When did you start publishing?
We opened our doors in April 2017 with our first publication arriving in December 2017. It was a slow start but it looks like the speed will be picking up for us from here on!
What made you want to start an independent publisher?
We come from very working class backgrounds and are very passionate about the issues facing minority authors. We wanted to set out to fill bookshelves with the voices that are often missing. We knew the problems facing the publishing industry include that the people in the top roles at many publishing houses are often white, cis, straight men. We thought the best way to change this was by becoming CEOs of our own company and changing things from the top. We don’t want there to always be the same old gatekeepers to what gets published. We were inspired by other small presses crowdfunding projects that brought grassroots and marginalized voices to the forefront. Crowdfunding seems to be a great way to help diversify the arts (we’ve seen 404 Ink, Marbles, Media Diversified, Knights Of, Knight Errant Press and many more do it successfully).
What genres do you specialise in?
We are an independent and intersectional feminist press, so feminism’s our specialty! Being intersectional is important to us and over the last two years we’ve gathered a very queer following.
Where are you based?
We are based in a wee flat in Leith, Edinburgh! We also have a shared workspace at Edinburgh Napier University’s start up business hub Bright Red Triangle as we started this business while students and they endorsed us non-financially.
Do you have a submission window, if so when? What is your submission procedure?
We currently don’t have a submission window open but look out for some opportunities later in the year! We do open calls for submissions for our literary magazines and anthologies, but we also commission behind the scenes and work with groups to improve our outreach. Moving forward, we will probably start to focus more on single authored books, as we are learning the hard way that we are too strapped for resources to handle such demanding, multi-authored projects. Our social media and websites will advertise any opportunities.
Who are you (team photo if possible)?
Monstrous Regiment Publishing Ltd is a feminist micropress based in a wee flat in Leith, Edinburgh, founded by two MSc Publishing graduates while still at uni in 2017. The co-directors (Ellen Desmond and Lauren Nickodemus) do this voluntarily, around their other commitments, because we really believe in it. Our passion for publishing working class writers came from our own backgrounds, and that combined with our interest in topics of intersectional feminism and sexuality led us on a mission to curate bold and fresh content; the stuff we felt was often missing from bookshelves – books and events about bisexuality stood out in particular as a gap in the market for sure.
In 2018 Monstrous expanded to include one contracted in-house designer (Hannah Killoh) and two student assistant interns (Lauren Mulvihill and Kelli Staake), paid in stipends.
Background in the book industry?
The co-founders (Lauren and Ellen) and in-house designer (Hannah) all have MScs in Publishing (though we don’t think they should be fully necessary for industry access)! Lauren has worked in book marketing in Edinburgh for two years and Ellen’s background is about 8 years of magazine publishing experience. Hannah currently also works in arts publishing.
Talk about some of your books if possible? and future projects/dreams if you can?
2017’s The Bi-ble, a collection of original essays and personal narratives giving platform to the thoughts and experiences relevant to bisexuals today, was our first publication. We crowdfunded for the original anthology print run having no idea it was so in demand. We now know the market need for this and have heard from many bookshops and readers that it has become the “go to” recommendation for someone searching for a book about bisexuality. We also know there are more stories than one (or a hundred) anthologies of this kind could ever tell. So this year we’re bringing The Bi-ble back with a fresh new look, but this time also publishing its little sibling Volume Two: New Testimonials, which is packed full of never-before-published essays. We’ve also published a few zines and two literary magazines (Emerald and Crimson). Later this year we hope to move on to novels, novels and different types of essay collections.