ago. Wanting to explore the county he could not find a suitable guide so ended up writing one himself, Walks & More – a Guide to the Central Welsh Marches. This was the first book published by the Logaston press, which produced about 2 books a year for the first ten years of its existence. Since then it has gone on to publish some 280 books in total.  Andy went on to give an entertaining account of the steadily expanding range of Logaston Press, extending into adjacent counties of England and Wales including, of course, Turnastone on behalf of the GVSG.

Karen Johnson then explained how a book is put together from an editor’s perspective. This includes deciding whether a proposal is a worthwhile project and if so, whether it is likely to sell in sufficient quantities.  The editor’s art is practised generally under a cloak of invisibility so that, when successful, the editor should leave no trace. Structure is very important and sometimes it can be quite hard to keep a vision of the whole book in one’s head.  It is also important to check authors’ research as, while some are meticulous, others can be very slipshod in citing sources and confirming facts.  An interesting part of the publishing process is picture research. Further steps are agreeing the final text, type-setting and inserting the illustrations.  Perhaps hardest of all, and very important but least interesting, is indexing.  Then there is proof-reading, the more the better.  Finally the book’s title must be chosen and the cover designed.  After printing, which the publishers outsource, comes the Book Launch, a very exciting time for both authors and publishers. 

Then comes the more mundane but essential task of marketing. Over the years, Logaston Press has built up contacts, some, but not all, professional booksellers both within and outside the county.  And of course their books are now available for viewing and sale on the Logaston website.